Can We Solve the Migration Crisis? (Global Futures) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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“This readable yet impressively researched book provides a comprehensive account of how we should think about one of the most complex and urgent problems of our time.”
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, former UN Commissioner for Human Rights and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice
"This book is an insightful and passionate argument for finding a humane resolution to the problems that cause and attend distress migration."
Publishers Weekly --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B07FK2FG76
- Publisher : Polity; 1st edition (July 10, 2018)
- Publication date : July 10, 2018
- Language : English
- File size : 225 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 140 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,037,652 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What a tragedy. The world has more refugees now--60 million, nearly half of them children--than at any time in history. And yet our current government is focused on creating false reasons to fear them, rather than giving humane reasons to help them.
The current administration may have learned nothing from history, but Jacqueline Bhabha has. This is a factual book about migration, but also a philosophical book about morality and ethics. She first analyzes the situation world-wide (the "problem"), then asks the questions that humane societies should ask themselves about what is realistic to do? What is our individual and collective responsibility? She explains the laws that apply to international refugee migration as well as so-called "economic migration", for hardship. She reminds us that "the primary drivers of distress migration are conflict, natural disasters and climate change, global inequality and demographic changes" adding, "no solution to the current refugee and immigration crisis can be found solely by addressing its most evident symptoms." (p113).
Hers is a global perspective with global solutions suggested. She looks at the world-wide refugee migration trends and what nations can do, including through the United Nations. It is a broad view, not just focused on the United States, but very important for the United States, caught in a moral crisis. She pays attention to the effect of this situation on a young generation of millions of refugees--what will they grow into, left as they are in the refuse camps of the world, deprived of education and the basic essentials of existence that most of the world enjoys?
Bhabha doesn't just describe the problems--which she does very well--she takes on the solutions, an array of very specific ones. This is a small book--only 132 pages--but its an important one. It's a call to conscience that includes real-world recommendations for ways to help. Definitely recommended (This is well written and an easy read--I can think of several college courses where this would be excellent required reading, stimulating discussion and thought.)
Jacqueline Bhabha, author of Can We Solve the Migration Crisis? does and excellent job of explaining the “migration crisis” is not new and in terms of historical migration is certainly not the largest. History is filled with migration crises.
One of the most important things you will learn is that in the majority of cases immigration is not undertaken as an act of aspiration but one of desperation - for survival.
She also explores the notion of sovereign borders and the growing tendency to keep out those who do not fit into the notion of our culture. Ms. Bhabha delves deep into the ethical questions about our duty to help those whose quality of life is hopeless and often their survival is threatened.
As everyone who has looked at the immigration problem has acknowledged, the system is not working. With the growing trend of nationalism and the increasing problems brought on by political conflict, climate change, natural disasters and economic disparity, the migration problems are becoming more acute.
Ms. Bhabha does offer some concrete suggestions for solving the problems – not by treating the symptoms but by addressing the root causes of the problems. The question is do we have the moral and political resolve to do what is necessary.
Rather than spend time and money on building a wall, we would all be better equipped to discuss the problem if we had a better understanding of the issues involved. This book offers a good first step to that understanding.
Ms. Bhabha does an excellent job of articulating the problem and offering some suggestions. She is an expert on the subject. Her writing style/language is for an audience slightly higher than the general public.
This book is published by Polity Press. Their approach is to adequately cover a complex subject in approximately 120 pages and to provide substantial further reading/research resources for those who wish to go deeper.
Both the author and publisher accomplished their goal with this book
Top reviews from other countries
The first chapter covers the history of migration, from the ancient world, through colonialism, to the introduction of restrictions in the late 19th century. This highlights that movement – even mass movement – of people is nothing new, though nor is concern at ‘waves of immigrants’. Chapter two considers our duties towards foreigners, drawing on both religious teachings and secular ethics. Chapter three asks whether our present migration system is broken, starting with ‘regular’ migrants, before turning to irregular migrants and refugees, who are the real focus of the present ‘migrant crisis’ and of this book.
Finally, the fourth chapter addresses the book’s titular question, proposing potential solutions. In short, Bhabha thinks that changing migration systems would (at best) be treating the symptom, rather than the underlying problem. A long-term solution to the problem requires tackling the root causes of migration, chiefly conflict but also global inequality and climate change/natural disasters. Of course, solving these problems is more easily said than done – and beyond the scope of this short book.
The author also notes that demographic factors play an important role. In Europe, the proportion of the population of working age is currently declining, despite inward migration of mainly working-age people. Without an increase in net migration, the dependency ratio will continue to increase. Thus, if migration were reduced to zero, we’d face a new crisis: lack of migration.
The book is short and relatively readable. I got through it in a morning. The sentences are not too long or complex, but I must say that – if this book is aimed at a wider audience, as I assumed – the author uses a lot of inaccessible vocabulary. There are a number of unfamiliar foreign phrases (“inter alia” [p. 19], “longue durée perspective” [p. 29], “a priori justification” [p. 34]) and obscure words (“quotidian practice” [p. 41], “a syncretic product” [p. 56], “epiphenomena” [p. 91]). Sentences like “A historical perspective on human mobility contextualises current pressures within the longstanding ebb and flow of complex human migration patterns” (p. 2) may be normal in academic writing, but I suspect they will be off-putting for the general reader.
‘Engulfed in courts, committees, institutions
Associations and societies’.
The book has four chapters plus a preface, and the promising heading ‘Finding Workable and Humane Solutions’ is reserved for last, which is a perfectly reasonable way of organising the argument. In the first section what I found most interesting was the condensed history lesson which makes a start (for development later) at separating the number of issues involved in the concept of ‘migration’, and then points out (I shall believe this to be going on with) that ‘the factors affecting human mobility have been remarkably constant over centuries (indeed, over millennia).’ It is an excellent academic lecture, a specialist’s clear presentation, but by the end of it I felt that while Dr Bhabha had broadened and deepened my understanding of the matter in numerous ways, nevertheless she had not surprised me beyond the early statement regarding the constancy of the factors. In other words, I and any number of other non-specialists probably had started with an adequate understanding of the issues that really matter. In passing I noticed one real oddity. Bhabha quotes the famous outburst of Enoch Powell ‘Like the Roman, I seem to see the “River Tiber foaming with much blood:’. Mr Powell is the last man I would have expected to forget that Rome had not even been founded when the Sibyl of Cumae uttered this prophecy.
The second chapter ‘A Duty of Care’ comes closer to what I had wanted to find. However deeply our emotions are stirred by the monstrous sights that our daily news bulletins bring to our view, spasms of outrage and sentiment are not a substitute for a constant and sustained sense of duty in the matter. Very effectively placed next is something – something that again we all know – that highlights the gut-instinct that is as old a roadblock to effective action to alleviate the horror of forced migration as is the basic phenomenon itself of humanity migrating. And this is the simple position taken by Mr Orban in Hungary that his country is not going to accept migrants because it doesn’t want them. It’s that simple, and it makes one feel that academic analysis may be largely displacement activity – write a fine piece of academic disquisition, express unexceptionable liberal sentiments, and go on your way rejoicing leaving the issues much as they were.
Before we get to the chapter headed ‘The System at Breaking Point’ our author had actually pointed out that for very many people border controls operate very smoothly and well. That fact, just on on its own, may go a long way towards explaining how the problem, or crisis or whatever, goes on renewing itself centuries in and millennia out, another claim she makes. However that was my own reaction after one reading, and it will probably need more than one for a reader to piece together Dr Bhabha’s arguments in this connection. However as a provisional conclusion one could very well believe that the system can stay at breaking point indefinitely without ever breaking. If so, another reason for doing little or nothing unless one counts setting up working parties and whatnot.
That brings us to the Workable and Humane Solutions, and we have been there already. It has not been my objective in this short review to criticise the estimable Dr Bhabha for not solving problems that have been with us for as long as she herself tells us. Those of a religious bent can no doubt point easily to parables and teachings about, say, a good Samaritan. Indeed I could do that myself. I am also uncomfortably aware that some beneficiaries of well-intended aid will abuse it, and that this in turn will give an opportunity to prejudice and envy. It should not be a pretext for washing our hands of the issue. Like any efforts at liberalism, socialism, welfare and the rest of it, it is not that these have been tried and found wanting, it’s that they have been tried and found difficult.
Part of the issue for me was that Bhabha starts out by pitching the current migration crisis against historical migration patterns. I understand why she wanted to do that (to provide data points against which the current situation can be measured) but there’s a lot of supposition there to explain migration 2000 years ago. I was equally unconvinced by a section on religious responses to migration, which while making some interesting points about the responses of certain countries to the crisis (and also sets out their defence, which I found interesting).
Bhabha is better in the section on distress migration where she discusses the reasons for the same and makes interesting observations about drivers for the same (including the impact of climate change) and on the existing refugee mechanisms (which she describes in an easy to understand manner).
Ultimately, I think my main issue with the book was that having read the excellent Refuge: Transforming A Broken Refugee System by Alexander Betts and Paul Collier a few weeks ago, there wasn’t much here for me that was new. Saying that, if you’re looking for an introduction to the topic then this is worth checking out.
Whereas history has experienced many migration flows in the past, the current numbers are very high for a variety of reasons ranging from conflicts in the migrants' home states, climate change and also the increasing global inequality which means that people will try to get a better life abroad (the latter much like previous migration flows).
It's a short and easily approachable book that might not teach us that much new about the situation, but it builds up a good argument for trying to work towards a resolution and it also builds up the arguments for helping migrants when a lot of what we see in the newspapers and online are often negative stories that are not helpful for a solution.
The rate of contemporary migration is, as Bhabha says, staggering. Twenty four people leave their home every minute, which means that, worldwide, 65.3 million people are displaced. In this essay, the authors looks at the worldwide crisis, the reaction to events, a system at breaking point and how to find workable and humane solutions to the crisis. Overall, an interesting look at a crisis which is constantly in the news and which affects so many people around the world.