Friday, May 27, 2011

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

The Economist Reviews Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future by Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron and Meera Balarajan. The book as the Economist point out provides a perspective on costs and benefits of migration. The review titled The future of mobility, observes that the book traces the historicity of human migration as well as the state of modern migration. One of the startling observations on the book made by the reviewer is :
"The authors knock down wild predictions that climate change will create 200m refugees by mid-century. Global warming may cause more frequent floods, but most flood victims go home when the waters recede. The authors cite as evidence the deluges that hit Mozambique in 2000 and America’s Gulf Coast in 2005".
This is contrary to the popular discourse on climate change induced migration. The observation that people return to their homes post disasters is valid. According to IPCC terminologies such sort of adaptation is termed 'seasonal retreat'. However, there are socio -- ecological limits to adaptation that drive people out resulting in permanent retreat. The Guardian Video below captures this dichotomy nicely.

 At this stage, quantitative projections of displaced people/migrants/refugees are not robust enough because of complexities involved in modeling multiple factors that result in migration. We are yet to read the book to completely understand the rationale behind the observations made.  Your views on the book and the issues raised are solicited.

Read the full review The future of mobility 

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