Quote of the Moment
"All really great things happen in slow and inconspicuous ways." Leo Tolstoy

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Globalisation and Immigration

I have recently signed up to something called 'Five Books'. In it a self professed expert on a topic - usually with a book to promote - suggests 5 books for people to read and why, with the idea that by reading these 'Five Books' you are able to become very knowledgeable in that field.

Often I read the discussion but ignore the books, as the discussion is again a condensed narrative on the topic that is incredibly rich with ideas. Take this for example..

You mentioned the difficulty of obtaining a work permit. This is probably one area where globalisation is both most unjust and most inefficient. On the basis of efficiency – economic efficiency – the greatest unexplored frontier of economic globalisation is mobility of workers around the world. Trade is substantially free, finance and capital are substantially free – but try to leave Bangladesh and go to work in the US. It’s impossible. If you wanted to both increase the efficiency of resource utilisation in the world economy and at the same time do something for the world’s poorest, there is nothing we could do that would have as big an impact as allowing some of the Bangladeshi workers to take up jobs in the advanced countries of the world. Now I wouldn’t go so far as to say you should allow complete mobility of labour, because I do think it’s appropriate for rich societies to put some weight on the consequences for their own workers. But I think we’re so far in the other corner, that certainly a smallish relaxation of these visa restrictions to allow more workers from poor countries to come and work in the rich countries would definitely be a good idea.

Its a bit long I know, but it gave me a spark of an idea.

If there are strong doubts with the long term benefits of international aid (dependency etc.) why don't we have a look at what we can do to change it.

One aspect of immigration is that of the Indian, or Pakistani or whatever who comes over to the UK works and then sends back some of the money they earn in the UK (which is worth proportionately more in their original country). This in itself is a practice that is done all over the world, and can even be seen in the UK in how young people go to the cities to find their fortunes. So this natural process happens, and it works much in the same way as the international aid works - that is is directs cash from the rich country into the poor country - but instead of being supported by a mass bureaucracy, it is directed directly to where it could be used - the family of the individual working in the UK.

This in itself is a good idea, but to develop it further think of this. It will cost no more than what we spend on aid as we have it at the moment. But why don't we support the PEOPLE of a certain country and bring them over here for a fixed period of time. Train them up in certain skills or academic qualifications and allow them to work within the UK after this. Both improving their outlook on life and their financial situation. In doing so and on their return they will be much the richer as individuals but also as people within a state who can actually work in the long term to improve things for the country overall.

Ok, thinking of many problems to this isn't hard. But its an alternative vision of aid which reduces the blunt force of cash that is used in teh world. It potentially lowers the opportunities for corruption. It improves the lives of the few in the short term. And the many once that few re-enter their original countries society. The people are invested in, not the institutions.
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