Knut Wicksell: Selected Essays in Economics - Vol. 2

By Knut Wicksell; Bo Sandelin | Go to book overview

25

FROM THE EMIGRATION INQUIRY, APPENDIX 18

Statements by Swedish men of science

INTRODUCTION

Having been invited by the director of the official Emigration Inquiry to comment on the issue of Swedish emigration, let me first point out that unfortunately, particularly in recent years, I have not been in a position to study the statistical aspects of this topic in any detail. In my opinion, it is not even possible for an individual researcher to undertake a successful investigation of the significance of emigration for our country at the present time, since the most important statistical data for assessing the issue are still lacking. Most emigrants are young unmarried people of both sexes, who have not yet gained steady employment or established homes of their own in their native land, together with, though in a lesser degree now than previously, parents accompanied by their children. The significance of these young people leaving the country, and the benefit or perhaps detriment that would have ensued had they stayed at home, must then depend above all on the economic prospects our country offers the rising generation, i.e., in the first instance, the extent of its as yet unexploited natural resources; but unfortunately, on this question, in the absence of detailed studies, a regrettable uncertainty prevails. In the very most recent times, to be sure, the public authorities, confronted by certain ominous prospects for the future, appear to have realized that studies of this kind are absolutely essential, but as yet they have hardly been begun, and in the best case it will probably be years before they produce definite results.

In these circumstances, any statement on the Swedish emigration issue as a whole must necessarily take on an extremely hypothetical character. It can only have direct value in so far as certain considerations in assessing these questions are of a sufficiently elementary and general nature as to be equally relevant at all times and under all conditions; however, the real significance of such a statement consists in indicating the kinds of questions that must be

Originally published as Emigrationsutredningen, bil 18.

-136-

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