Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Global Apartheid

When the Berlin Wall and the iron curtain crumbled, most people were happy. Finally people in the East would be free to move as they wished. Before the fall of the wall the few that managed to come over were allowed to stay and were perhaps interesting in the political game. But after the wall came down, suddenly the people from the former Communist countries were not welcome anymore. Now there are no longer any political reason to let people from Russia, Ukraine or Kazahkstan come here. The funny thing is that we criticise dictators for not allowing their population to travel, but if we don't give the visa to come here, how can we put the blame on the dictator. Blatant hypochrisy.

Similarily we honor those that helped Jews flee from the Nazis, and we honor other heros, real or invented, as the Scarlett Pimpernell who helt French nobles to flee from the revolution. But how is it today. Any person that helps a refugee from another country is guilty to trafficking, human smuggling or whatever it is called. As such they are subject to sever prison sentences. I am aware of that some of them - perhaps the majority - are crooks that take benefit of desperate people. But that misses the point. Firts there are also real saints among them, and secondly and perhaps more important, it is our refusal to allow these people entry that is the breeding grounds for these crooks. You might claim that those that are real refugees can always get asylum. But that is in theory. Most of them will never get the opportunity to even apply for asylum unless they get into the country illegally. Airlines don't let them on the plane, and if they do they are punished.

The limitation of free movement of people is a global Apartheid. I and most other rich people can go where we want, live were we want, work were we want. How can we deny other people the same rights.

Movement of people would have a major impact on the appaling inequality of the world.
1) Movement of people has an equalising impact on salaries. They go up in the countries from which people move and they go down in countries where they go
2) The remmittance of migrants to their home countries play a major role. In some countries it corresponds to 10 percent of the GDP.
3) Many migrants go back home. They often come with funds for investments, technical know-how, innovations and entrepreneurship
4) Migrants often maintain links in their old country, links that can be used for trade or investment.

Yes, I know about "brain-drain". But brain-drain is a problem of the existing system. We aleady allow medical doctors, nuclear scientists and top-notch professionals to come and live here.

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