International Flows of Humanity
In the 1970s, with their economies in a tailspin following big oil price hikes of 1973, even the more forbidding among the West European governments could not bring themselves to expel the gastarbeiters (the foreign “guest workers”) despite their contractual right to do so. 1 The Swiss novelist Max Frisch remarked at the time, “We imported workers and got men instead.” 2
Frisch captured beautifully the fact that economics and ethics are inseparable in the way we must consider international flows of humanity and seek to devise policies to manage them, enhancing the benefits and containing the problems that they entail.
Migration across national borders has rapidly come to the forefront of public debates, even as it was neglected by most of the critics of globalization. Long regarded as an issue that could be addressed only gingerly because the right to exclude has traditionally been considered the essential defining aspect of national sovereignty, it has now taken on dimensions and a legitimacy that put it alongside the more conventional international phenomena such as trade, macroeconomics, development, and health. Nor is the phenomenon, and its causes and consequences, any longer on the fringe of the major academic disciplines in social sciences such as economics, political science, and international relations, and in other fields such as ethics and literary theory. 3
Human flows occur in diverse ways and have prompted corresponding concerns and policy actions worldwide. Three types of disaggregation