Immigration: An old but hot topic

Immigration is nothing of a new trend ; and far from being a boring topic: here is a review of why the topic should be on your mind!

Human History Powered by Immigration

Immigration is an human race old topic. Human migration has shaped Human History from the beggining. Basically with the same story line: people move to different places in hope of a better life – the most important incentive are economical (drought or crisis) and political (wars).

Migration processes transform Societies and often redistribute geopolitical powers (think of Japan during the Meji Area). Migrants can do and undo Empires (Ancient Rome), do Nations (USA throughout the 19th and 20th century) and severely affect economies (Ireland in the late 19th century). This is why immigration is such an important political topic.

Immigration brought to you by the Industrial revolution

The obvious disruptive force of migration dynamics was acknowledged in the 19th century thanks to the development of Social Sciences Academies and the unprecedented pace of western colonisation. SInce then, Nation-States of Europe have invented rules of the “Game” also known as immigration policies and trained enforcers for these rules: institutions like UKBA; in the aim to control and use immigration like a tool;  for various geopolitical, political, religious or economical reasons ( e.g. #OpiumWars)

In our modern societies, the immigration experience is rationalised: individualised (it is not a whole tribe or community anymore) and secularised (there are no major religious purpose to migration anymore; like during the crusades or the colonial area but people wishing to find a better job #JobMarketReligion). Technology has eased its logistical aspect (no more need to bring everything on a horse or boat) thanks to centuries of advancement in mapping systems, innovation in means of transports and most recently by means of communication, the internet being its latest driver of change; and one with big potential.

Immigration the Big picture

To give you a bit of an overview, immigration is becoming a growing issue and subjet of importance;

1. If the migrants population was one nation, they would represent the 5th continent with a population of 250,000,000 people.

2. European countries, like the US, Canada, and Australia, are lands of immigrants: the percentage of foreign-born residents – especially Spain, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and Greece – is similar to that in the US.

US immigration trends

3. Immigration is changing the demographics and future of lots of countries. Think of the US: in 2050 nearly one in five Americans (19%) will be an immigrant compared with one in eight (12%) in 2005, and 82% of the population growth will come from immigrants (PewResearch Center);

The future of Immigration: opportunities in Developing Countries; Challenges in the Old West.

The big trend is the emergence of new poles of attraction for skilled migrants, leaving the West ‘Promised Land’ aside: entrepreneurs, migrants with PhDs, and those simply with a desire to improve their lives are flocking to places such as Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, Mexico, China, and India.

The ageing of Europe’s population is historically unprecedented. The number of workers will decline precipitously, and could shrink by almost one-third by mid-century, with immense consequences for Europe’s social model, the vitality of its cities, its ability to innovate and compete, and for relations among generations as the old become heavily reliant on the young. And, while history suggests that countries that welcome newcomers’ energy and vibrancy compete best internationally, Europe is taking the opposite tack by tightening its borders.

These are projections. They might change because of unexpected event. If you are interested in Geopolitics and Public affairs, immigration should definitely be a topic to follow… As Tony Blair did put it:

“A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in.. And how many want out.”

Story to be continued….

 

Sources:

PewReasearch on US immigration and population’s future. http://pewresearch.org/pubs/729/united-states-population-projections

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