• Applicable


On the face of it, migration is not complex – poor people move to more prosperous countries, war-torn people flee – but it generates multifaceted effects. Governments struggle to establish policies that are fair to immigrants and indigenous populations. Economics professor Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion, considers the economic, social and political ramifications of migration. He examines migration from three standpoints: how it affects migrants, the lands where they relocate and the countries they leave behind. Though he provides an informative, thought-provoking backgrounder on some pressing immigration issues, Collier didn’t experience everything you’ll know when you read this summary, and he’s writing from a slightly academic perspective. Still, getAbstract recommends his insights to anyone trying to get a handle on some of the factors that shape this critically relevant subject.


A Complicated Issue

Few issues are as complex and controversial as migration. While the public seems to applaud refugees for fleeing oppressive poverty in their native lands, it simultaneously criticizes them for abandoning those left behind and it debates refugees’ potential impact on the countries they enter.

National migration policies differ greatly. Japan doesn’t permit immigration; Dubai’s resident population is 95% foreigners. Australia and Canada have stricter educational demands for immigrants than the United States. Some countries rapidly grant citizenship rights to migrants; others insist migrants assimilate slowly.

Reaching an objective evaluation of migration policy proves nearly impossible since immigration policies spring from subjective moral principles and values. You can believe in a moral obligation to help the poor and not want poverty-stricken people flooding your borders. Nationalism and immigration restrictions are strongly correlated. Immigration advocates may view opposition to immigration as racism, since migrants’ racial identity typically varies from that of the indigenous populations in many host countries.

Approaching Migration...

About the Author

Economics and public policy professor Paul Collier also wrote The Plundered Planet and The Bottom Billion.

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