G20: Anticipating Future Migration into Europe (2018-2050)
Beyond the Irresponsibility of Current Political and Humanitarian Short-Termism
8 Jul 2017 – Written on the occasion of the G20 Summit (Hamburg, July 2017) at which migration and terrorism are prominent agenda items. Commentary on terrorism is made separately (30 Questions for the Counter-terrorism Experts of the World: raising the question as to why they are not effectively addressed, 2017)
It is extraordinary to note how assiduous are the statistical and economic studies relating to population, technological innovation and economic growth through to 2050 — by comparison with the lack of comparable studies on the rate of migration over that future period, or even for the decade to come.
This lack can be considered in large measure as due to a combination of factors:
- political embarrassment at the lack of any viable strategy for Europe as a whole
- enthusiasm for greater numbers following concern with aging European populations and issues framed in terms of necessary “replacement” to sustain an economy highly (and unquestionably) dependent on growth
- a cultivated degree of indifference to the consequences in order to sustain the viability of the arms industries, their sales to countries in conflict, and their use by the European military is such conflicts
- the probable existence of directives — and indirect pressure — to the media and academic institutions to avoid significant discussion of such matters
- a characteristic focus on the short-term, readily framed in terms of the humanitarian issues of the present — irrespective of the potentially greater humanitarian ossues of the future
- a degree of political indifference to the stress engendered in local communities expected to accommodate refugees in some way
- humanitarian arguments, cultivated and promoted by Christian institutions — most notably reinforced by those of the Catholic hierachy — irrespective of the loss of lives in the efforts to reach Europe
- a movement of public opinion framing any implied criticism as essentially lacking in the humanitarian qualities considered fundamental to European culture and values
It could be argued that the sacrifice of women and children in transit is deliberately or unconsciously employed as a form of blackmail to ensure avoidance of any reflection on the longer term implication. The tragic deaths then serve as a form of “human shield” against any tendency to ask more uncomfortable questions, as argued separately (Starvation Imagery as Humanitarian Trump Card? Counterproductive emotional blackmail engendering worldwide indifference, 2016).
The concern here is to collect and develop estimates of migration into Europe, however crude, as an indication of the need for more detailed research. In that respect an extensve study by the UN Population Division is potentially a vital resource (World Population Prospects: key findings and advance tables, 2017 revision). However, given the constraints of that division with respect to any issues relating to consideration of overpopulation, its formulation of the issues could be considered as much a part of the problem as enabling a clearer understanding of the nature of the solution — given the influx of migrants which Europe currently experiences as a crisis. The report introduces its discussion of this challenge as follows:
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that international migration can be a positive force for economic and social development, offering a mechanism to rebalance labour markets between areas of origin and destination and thereby increase the global productivity of labour. Migration across international borders can al so help to promote investment and higher standards of living in countries of origin through remittan ces sent by migrants to families and communities back home, and to accelerate the global diffusion of new ideas and technol ogies. From a demographic perspective, migration is a much smaller component of population change than births and deaths in most countries and regions of the world. However, in some situations the contri bution of international migration to the change in population size or distribution is quite significant, in particular for countries and regions where the number of migrants who depart or a rrive, including refugees, is relatively large compared to the size of the sending or receiving population…
Large and persistent economic and demographic asymmetries between countries are likely to remain key drivers of international migration for the foreseeable future. Between 2015 and 2050, the top net receivers of international migrants (more than 100,000 annually) are projected to be the United States of America, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Aust ralia and the Russian Federation. The countries projected to be net senders of more than 100,000 migrants annually include India, Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, and Indonesia….
Great care is seemingly taken to avoid more precise estimates, to question such estimates in the light of current events, or to consider their implications. However the report does note that for the region which is the primary source of migrants to Europe (and for the age group most likely to migrate):
In Africa, the proportion of the population aged 25-59 is projected to continue to grow for many decades, from 35 per cent in 2017 to 45 per cent by 2090… Africa continues to experience very high rates of population growth. Between 2017 and 2050, the populations of 26 African countries are project ed to reach at least double their current size.
It is appropriate to note that current political and humanitarian debate focuses on immediate response to present crisis, which would otherwise be challenged by the legal concepts of “withholding aid to persons in need” and of “duty to rescue” — variously understood and defined (or not) in different countries. This merits exploration in the light of the understanding of past crimes against humanity — necessarily framed in terms of concrete proof from the past. Clearly there is little sensitivity to future crimes against humanity which may be engendered by “withholding action” in some manner.
The issue has been partially highlighted by the predicted implications of climate change, with many references to the Precautionary Principle (Jeroen P. van der Sluijs and Wim C. Turkenburg, Climate change and the Precautionary Principle, 2006). Analogous references to migration are rare by comparison, despite occasional arguments (Steve Sailer, The “Precautionary Principle” and Immigration Policy, The Unz Review: an alternative media selection, 13 March 2016; John Cairns, Jr., Immigration and the Precautionary Principle, Minnesotans for Sustainability, June 2001).
In a world of “fake news”, any statistical data tend to be “massaged” in support of the mandate and world view of the agency providing those statistics. This is especially the case with the UN Population Division which is under considerable pressure to avoid presenting any data suggesting that increasing global problems of any kind may be significantly driven by unconstrained increase in population. Equivalent pressures are to be expected with respect to data collected and presented by European statistical agencies with policies explicitly framed by Christian religious values. Statistical methologies tend to be indetectably confused with political agendas.
The difficulty at this time is that many acts undertaken “innocently” in the past, inspired by such religious values, are now considere questionable, if not condemned as criminal. This is most notably the case with regard to some colonial policies and the practice of slavery. The same may become the case in the future with respect to acts of omission undertaken “innocently” at the present time — at the G20, for example.
Will failure to address the strong probability of future humanitarian disaster come to be recognized in its own right as a crime against humanity — and specifically with respect to those of future generations who will die as a consequence? Will the blinkered righteous humanitarian focus on the tragedies of the present then be justified as “mitigating circumstances“? No question of “gross negligence“?
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