Migration and Brain Drain - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin

Human trafficking and people smuggling are multi-billion dollar industries. At least 50% ofrepparttar 150 million immigrantsrepparttar 132300 world over are illegal aliens. There are 80 million migrant workers found in virtually every country. They flee war, urban terrorism, crippling poverty, corruption, authoritarianism, nepotism, cronyism, and unemployment. Their main destinations arerepparttar 132301 EU andrepparttar 132302 USA - but many end up in lesser countries in Asia or Africa.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) publishedrepparttar 132303 following figures in 1997:

Africa had 20 Million migrant workers, North America - 17 million, Central and South America - 12 million, Asia - 7 million,repparttar 132304 Middle East - 9 million, and Europe - 30 million.

Immigrants make up 15% of staid Switzerland's population, 9% of Germany's and Austria's, 7.5% of France's (though less than 4% of multi-cultural Blairite Britain). There are more than 15 million people born in Latin America living inrepparttar 132305 States. According torepparttar 132306 American Census Bureau, foreign workers comprise 13% ofrepparttar 132307 workforce (up from 9% in 1990). A million have left Russia for Israel. In this past century,repparttar 132308 world has experienced its most sweeping wave of both voluntary and forced immigration - and it does not seem to have abated.

According torepparttar 132309 United Nations Population Division,repparttar 132310 EU would need to import 1.6 million migrant workers annually to maintain its current level of working age population. But it would need almost 9 times as many to preserve a stable workers to pensioners ratio.

The EU may cope with this shortage by simply increasing labour force participation (74% in labour-short Netherlands, for instance). Or it may coerce its unemployed (and women) into low-paid and 3-d (dirty, dangerous, and difficult) jobs. Or it may prolong working life by postponing retirement.

These are not politically palatable decisions. Yet, a wave of xenophobia that hurtled lately across a startled Europe - from Austria to Denmark - won't allowrepparttar 132311 EU to adoptrepparttar 132312 only other solution: mass (though controlled and skill-selective) migration.

As a result, Europe has recently tightened its admission (and asylum) policies even more than it has inrepparttar 132313 1970's. It bolted and shut its gates to primary (economic) migration. Only family reunifications are permitted. Well over 80% of all immigrants to Britain are women joining their husbands, or children joining their father. Migrant workers are often discriminated against and abused and many are expelled intermittently.

Still, economic migrants - lured by European riches - keep pouring in illegally (about half a million every year -to believe The Centre for Migration Policy Development in Vienna). Europe isrepparttar 132314 target of twice as many illegal migrants asrepparttar 132315 USA. Many of them (known as "labour tourists") shuttle across borders seasonally, or commute between home and work - sometimes daily. Hencerepparttar 132316 EU's apprehension at allowing free movement of labour fromrepparttar 132317 candidate countries andrepparttar 132318 "transition periods" (really moratoria) it wishes to impose on them following their long postponed accession.

According torepparttar 132319 American Census Bureau's March 2002 "Current Population Survey", 20% of all US residents are of "foreign stock" (one quarter of them Mexican). They earn less than native-born Americans and are less likely to have health insurance. They are (on average) less educated (only 67% of immigrants age 25 and older completed high school compared to 87% of native-born Americans). Their median income, at $36,000 is 10% lower and only 49% of them own a home (compared to 67% of households headed by native-born Americans). The averages mask huge disparities between Asians and Hispanics, though. Still, these ostensibly dismal figures constitute a vast improvement over comparable data inrepparttar 132320 country of origin.

But these arerepparttar 132321 distant echoes of past patterns of migration. Traditional immigration is becoming gradually less attractive. Immigrants who came to Canada between 1985-1998 earn only 66% ofrepparttar 132322 wages of their predecessors. Labour force participation of immigrants fell to 68% (1996) from 86% (1981).

While most immigrants untilrepparttar 132323 1980's were poor, uneducated, and unskilled -repparttar 132324 current lot is middle-class, reasonably affluent, well educated, and highly skilled. This phenomenon -repparttar 132325 exodus of elites from allrepparttar 132326 developing and less developed countries - is called "brain drain", or "brain hemorrhage" by its detractors (and "brain exchange" or "brain mobility" by its proponents). These metaphors conjure up images ofrepparttar 132327 inevitable outcomes of some mysterious processes,repparttar 132328 market's invisible hand pluckingrepparttar 132329 choicest and teleporting them to more abundant grounds.

Russia's Middle Class

Written by Sam Vaknin

A conference held, atrepparttar beginning ofrepparttar 132299 month, in St. Petersburg, was aptly titled "Middle Class - The Myths andrepparttar 132300 Reality". Russia is way poorer than Slovenia,repparttar 132301 Czech Republic, Hungary, or even Poland. But, as income disparities grow, a group of discriminating consumers withrepparttar 132302 purchasing power to match, is re-emerging, having been submerged byrepparttar 132303 1998 implosion ofrepparttar 132304 financial sector.

The typical salary inrepparttar 132305 large metropolises is now more than $600 per month - four timesrepparttar 132306 meager national average. Some 20 percent ofrepparttar 132307 workforce in Moscow earns more than $1700 a month, comparable to many members ofrepparttar 132308 European Union. Real average wages across Russia have surpassedrepparttar 132309 pre-1998 level in May.

Moreover, Russians are unburdened by debt and their utility bills and food are heavily subsidized, though decreasingly so. Few pay taxes - lately dramatically reduced and simplified - and even fewer save. Every rise in disposable income is immediately translated to unadulterated consumption. Takings are understated - Russia's informal economy is probably half as big as its formal sector.

A study, financed byrepparttar 132310 Carnegie Foundation, found that only 7 percent of Russians qualify as middle class. Another 12 percent or so have some bourgeois characteristics. Sixty percent of them are men, thoughrepparttar 132311 Komkon marketing research agency says thatrepparttar 132312 genders are equally represented.

Figures culled fromrepparttar 132313 census conducted this year throughoutrepparttar 132314 Russian Federation -repparttar 132315 first since 1989 - are expected to confirm these findings. About one fifth to one quarter of all Russian households earn more thanrepparttar 132316 average monthly income of $150 per person.

Political parties which purport to representrepparttar 132317 middle class - such asrepparttar 132318 Union ofrepparttar 132319 Forces ofrepparttar 132320 Right (SPS) - garnered 10-15 percent ofrepparttar 132321 votes inrepparttar 132322 1999 parliamentary elections. Direct action groups ofrepparttar 132323 "third estate" may transformrepparttar 132324 political landscape in forthcoming elections.

In a recent study by sociologists fromrepparttar 132325 Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Philosophy, more than half of all Russians self-flatteringly considered themselves middle class. This is delusional. Evenrepparttar 132326 optimistic research firm Premier-TGI pegsrepparttar 132327 number at 19 percent at most.

Businesses adapt to these new demands of shifting tastes and preferences. The St. Petersburg-based cellular operator Delta Telecom, owner ofrepparttar 132328 first license to provide wireless-communications services in Russia, intends to testrepparttar 132329 market among middle class clients.

Ikea,repparttar 132330 Swedish home improvement chain, has plunged $200 million into a new shopping center. French, German and Dutch cash-and-carry and do-it-yourself groups are slated to follow. Russian competitors, every bit as sleek, have erupted onrepparttar 132331 scene. The investment spree has engulfedrepparttar 132332 provinces as well.

Last month, Citibank opened a retail outlet for affluent individuals in Moscow - though its standards of transparency may yet scare them off, as Gazeta.ru observed astutely. A private cemetery in Samara caters torepparttar 132333 needs ofrepparttar 132334 expired newly rich. Opulently-stocked emporiums have sprouted in all urban centers. TV shopping and even online commerce are onrepparttar 132335 up. According torepparttar 132336 Washington Post, Moscow retail space will have tripled byrepparttar 132337 end of next year from its level atrepparttar 132338 beginning of 2002.

The Russian Expert magazine says thatrepparttar 132339 middle class, minuscule as it is, accounted last year for a staggering 55 percent of all consumer goods purchased and generates one third of Russia's gross domestic product. The middle class is Russia's most important engine of wealth formation and investment, far outweighing foreign capital.

Russia's post-1998 fledgling middle class is described as young, well-educated, well-traveled, community-orientated, entrepreneurial and suffused with work ethic and a desire for social mobility. It is almost as ifrepparttar 132340 crisis four years ago served as a purgatory, purging sins and sinners alike and creatingrepparttar 132341 conditions forrepparttar 132342 revival of a healthier, longer-lived, bourgeoisie.

But being middle class is a state of mind more than a measure of wealth. It is an all-encompassing worldview, a set of values, a code of conduct, a list of goals, aspirations, fantasies and preferences and a catalog of moral do's and don'ts. This is where transition, micromanaged by western "experts" failed.

The mere exposure to free markets was supposed to unleash innovation and entrepreneurship inrepparttar 132343 long-oppressed populations of east Europe. When this prescription - known as "shock therapy" - bombed,repparttar 132344 West tried to engender a stable, share-holding, business-owning, middle class by financing small size enterprises. It then proceeded to strengthen and transform indigenous institutions.

None of it worked. Transition had no grassroots support and its prescriptive - and painful - nature caused wide resentment and obstruction. Whenrepparttar 132345 dust settled, Russia found itself with a putative - and puny - middle class. But it was an anomalous beast, very different from its ostensible European or American counterparts.

To start with, Russia's new middle class is a distinct minority.

Prism, a publication ofrepparttar 132346 Jamestown Foundation, quoted, in its August 2001 issue,repparttar 132347 Serbian author Milorad Pavic as saying that "the Russian middle class is like a young generation whose fathers suffered a severe defeat in a war: with no feeling of guilt and no victorious fathers to boss them around,repparttar 132348 children of defeat see no obstacles before them".

But this metaphor is misleading. The Russian middle class is a nascent exception - not an overarching rule. As Akos Rona-Tas, Associate Professor inrepparttar 132349 Sociology Department atrepparttar 132350 University of California, San Diego, notes correctly in his paper "Post Communist Transition andrepparttar 132351 Absent Middle Class in Central East Europe", a middle class that is inrepparttar 132352 minority is an oxymoron:

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