Tag Archives: refugees

What is the problem with economic migration?

For a number of years now, migration has been one of the most prominent topics in the media – with local peaks in some countries, often caused by upcoming elections, as it has become quite obvious that it is a topic that has the ability to move voters, in one way or the other. In the Western (a.k.a. ‘developed’ or even ‘civilized’) countries, generally speaking a clear majority of the population agrees that, in the context of the migration which is covered so abundantly in the media, refugees fleeing for war should be allowed to migrate to those countries for humanitarian reasons.

But if it comes to migration for economic reasons, the willingness to allow access to the territory is dramatically lower – even amongst large parts of the population that would never even consider voting for extreme right and/or populist parties, traditionally the loudest anti-migration voices. I am wondering why this is the case. As I see it, large scale economic migration has existed for centuries without outbursts of Western protest, so what is causing this change of attitude? Perhaps I should attempt to figure out what is different now from the way it was happening before…

Let’s try breaking it down into separate elements, by looking at factors such as the areas that have been source and destination, the objects migrating, the consideration of who took the decision, the beneficiaries of the outcome, etc. Continue reading

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Refugees: How much is too much?

8660040329_713baf637d_kIn 1956, over 200.000 Hungarians fled to Austria as refugees in a relatively short timespan, after the Soviets had ended the Hungarian Revolution manu militari. Unlike what you might expect from looking at the political climate in Austria today, a mere 60 years later, those refugees were treated so well that one of them openly stated: “If I am ever required to be a refugee, I hope to make it to Austria.” (source: The Bridge At Andau, a book published in 1957 by James A. Michener, based on interviews with some of those Hungarian refugees).  Continue reading

Quote of the day #59

“Anybody who knows the past isn’t allowed to turn refugees away. Anybody who sees the present can’t turn them away. Anybody who thinks about the future will not turn them away.”

Mercedes-Benz boss Dieter Zetsche
Image by re:publica (https://www.flickr.com/photos/re-publica/)

When do you stop being an immigrant?

20999913120_8f3f8b117c_kThese last few weeks, refugees from war zones like Syria have been headline news around the clock in just about every single news bulletin. On their journey towards Europe, they encounter both very positive and very negative reactions from the local population of whichever area they happen to be passing by (or got stuck in) that day.

The locals reacting negatively are pointing out that a number of the refugees are not on the run because of a dangerous situation in their home town, but Continue reading