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Migration in a Globalized World Economy
by Rene Wadlow
2018-12-18 09:49:45
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The  present era of globalization of the economy is not new, but as a term and also as an organizing concept for policy making, it dates from 1991 and the formal end of the Soviet zone of influence which had some of the structures of an alternative trading system.

imm001_400Earlier, dating from the 1970s the term used was "interdependence".  The emphasis was on economic relations but there was also some emphasis on cultural and political factors.  In a July 1975 speech, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who had an academic  background and kept himself informed of theoretical trends said "All of us - allies and rivals, new nations and old nations, the rich and the poor  - constitute one world community.  The interdependence on our planet is becoming the central fact of our diplomacy... The reality is that the world economy is a single global system of trade and monetary relations on which hinges the development of all our economies.  An economic system thrives if all who take part in it thrive."

Interdependence was to help build a world society based on equality, justice, and mutual benefit.  As Secretary Kissinger said the need was "to transform the concept of world community from a slogan into an attitude."

Interdependence was to be articulated into policies leading to disarmament, peaceful change, improved welfare especially for the poorest and respect for human rights.  However, in practice the continuing U.S.A.-USSR tensions, questions of access to oil especially in the Middle East and the difficulties of establishing rules and controls for the world trade system kept "interdependence" as a slogan and not as a framework for policies and decisions of major governments.

The term "globalization" has progressively replaced that of "interdependence" The concept of globalization continues the interdependence focus on global economic linkages but adds an emphasis on the organization of social life on a global scale and the growth of a global consciousness.  Global consciousness is the essential starting point of world citizenship.  Globalization is a socio-economic process in which the constraints of geography on social and cultural patterns recede and in which people become increasingly away that these geographic constraints are receding.

The rapid pace of globalization requires that research and practice keep up with the speed of changes in order to reduce unnecessary risks and to provide legitimacy and confidence in the world system.  However, within the world society - as within national societies - there are many different interests.  At the world level, there are not yet the web of consensus-building techniques found in public and private institutions at the national level.

There were recently two intergovernmental conferences being held at the same time which indicated the possibilities and the difficulties of reaching agreement among most of the States of th World: COP 24 held in Katowice, Poland devoted to issues of climate change and the conference on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, held in Marrakech, Morocco.

The COP 24 had the advantage of building on the 2015 Paris Climate Accord and on the serious scientific research carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  The Katowice conference was to develop a common system of rules, reporting and measurement for the Paris  Climate Accord.  This "rule book" was largely accomplished. A sub-theme was to show that the international spirit which had led to the Paris Agreement was still alive and well despite criticism and a lack of visible progress.

wc00The Global Compact for Save, Orderly and Regular Migration is the first of its kind, although there are earlier agreements on the status of refugees. In many countries, there has been sharp debates on immigration policy - often with more heat than light.  Some States have already indicated that they will not sign the Compact even though it has been repeatedly pointed out that the Compact is not a treaty and thus not legally binding.  The Compact sets out aspirations and strengthens some of the processes already in practice.  The representatives of some States which signed indicated that they will be "selective" in the processes which they will put into practice. 

There was an agreement to hold a review conference in 2022. There is a growing tendency in inter-governmental treaties to set a review conference every four or five years to analyze implementation and the changing political and economic situation.

The Association of World Citizens has been stressing for some years the importance of migration issues.  Migration is likely to increase as climate changes have their impact.  Thus the Association of World Citizens calls upon Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to focus cooperatively and strongly on migration and the standards of the Global Compact.

 ****************************************

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens


    
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