The migrant population: suffer from it, take advantage of it, or live with it?

The “neo-colonists,” the “integrators,” the “speculators,” and the “losers”: this is how we can frame the relationships between European countries and their immigrant populations, which, we should add, represent the 5th largest nation in the world—and a bigger one in the future—a non-State composed of 240 million people living outside of their native countries. We’re talking about a big new nation of immigrants that will trigger sizeable  geopolitical effects on a global scale. In this economic and social phenomenon, the migrants can take on positive or negative roles in both their destination and originating countries. 

China, with its migratory superpowers that relocated labor forces to realize hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure projects in at least twenty African countries, is at the top of the neo-colonist countries list. Chinese workers brought their cousins and relatives with them. So, millions of Chinese people have settled in Africa and have begun to form the prevailing managing class, beyond the fact that retail and wholesale stores, industrial plants, and small businesses have supplanted local activities.

Indians are also “neo-colonists.” In California, they represent a very relevant percentage of start-up innovation. Therefore, the Indian diaspora already has a big slice of the technology developed in India and the USA in hand. India also dominates other important global technology levers, like the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, the ex-CEO of Motorolla, Padmasree Warrior, and the CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai to name a few examples.

Willing or not, neighboring countries and populations go, create, control, install themselves, integrate, and remain, cultivating excellent bases for their native countries. In other words, the new colonists are like the European colonizers that “invaded” the world during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, reaping benefits not only for themselves but their homelands as well. In the same way, the populations in movement in the twenty-first century help their originating countries have access to markets, technology, and a voice in the chapter of global politics. 

Specifically, every year India receives more than $70 billion in remittances, almost 4% of its GDP. The geopolitical orientations of the US and India have changed, and during that time the US also modified its equidistant political rapport between India and Pakistan.

The “integrators” are more clever. They have the ability to attract and host immigrants as a function of their added value. In this sense, the US has always known how to integrate global talent. Many scientists hailing from all across the world (since way before Enrico Fermi) have found a warm welcome and support in the US. The country’s great technological skeleton– as well as its territory– is composed primarily of foreigners. We saw it at a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) presentation on new projects in Boston: there wasn’t a single American.

Immigration has also brought talent to Israel, where capital guaranteed interactions with the rest of the world. Israel is a high-tech and extremely well-connected country. The government guarantees the presence of well-prepared foreign consultants, offering them one-way tickets, language education, and practical support upon arrival. The result? A population that reaches nine times the presence compared to 1948, the year the country was founded. On the other hand, it doesn’t explain how 7.1 million individuals, surrounded by bitter enemies and lacking natural resources, is able to produce more start-ups compared to big, peaceful, and stable countries like Japan, China, India, South Korea, Canada, and the U.K.

Elsewhere, 35 million Kurds identify with a potential nation without a state, representing one of the most politically active migrant populations in Europe. This is the reason why the Swiss and German governments, who previously accepted a large number of Kurds, now provide them with military support to fight ISIS. When considering the management of these immigrants, we also find the “speculators.” These are the countries that abuse immigrants, such as Turkey: having proposed itself for integration into the EU, it now dictates the terms of its relationship with Brussels.

Only a couple steps over, 90% of African immigrants headed for the Mediterranean pass through Niger, which has thus been able to guarantee itself a business worth 1 billion euro (in aid from the EU).

In the recent past, another reality that was involved in similar situations was Gheddafi’s Lybia, that knew how to secure huge profits for his country with threats.

Then, there are the “losers” like Italy. They don’t choose the immigrants, they just suffer their presence. Countries that spend money to welcome the immigrants, but don’t integrate them.

In conclusion, considering the huge potential development of migratory phenomenons and the future of this “non-state” in motion, we’re not certain that Southern Europe will be able to elevate its social and economic level of the countries toward which the immigration flux is headed. Their systems of criteria and integration will surely play an important role, but history will account for them. In any case, the greatest challenge for the West will be to reconcile the internal pressure of closed borders with the geopolitical advantages of embracing immigration. Because, today and tomorrow, we need to know how to situate ourselves the right way in the immigration phenomenon in order to reap the maximum benefits and mitigate the disadvantages; obviously, always referring to peoples’ intelligence and their ability to organize.

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