29 April 2013

Paul Collier's Migration Book

Drawing on original research and numerous case studies, Collier explores this volatile issue from three unique perspectives: the migrants themselves, the people they leave behind, and the host societies where they relocate. As Collier shows, those who migrate from the poorest countries, primarily though not exclusive the young, tend to be the best educated and most energetic in their cultures. And while migrants often benefit economically, the larger impacts of mass migrations remain unsettling. The danger is that both host countries and sending societies may lose their national identities-- an outcome that Collier suggests would be disastrous as national identity is a powerful force for equity. Collier asserts that migration must be restricted to ensure that it helps those who remain in sending countries and also benefits host societies that make the investment on which migrant gains rely. 
This might just be the point at which I stopped being a fan of Paul Collier. I was quite excited about this book because I presumed that naturally it would be pro-immigration. I suppose his old white man demographics have outweighed all his education? I'll probably still read it, as presumably he will at least have a better grasp of at least some of the actual evidence on the issue than Goodhart. Still, it makes my skin crawl. I understand that we aren't going to win around the UKIP racists and get open borders any time soon, but it is deeply depressing when even development people and/or supposed lefties harbour this fear and suspicion of poor foreigners. Maybe brown people threaten your national identity Paul, but they don't threaten mine.

Anyway for now I'll stick with the simple chart which debunks the line that "national identity is a force for equity." Actually, two-thirds of global inequality can be found between countries rather than within countries. So even a perfect income distribution within countries would still leave two-thirds of global income inequality intact.


Branko Milanovic, (via Tim Worstall). Incidentally, surely - surely, Collier should have read Milanovic?

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