WorkingPaper: Disappearing Borders

The picture gets somewhat muddied when the dominant economic paradigm of our times conflicts with a political tendency.

Written by Kaushik Dasgupta | Updated: September 17, 2016 1:50 am
Migration Matters, Migration Matters: Mobility in a Globalising World, Guruchan Gollerkeri, Natasha Chhabra, Oxford University Pressbook, review, indian express book review Migration Matters makes a persuasive case for looking at transnational movement of people as an economic good.

Book: Migration Matters: Mobility in a Globalising World

Author: Guruchan Gollerkeri & Natasha Chhabra

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Pages: 328

Price: Rs 995

We live in times when the movement of capital and goods is seen as a basic economic necessity. However, these are also times when human movement across borders is subject to numerous constraints. The picture gets somewhat muddied when the dominant economic paradigm of our times conflicts with a political tendency. The poor suffer the most from restrictions across nations and regions.

Migration Matters makes a persuasive case for looking at transnational movement of people as an economic good. It also busts the popular myth that migration is always on the north-south axis by showing how the Asian countries are rife with movement of people across borders. Gollerkeri and Chhabra argue that demographics will unshackle the chains on transnational migration: some of the more developed countries do not have the labour force to sustain their economies and will have to rely on people from the Third World. Certain jobs cannot be offshored and so the xenophobia that bedevils migration today is not sustainable economically.

The book also examines the case of India and argues that, gradually, high-end professional emigrants are outnumbering the more traditional types of emigration, especially low-skilled workers to nations in West Asia.

The authors use the changing trend in migration from one India to make another significant point: The paternalistic — when not restrictive — attitudes towards emigration does not fit in with the economic order. The authors use the example of Indian professionals and student emigrants to argue that migration is a self-selecting process.

The book makes a compelling case for national states to cede some of their sovereignty — and in some cases xenophobia — in matters of economic migration. It will be of great value to policymakers, journalists and social scientists.