Immigration And Globalization

While surfing the blogosphere I came across a blog titled “Gates of Vienna”. Of particular interest to me was a paragraph in a post titled “ A Wall And A Patrol Of Civilians". Specifically the post dealt with Italy’s immigration problem and referred to an immigration wall ( sound familiar) - “Once you look at the relative numbers of Italians to immigrants, you know where this “experiment” is headed. Padua has a native population of about 250,000 people. The immigrants number 70,000; they consist of French and English speaking Africans, Arabs, Chinese, Tamil, and Hindi speakers along with some central Europeans. They also reproduce at a rapid rate: a third of all newborns are of foreign born parents.”

Italy with an immigration problem? Early in the twentieth century Italy’s immigration problem was significantly different - cheap labor was being exported. By 1920, when immigration began to taper off, more than 4 million Italians had come to the United States, and represented more than 10 percent of the nation’s foreign-born population. ( See Italian Immigration) (incidentally they were also accused of reproducing at a rapid rate). Concrete walls were never considered as this country absorbed Europe’s downtrodden. The process of assimilation would bring down any prejudicial walls which were initially built. Apparently assimilation is a much more difficult process in Padua and indeed Europe. Radically different cultures, religions and customs together with fanaticism are major obstacles to the assimilation process.

Obviously our own immigration problems are not unique. Almost anywhere in the world one can find problems with immigration , legal and illegal. We blame many of our ills on globalization, why not blame immigration problems on globalization. Globalization is defined as “the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets”. The tapping of cheaper foreign labor markets takes two forms. One, we send our manufacturing base to foreign markets and two, we entice the cheap labor to our shores! We can’t have it both ways. The churning of cheap labor will only result in rancid economies and social unrest.

Globalization will continuously breed the need for cheap labor. The downtrodden will be on the move and national identities will suffer in the process. Here in the United States we proudly refer to ourselves as a nation of immigrants. In turn our immigrants have emerged as Americans. How long will this last? There are signs that the assimilation process is beginning to stall and it is not unthinkable that sometime in the future we may very well be looking for a new identity.

The immigration problems being experienced in the world will ultimately be resolved in the economics cauldron. It will take awhile but throughout the world there will emerge regional economic accommodations which will blur national boundaries as we know them. Globalization will have achieved its ultimate goal. ( Its a small world isn't it!)

No comments: