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Exceptional People

Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future

Copyright Date: 2011
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    Exceptional People
    Book Description:

    Throughout history, migrants have fueled the engine of human progress. Their movement has sparked innovation, spread ideas, relieved poverty, and laid the foundations for a global economy. In a world more interconnected than ever before, the number of people with the means and motivation to migrate will only increase.Exceptional Peopleprovides a long-term and global perspective on the implications and policy options for societies the world over. Challenging the received wisdom that a dramatic growth in migration is undesirable, the book proposes new approaches for governance that will embrace this international mobility.

    The authors explore the critical role of human migration since humans first departed Africa some fifty thousand years ago--how the circulation of ideas and technologies has benefited communities and how the movement of people across oceans and continents has fueled economies. They show that migrants in today's world connect markets, fill labor gaps, and enrich social diversity. Migration also allows individuals to escape destitution, human rights abuses, and repressive regimes. However, the authors indicate that most current migration policies are based on misconceptions and fears about migration's long-term contributions and social dynamics. Future policies, for good or ill, will dramatically determine whether societies can effectively reap migration's opportunities while managing the risks of the twenty-first century.

    A guide to vigorous debate and action,Exceptional Peoplecharts the past and present of international migration and makes practical recommendations that will allow everyone to benefit from its unstoppable future growth.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3629-1
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. List of Illustrations and Tables
    (pp. IX-XII)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. XIII-XVIII)
    Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron and Meera Balarajan
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    We live in a dynamic age of global integration, where the reconnection and mixture of the world’s people is challenging dominant norms and practices in many societies. Disintegration and integration are simultaneous and interwoven. Cultural codes adapt. New economies emerge. Innovation prospers. Social institutions struggle to adapt.

    To many, the challenges associated with migration are characteristic of our age of postmodernism, multiculturalism, and aspiring cosmopolitanism. Some are nostalgic for an illusory past when people had more in common. While the scale, pace, and intensity of human movement may be greater today, the habits of migration and its disruptive effects are...


    • 1 Migration from Prehistory to Columbus
      (pp. 11-38)

      We begin the story of human migration where our collective history began—in Africa, the cradle of humanity. Migrants have propelled the advancement of human communities since these early days, some 150,000 to 200,000 years ago. Our biological evolution culminated in thehomo sapiensspecies, whose capacity for language and propensity for trading accelerated a new stage of social evolution that allowed humans to displace other hominids and eventually to develop advanced civilizations.¹ The human gift for cooperation and collective learning made our ancestors particularly adaptive to new environments, and incremental migration gradually populated the earth with human settlements. People...

    • 2 Global Migrations: Toward a World Economy
      (pp. 39-68)

      The previous chapter narrated the pioneering role of migrants over the long arc of history, from the emergence of modern humans to the first intimations of globalization in the early second millennium. We now turn to look at the global networks of production, trade, and migration that grew in scale and density following the European “Age of Exploration” (after 1492) to reconnect human communities around the world. Some communities tried to turn inward, attempting to shield themselves from foreign contact, but the forceful intensity of movement around the world assured the rise of a new global economy.

      In 1492, with...

    • 3 “Managed” Migration in the Twentieth Century (1914–1973)
      (pp. 69-94)

      The dramatic international population movements of the nineteenth century were gradually eclipsed as war, nationalism, and increasingly effective state bureaucracies led to the introduction of new restrictions on migration. States introduced quotas, passports and tighter border restrictions in attempts to “manage” migratory flows.¹

      Managed migration meant that states tried to control how many people entered the country, where they came from, and what rights and resources they could access. Political issues of national security, culture, language, and race became as influential for immigration policies and migrant flows as the economic forces that had been dominant throughout the nineteenth century. New...


    • 4 Leaving Home: Migration Decisions and Processes
      (pp. 97-120)

      Having reviewed 60,000 years of human migration in the part I, part II covers the period from the early 1970s to today. This has been a period of unprecedented globalization. Accelerating cross-border movements of goods, services, ideas, and capital are drawing the regions of the world into an interdependent and interconnected community. Political changes associated with the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Soviet Union, the opening up of China, and democratization in much of Africa and Latin America have been both a cause and an effect of this accelerating integration. Rapid technological progress and the development...

    • 5 Immigration and Border Control
      (pp. 121-161)

      As the previous chapter illustrated, global integration and the falling costs of travel and communication are making migration attractive for more people. Our current period of globalization is also shaping the migration policies and priorities of states.¹ Since the 1970s, the flow of migrants has increased in scale and diversity, prompting a new phase of international migration that is defined by the state’s “quest for control.”² States employ more rigorous regulations and border control techniques to manage the movement of people.³ They seek to keep out “undesirable” people, often for economic or security reasons, based on perceptions of the impacts...

    • 6 The Impacts of Migration
      (pp. 162-210)

      The impact of international migration is perhaps the most widely researched topic in the field of migration studies, but it is also the most commonly misunderstood in public discourse. News broadcasts refer to an “invasion of illegal aliens,”¹ fear of a “flood of migrants,”² and the “threat” of “brain drain.”³ Around 50 percent of respondents in both Europe and the United States perceive immigration as more of a problem than an opportunity, citing concerns about immigration leading to a rise in crime, increasing tax rates, and taking jobs away from natives.⁴ Although the views of politicians at times may be...


    • 7 The Future of Migration
      (pp. 213-258)

      While it may be impossible to predict the future, all the evidence tells us that the first half of the twenty-first century will be characterized by more migration. Over the last twenty-five years, the total number of international migrants doubled, and we can confidently say that this strong growth trend will be amplified over the next fifty years. History teaches that rapid economic and political change—and, increasingly, environmental change—dislodges people from their traditional routines, compelling them to seek opportunity and security in unfamiliar new homes. Against a backdrop of rapid globalization, the individual risks and costs of moving...

    • 8 A Global Migration Agenda
      (pp. 259-286)

      In the preceding chapters, we have contended that migration is a defining characteristic of human societies and a driving force of global history. The audacious movement of our common ancestors out of Africa launched the settlement of diverse ecologies, forcing adaptation, innovation, and learning. Before the advent of modern communications technologies, migrants and travelers served as the broadcast medium connecting settlements and civilizations. They carried knowledge and know-how across cultural and geographic boundaries, transmitting the ideas that animate human progress. Information traveled at the pace of steady steps advancing forward.

      Over tens of thousands of years, societies were organized around...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 287-330)
  10. References
    (pp. 331-358)
  11. Index
    (pp. 359-371)