Book Review - Bimal Ghosh, The Global Economic Crisis and the Future of Migration: Issues and Prospects, What Will Migration Look Like in 2045? Palgrave Macmillan, 2013
The Global Economic Crisis and the Future of Migration: Issues and Prospects. What will Migration Look Like in 2045?, written by Professor Bimal Ghosh, is the latest follow-up to his previous book The Global Economic Crisis and Migration (Ghosh 2011) in the light of the last global financial crisis and the political changes in the Arab World. This is a landmark work and a most insightful book, revealing the wide-ranging effects of the global economic crisis of 2008-9, political changes like the Arab Spring and the current rebalancing of the world economy on global migration. Following a critical discussion of the recession-led changes in migration patterns, practices and policies, the book details the impact of South-South and South-North migration on the changing landscape and makes a pragmatic prediction of what global migration might look like in 2045. Ghosh is an Emeritus Professor at the Graduate School of Public Administration in Bogota, Colombia. As a former director and senior consultant of the United Nations, the International Organization for Migration and other global initiatives, he has a deep understanding of the governance, policies and challenges of global migration.
Migration has become increasingly universal in character, involving all regions of the world. It has become diversified, and large numbers of countries are now actively engaged in shaping the global economy compared to the situation just a few decades back. The world is undergoing a major demographic shift which is going to reshape and dominate economic development for decades. The book presents the global migration scenario through a sharp analysis of the dominant issues related to migration. It has nine chapters divided into three major parts. Part 1 has five chapters that deal with how the 2008-9 recessions affected migration and flows of remittances, updating materials including his previous book published in 2010 with a similar title. Part 2 includes three chapters that review the migration implications of three recent developments: the Arab political uprising against long-established regimes, the future of global migration in the world where economic power is shifting towards the fast-growing developing countries and most interestingly the South-South migration among developing countries. Part 3 makes some recommendations and discusses the framework and guidelines for the governments considering changes in global migration policy. With strong background evidence and information on policy practices, it advocates for a “new global structure for orderly and predictable migration”.
The book concludes with a positive and pragmatic look at the future of global migration. The author pays particular attention to South-South migration. He also claims that because of this emerging trend of South-South migration, the South-North movements over the past decades have undergone significant changes, and new patterns of migration have emerged. The book is a vivid testimony of the impact and importance of migration on global development. He predicts that demographic changes in both the Global South and North will dominate global migration in the coming decades. The major importance of the book lies in its positive assertion regarding global migration and its call for a positive approach for sustainable migration governance, benefitting both the Global North and South. Ghosh offers interesting observations about South-South migration and its further implications for the future of the global migration.
Throughout the book, Ghosh insists on an international framework for migration management and the free flow of people. The alarming trend of widespread discrimination between foreigners and natives and other types of racial segregation is further illustrated as a negative impact of the recession. The author explains in detail restrictions on upward mobility for many migrants who were successfully integrating into the host market and society. His statements reflect on this hard-hitting reality in the changing global political landscape. Ghosh mentions the vicious circle of the link between the loss of jobs among migrants and the growing underground, shadow economy. With the complete absence of human and labour rights and exploitation at the most awful level, the dark side of migration is obtaining visibility in the changing world order. A strong indicator of this vicious circle can be found in the case of South-South migration.
The author attaches particular importance to the fact that the rise of xenophobia and hate speech against immigrants has also endangered social and economic stability, making the integration process for legal migrants more difficult. The rise of ghettoisation in Europe and many other receiving countries is the consequence of these growing practices in many countries. The rise of Pegida, the English Defence League and Neo-Nazi parties in many European countries and xenophobic violence against migrant communities in South Asia is creating a horrific situation for migrants, which is threatening global stability, the development of the neo-liberal economy and the free flow of trade and labour.
Ghosh insists on an international framework for migration management and the free flow of people. He speaks for a collective and combined effort for maximizing the benefits of migration and minimizing the growing tensions between migrants and host societies and political uncertainties in many parts of the world. The book is powerful evidence of the importance of global governance of migration and provides strong policy recommendations for policymakers while dealing with issues like the role of migration in developed economies, migration management, standardized monitoring and fair recruitment, skilling migrants and the changing landscape of migration diversification.
This is a book full of valuable information and one can enjoy every section. It offers encouraging statements on the promotion of safe migration for economic benefit. However, in order to support his statements in favour of unrestricted human mobility, he left out some important issues regarding the social and psychological cost of migration. The author places a great deal of emphasis on the economic impact of labour migrants in the developed countries. However, for critical readers of migration, the social and political implications of this migration in the host society were not highlighted throughout the book. He did not focus much on the integration challenges migrants face in the host society, a very important factor for sustainable global migration. He seems to be more optimistic about global migration and the free flow of trade with greater integration among states under the umbrella of globalization. But in reality the anti-immigrant political wave in the Global North, strong nationalization policies on the labour market, interstate conflict in the Gulf region, and the forced displacement of millions of people from their places of origin challenge this positive aspiration. Among the decisive trends for the future of global migration in this book, political stability and climate-change induced migration were not highlighted in the way they deserve. The author discourages the regional approach to shared migration management and claims that this might hinder the possibilities for joint global action in the development of a sustainable migration regime. However, the social, cultural and economic positionality of different regions in Asia and Africa demands a collective regional approach in order to obtain a shared benefit from global migration management and to strengthen bargaining power in the global power structure. This explanation of positionality was absent in his analysis. In mapping the future, he highlights economic priorities with less of a focus on the socio-political image of the globe. It would have been better to focus more on the increasing internal migration within the framework of South-South movement in developing countries. With regard to further research, it would be welcome if more discussion on the policies of sending countries, the social and psychological cost of migration and more evidence-based discussion of South-North migration flow were brought into the discussion.
Overall, this book is an impressive achievement for global migration management, and Ghosh’s involvement with global policy formulation is clearly reflected. He provides a very comprehensive analysis of the global economic crisis, an outstanding description of the challenges for migration management and a pragmatic description of future trends. As an overview of the field of migration and the contemporary global economy, this well-written book more than serves its purpose, providing the reader with extensive knowledge and plenty of illustrative examples.
Ansar Uddin Anas