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Some 191 million people now live outside their country of birth and migration is a major feature of international life, U.N. Secretary-General
Kofi Annan reported on Tuesday.

Migration has always been true. When your own country runs out of space, and is still undesirable, then it’s time to find a country more suitable, whether for financial, professional, or psychological reasons. There’s not a great society that didn’t depend on being attractive to others.

Of course, in losing the people those back home get the benefit of not having to provide for said people, and in many cases getting a piece of the new found income of the person. However, this also creates a dependency and decreases the urgency to improve their own infrastructure to keep people home, happy, and working. With this an almost permanent class stratification of the global community takes place. There is nothing inherent to this status whatsoever, it’s just a matter of habit or the pernicious effects of corruption within the “lower” countries. Ireland, for instance, showed quite clearly that new policies and an ambitious people can rise from an impoverished people exporter to a thriving economy in a matter of decades.

But, the money coming in from the migrant workers is a hard habit to break. Mostly because it is easy money for the government to keep coming in. The worse they do, the more people leave, and the more money comes in for the government to take a little (or a lot) off the top.

This easy money is also a whole lot of money. As this next quote illustrates, adding a bit of a surprise at the end.

Worldwide, money sent home by migrants totaled $232 billion in 2005, up from $102 billion in 1995. One third of global remittances went to just four countries, India, China, Mexico and France.

France? Where are all the French going? And why? Methinks there’s something we’re not being told about the state of that country.

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