The world today: it’s all about migration

Whatever part of the world or country or region you may call your own, the population you share it with got there largely as a result of mass migration. Most of Europe is populated by those whose ancestors took part in the major movements of Völkerwanderung, and populations changed and shifted through major major migration or conquests. No significant country you have ever heard of has had a settled population through the centuries. Nor is this all ancient history – it has been a feature of all centuries, to some extent at least.

One of the consequences of migration has been the internationalisation of learning. Even when there were hardly any efficient methods of transport, scholars and students wandered between centres of education and enriched each other’s cultures. Universities became knowledge exchanges of scholarship and cultures, influencing national development (of which Scotland, from where I write, is an excellent example).

Of course large-scale migration also poses challenges and requires the adoption of sensible policies to manage it. But the desire sometimes expressed in modern times for a recognisably uniform autouchtonous ethnic culture that has uniform traits is not at all an expression of tradition: it contradicts civilised human experience and has the capacity to align itself with tyranny.

Many of our recent global developments have their roots in the fear of migration: Brexit, Donald Trump’s wall, ethnic cleansing. These are not good developments in so far as they are driven by fear and insecurity. Politicians must address this with more wisdom than many have shown; but in particular they must recognise that scholarship and learning cannot thrive within closed borders. And the higher education academy must keep making the case for the shared international experience of the educational community.

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One Comment on “The world today: it’s all about migration”

  1. Vince Says:

    No, in this you are utterly wrong. Migration isn’t the question. It’s the poor and uneducated peoples answer to be thrown under a darn bus by well educated people reaching for the waterbowl and towel a la Pontios Pilatos.
    People try to do the correct thing so they can enjoy life with safety and hope. But when a cohort within their own society formulate policy that actively moves against their own.

    Here’s a thumb nail of what went on.
    When England were building canals it needed a vast mobile city of people. These people worked hard and were paid at a level that meant little if any surplus could be formed. At the of the building you had a vast population starving and rudderless who resorted to crime to survive. So between the noose and famine, usually within 3 years the entire population was erased.

    In the US today. This you’ll see if you drive through projects in Chicago, NYC, Atlanta. Or visit sheriffs jails out west you’ll see the current cohort that are fodder for famine or the noose.
    What’s different from say ’97, ’07. The answer is who, and where in the structure of society.
    Remember in Ireland, when landless labourers in the countryside and unemployed seaweed harvesters starved to death no one gave a shit, not least here in Ireland. And this regardless of the late handwringing that went on. No, what stirred social instability was when the landed estates began to respond to the globalisation of that day and lessen the number of tenants while increasing the size of the farm units thereby ejecting families onto the roads. So it isn’t migrants, leastwise not in prime, but the underlying callous ignorant management of globalisation by civil servants and those whom assume a position of control.

    As to the universities, you’ll be grand. You might take a hit on pensions. But since you don’t pay anyone before they are 35 enough to have a life learning to save for a future like everyone else mightn’t be such a bad thing. And might allow a family income ten years earlier.


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