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USA Today: Somin on Mobility and Political Freedom

In an opinion piece in USA Today, Professor Ilya Somin discusses the importance of mobility as a component of political freedom.

 Professor Ilya Somin
Professor Ilya Somin


Americans will soon get a chance to vote at the ballot box. But too little attention has been paid to their declining opportunities to vote with their feet. If we want to expand freedom and opportunity for the poorest among us, we must get moving on making it easier for them to move. Sadly, the issue has been almost completely ignored by both major parties...

In addition to expanding economic opportunity, mobility is also a crucial component of political freedom – perhaps even more so than the right to vote. Most people think of voting as the essence of political choice. But individual voters actually have only miniscule influence over government policy. The chance that any one vote will change the outcome of an election is infinitesimally small – perhaps 1 in 60 million in a presidential election, for example. For most people, their best chance to exercise meaningful control over the government policies they live under is by voting with their feet. In that way, they can make a decisive choice to move to a jurisdiction with policies they prefer, whether the policy be taxes, health care, education or something else.

Column: Moving Vans More Powerful Than Ballot Boxes, USA Today, October 18, 2016. By Ilya Somin.

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