20 January 2010

Half of all Haitians wanted to permanently leave the country, even before the earthquake

From Gallup


Ranil Dissanayake said...

What exactly was the question, do you know?

I imagine responses for Zimbabwe for example were very different in in 1990.

I still think the best response is to fix the problems internally, and wonder what people would have said to that, when polled.

Lee said...

Fine, but how long will it take to fix the problems internally? How long do people have to wait? 10 years? 20 years? 50 years?

Ranil Dissanayake said...

that's not the point - unless you seriously suggest that every last person from these poor countries can be resettled permanently in currently rich countries (which would be a recipe for violence and tension of a very high order indeed, given the levels of racial and ethnic tension that already exist, and that have historically been associated with mass influx of immigrants), the ones remaining will be mired in poverty, and probably worse poverty, structurally. Therefore, the most pressing concern is to help support the countries.

Lee said...

Obviously we continue to try to support countries, but the trouble is we don't know very well how to do this. And in the meantime relaxing migration laws would lift millions from poverty directly, lift millions more indirectly through remittances, and could potentially also provide a stimulus to governance reform through a competitive pressure for countries concerned about losing all their people!

Ranil Dissanayake said...

I agree with lifting migration restrictions from the point of view of freedom of movement, but apart from the direct impact for individuals, the developmental impact is limited. Remittances are one off payments that do nothing to change structural restraints to development - as such they're no different to any unsustainable aid project that will stop without any continuation. The competition argument is optimistic verging on the naive. If the government is crap enough that the people need to escape it, it's either unresponsive or sufficiently entrenched that it can handle the loss of a few poor people. The very rich power these governments and they're not going to migrate because they have already made it. The middle classes will migrate though, and that will leave the very rich and the very poor. Not a recipe for success.

I'd argue for migration on the basis of moral justice and liberty, not because it's developmental.

Lee said...

Evidence for the competition hypothesis from Tobias Pfutze: "Does migration promote democratization? Evidence from the Mexican Transition" - the answer: yes.

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