We live in the era of migration because it is a logical consequence of globalisation. All those who leave their country in search of a better life, rather than fleeing because of the horrors of wars and oppression, do so because the world has grown smaller and more interdependent. Economic migration mirrors Economics 101: free movement of labour makes for most effective production.
When capital flows freely and production can seek optimum conditions by moving from country to country, it is not strange that labour seeks the same.
We accept the free movement of labour within our countries and within the EU, and we have seen that free movement of labour tends to flatten remuneration differences for same work within each country or region. The migration pressure the ‘rich’ world is experiencing is ultimately a push for global free movement of labour. If it is achieved, as it should, the world would not implode on workers in the rich world, but it would, for a time, mean that their wages would stagnate. It is thus natural that there is resistance. However, the reality is that the world cannot have a globalised economy without globalised free movement of labour. It might come step-by-step, so that economic displacement effects are softened. But come it will – or globalisation in general will be dismantled, as President Trump so assiduously and short-sightedly is trying to do.
Fact is that global free movement of labour in the longer term will mean increased wealth for all, will lead to wealthier and bigger markets. Abandoning globalisation or trying to stop rather than manage migration flows will lead to disaster and war.
Jeremy Bentham talked about the greatest happiness of the greatest number. This is what globalisation and global free movement of labour should be all about!