Labour Markets, Migration, Marginalisation and Exclusion, Brain Drain

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Global labour markets are affected by several crucial factors:

  • the disproportionate density of populations: overpopulated countries such as India and China are settled 20 times more densely than the USA, and 40 times more than Canada;
  • the demographic implosion practically all over the Euro-American civilisation (and a simultaneous explosion on the other continents);
  • the increased chances for migration on the global scale.

Knowledge as the Basic Capital

The ‘knowledge-based society’, ruling global markets, is right in regarding ‘grey matter’ as the most valuable economic asset. The demographic crisis in our culture and the pressures of migration from poor countries lead toward a new Migration of Peoples. Capital flows – comparatively speaking – are endowed with a far greater degree of mobility, however. Frictions and migration policies often mean selective regimentation, dividing applicants on labour markets into winners and losers. The problems of ‘marginalisation’ – exclusion toward the margin of interest of global markets – have severe social implications, and help preserve the existence of ‘dual economies’ in a number of developing countries, but also in the lagging regions of the developed world.

Draining of Human Resources

The transfer of the ‘winners’, nonetheless, cannot be regarded as fair play. Investment of a post-sovereign state in educating its people becomes lost investment at the moment of their permanent emigration, because knowledge tends to be privatised as a matter of principle, and wealthier countries act as a selective siphon for human resources. Entire chains of brain wooing and brain draining appear in the global economy (USA – EU – Central Europe – Post-Soviet Republics – Central Asia, etc.).

Africa is suffering the most severe brain drain as a continent, along with countries whose education systems are built on the knowledge of English (India, Pakistan). Even though some countries gain significant benefits for their GDP from their emigrants sending money back home, the lost public investment in education is not compensated for in this way, and the long-term drain of prime-quality population segments means inhibiting the chances for development in economy, healthcare, education, and public administration in Africa’s countries. As far as professions are concerned, the greatest brain drain concerns physicians and medical staff. Paradoxically, but logically in economic terms, the wealthiest countries with lower population densities (Canada, USA, Western Europe, etc.) reap the greatest benefits out of this migration.

Migration Policy

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) deals with the issues of migration and migration intervention policies.

‘Selective migration’ only concerns certain segments of ‘knowledge capital’, and is influenced by means of purposive policies in the migrants’ countries of origin, but even more by the selection procedures and motivation incentives in countries who receive the migrants. Freedom of movement of labour and the right to change your country is considered one of the ‘fundamental human rights.’ It must be admitted, nonetheless, that the defence of such rights by the developed parts of the world is also ‘interest-conditioned’: it is the wealthy countries that profit the most from such migration. Sharper terms are used in this respect, such as parasitising on investment in public education in developing countries (including those in transition).