Development removes the excess supply of labor without removing the population. If migration is perceived as providing a country with breathing space to develop, then as development takes place, there should be less need for such breathing room. But if the protection that migration provides against rapidly rising population rates is perceived as permanent, then the incentive for governments to make difficult decisions to accelerate development may be weakened.
In the context of our theory of migration as a circular process, development in the Caribbean would have its greatest impact on the first stage of this process, either by preventing a migration decision or by inducing the migrant to return home before the second stage begins to develop. However, once the process begins, it is difficult to stop. Migrants' knowledge of a larger market for the services of their households is irreversible. Their return to the countries of origin will depend on their assessments of the opportunity cost of doing so. It is entirely possible that only part of the household will return, reopening a closed migration circle. But as long as the household remains a household, there will be a tendency toward reunification. If the household disintegrates, then new households will be created with possibly new migration circles.
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Publication information: Book title: In Search of a Better Life:Perspectives on Migration from the Caribbean. Contributors: Ransford W. Palmer - Editor. Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1990. Page number: 15.
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