Ian Goldin’s view on migration is a very optimistic one. Goldin is Professor of Globalization and Development at the University of Oxford. He is convinced that migrants always yield more profit for society than they cost.
By Laurens Peek

Ian Goldin was the Vice President of the World Bank from 2003 to 2006 and before that served as the Bank’s Director of Development policy (2001-2003). Goldin was born in South Africa, a fact that may have influenced his stance on migration in general.

Goldin says that, in the end, migrants always yield more profit for society than they cost. It is not only money they yield, they also fulfill unwanted jobs that are essential for a functioning society. Furthermore, he points out that migrants can take jobs like caretaker or house maid, enabling both parents in a household to be employed. Thus, migrants bring both economic and social benefit.

Adult debate is needed

Unfortunately, these benefits do not always show at an early stage. In the first stages of (mass) migration the burdens usually are heavy and carried by local communities, who do not always see the possible long-term benefits. In extend, the real issue according to Goldin, is the management and the reception of migrants. Goldin thinks that the debate should be more adult and less influenced by populism.

In a historical sense, Goldin places migration as essential to human survival. According to Goldin the story of migration begins in Africa, the place of origin of Homo sapiens. Placing the migration in this perspective serves three purposes:
1) It reminds us that we are all Africans, which could counteract racism.
2) It also counteracts the vision of ethnical ‘pure-breeds’, which none of us are.
3) It illustrates that migrating away from famine and drought has proved essential for the survival of our species.

Goldin considers the difficulties that exist with migration to be resistance to globalization. Thus, his end goal is one of complete globalization. He visions a free world without political boundaries wherein unobstructed mobility between all countries is possible. The only factor that prevents this from happening is political support.

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