Worldwide migration is increasing, but is this not a logical development of the modern world? Should we maybe see migration in a different light, what about migration inside countries and is there migrant labor without migration?
Sleep dealer: Migrant labor without migration
Before we discuss this topic in a more actual context I want to recommend a really good movie on the issue: Sleep Dealer, by Alex Rivera (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_Dealer), it tries to get us a glimpse at how the US and other countries will deal with migration in the future. In this movie, Mexico is walled off by the US, which in addition forcefully controls all natural resources, including water and forces more and more people to work at Mexican factories controlling robots that work inside the US. It shows clearly how the dream for the rich and powerful elites in the West would look like: get all the cheap labor and resources, but you don’t need to see „those brown people“.
This tendency is also a reason why Japan focused so much on the development of robots because differently than other Western countries Japan has a very low number of migrants and a very rigid migration policy.
Increasing migration and mobility
A lot of the debates on migration get sparked by right-wing rhetoric – Trumpian or not – whipping up fear of immigrants portraying them like a demographic flood that needs to be stopped. But different to the pictures in the news, the huge majority of migrants stay inside their continent, but migrate to more prosperous and safer parts of it, as it happens inside every country as well. That’s where we want to introduce a new idea: to see migration not only as people leaving a country to settle in another one (for whatever reasons), but also to include people migrating inside a country, as we can see very dramatically in India, China or the United States, just think about the mass-migration outside of Detroit, after the city was basically destroyed by the economic crisis. The increasing dynamic of our individual lives, combined with war, economic desperation and the destruction of huge areas of land by global warming will create a higher and higher percentage of migrants. Just think about the situation 200 years ago, where nearly all people died really close to the place in which they were born, then with the industrial revolution forced mass migration started, more and more people were pushed to move to the cities and work as cheap labor. What we see today is just the logical conclusion of a modern industrial society. Even if there would be no problems like war, economic Apartheid or global warming we would see increasing migration (but in a less ugly way) and mixing of our global population and its cultures.
For a world without passports and walls
Today’s migrants (if they come from poorer countries) suffer more and more persecution. We can see this in various countries like in the USA with ICE, its disgusting practice of separating families and the militarization of the southern border to Mexico, or with the EU who tries to create several „defensive“ layers around its castle, now stretching far into the Saharan desert. This dichotomy, one the one side opening borders for free trade, but closing them for human beings is a huge problem for the development of our species. How do we want to develop if we continue to cut our planet in tiny pieces with different legislation, a standard of living and opportunities. We need to be very clear that in order to develop in a positive way we need to unify our planet not create more United Arab Emirates or Democratic Republics of Congo. I take this two as a vivid example of today’s reality which are both, relatively well included into the world market. One the one hand you have immense richness, cities that developed out of desert sand in decades, because of something valuable that was found in the ground. On the other hand you have poverty, modern slavery, ethnic cleansing, rivaling warlords, because of something valuable that was found in the ground. The United Arab Emirates need migrants to exist, the Democratic Republic of Congo produces migrants. Multinational companies operate very successfully in both areas profiting from the valuable stuff that is extracted out of the ground.
If we want to overcome this absurd economic Apartheid, that is a disgrace to the development of our species, we need to accept that universal human rights apply to all humans, including the right to travel, work and live where we want. The situation today reminds me of a return of Feudalism, where you have not just different opportunities because you were born in this or that family, but fundamentally different rights. We need to overcome this Neo-Feudalism in order to create the future we deserve!