Facilitating mass migration may be the best and perhaps the only way to respond to major changes in climate and global demographics.
why it matters: Migration in the future will be subject to powerful push and pull factors – the push of climate change and the pull of wealthy and aging countries in West and East Asia, who will desperately need young workers from abroad.
- But a major post-COVID migration wave would require the removal of substantial political barriers.
What are you saying: in his new bookMove: The Forces That Overthrow UsPolitical geographer Parag Khanna says the world is set to enter a new era of mass migration in response to major environmental, economic and political changes – and that will be largely positive change.
- This may come as a surprise. international migration mass shutdown during COVID-19, as countries turned to border controls to slow the progress of the virus, whereas previous migration waves often led to a right wing reaction in America and Europe.
- But “migration is a major part of humankind’s 100,000-year history, and the idea that it will be stopped permanently because of a pandemic,” Khanna tells Nerdshala.
- “All the forces driving human migration are in hyperdrive.”
Between the lines: The single biggest factor is that whatever they may feel about immigration politically, most wealthy countries will need large numbers of workers to power their economies due to population slowdowns and declines.
- Europe’s richest country could see Germany population decline From 83 million in 2017 to 60 million or less by the end of the century, the proportion of elderly citizens beyond working age is much higher.
- Over the same time period, Nigeria’s population could at least more than double to 400 million people, many of them needing the kind of young workers that wealthier countries would need.
- “The gap between old and young people within and between countries is worse than ever, and is becoming more acute,” says Khanna. “One by one, countries are waking up to the reality that they need young people to pay taxes and take care of old people.”
zoom in: Britain is an early example of what can happen to a rich country if it constrains the import of labor. Thanks in part to Brexit, Britain is experiencing labor shortage of about 1 million workers.
Reference: At the same time, countries and regions where there is a surplus of people will also come under increasing pressure from Climate change, while there are many regions that will be more habitable in a warmer future – what Khanna calls “climate oases” – they are relatively empty.
- Within the US, heavily populated places such as the desert Southwest or wildfire-prone parts of California will become increasingly inhospitable, even as cold, uninhabited regions like the Great Lakes are able to better cope with climate change. are ready for
big picture: Put it all together, and the future seems to call for Khanna’s terms.”cosmopolitan utilitarianism“The large-scale redistribution of the global population to the places that receive the most benefit and provide the most protection to the most people.
- “Mass migration is one of the things we, as human civilizations, are really good at,” says Khanna. “The most successful societies in history are those that continually absorb migrants and make them their own.”
Hunt: The politics of expanding immigration is terrifying, to say the least.
- President Biden in America finds caught myself Between immigrant activists on his left and anti-immigrant forces on his right, as he tries to negotiate a southern border crisis that may be just a taste of what’s to come.
- As German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to step down, Europe will lose the voice of a leader who famous said The Syrian diaspora wave in 2015 that “we can handle it.”
yes but: Khanna points to the example of the UK, which is also with Brexit accepted more non-EU foreign students in 2020 than in 2019, and recent loss Single-issue, anti-immigrant EU populist leaders such as Czech Prime Minister Lady Babis.
- Even Japan, a country that has long been viewed as anti-immigrant, is showing greater openness to foreigners – partly because its demographic decline is so severe that Adult diapers now outnumber babies.
Bottom-line: As Khanna puts it, citizens of wealthy countries may need to decide between “their parents are going to die alone” for the future of mass migration and the lack of young workers.