The THEMIS conference, which took place in Oxford from 24-26 September, will be remembered as an excellent combination of a beautiful venue, smooth organisation, mostly good weather (never to be taken for granted in Oxford) and, most importantly of all, a wide range of scholars from around the world (139 participants from 28 countries) who presented their ideas and engaged in vibrant, critical and constructive dialogue. The conference was an open and stimulating environment for the free exchange of ideas, and robust but friendly debate.
The movement of highly skilled people is one of the most topical aspects of international migration. On the one hand, governments of more developed countries are implementing policies to attract the best and the brightest in an increasingly competitive market for skills, while on the other, many poorer countries, especially those already suffering from low levels of human capital, are deeply concerned about retaining their most skilled workers, whose absence would ultimately impinge upon their long-term economic growth and political development.
This continued emphasis, from poorer to relatively more wealthy countries, omits an important and understudied aspect of the phenomena however, namely skill transfer to non-OECD and in particular, emerging nations. Countries such as Russia, Ukraine, India and Pakistan attract large numbers of migrants, mostly from neighbouring countries and as a result of political events that changed national boundaries. As far as high-skilled (which we define as tertiary educated) migration is concerned, countries such as South Africa, the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council and some East Asian countries (e.g. Singapore or Hong Kong) are among the most important non-OECD destinations.
By Paul Dornan
Today (17 Oct) is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Yesterday was World Food Day (yes, another day) and my colleague Elisabetta Aurino highlighted the ways in which food insecurity is often presented in the media in very stark terms – too many people, too little food. But she went on to point out that per capita the global food supply has actually increased. The issue is rather more complex than some choose to acknowledge. Simple may be helpful, but simplistic isn’t. Continue reading
By Indrajit Roy
‘Improvement’ has provided a key trope for scholars studying development. Modernisation theorists – whether of Marxian or Weberian persuasions – assumed that the human condition can and must be improved. Against them, post-developmentalist theorists are more ambivalent about the possibility and even desirability of improvement.
Those who support the improvement focus believe that its trajectory may be predicted in advance and that all trajectories converge, meaning different societies should follow the early movers to take advantage of their lessons.
Those critical of the thesis insist that differences must be maintained. To them, the idea that improvement is possible only by emulating the early movers smacks of cultural imperialism and must be resisted.
Against this dichotomous framework, in a new paper in Oxford Development Studies I urge scholars to think about development not as improvement but as inhering in the social reclamation of human dignity.
Although the United Nations High-Level Panel on the future of the MDGs had rejected the idea of a goal to address income inequality, it has embraced on the debate about inequality – pushing for zero-based targets for some goals and routine disaggregation of data to measure progress. As ODI’s Claire Melamed put it neatly at the time, the inequality campaigners had lost the battle but won the war. Continue reading
By Hein de Haas
The disaster of the sinking of a boat on 3 October off the coast of Lampedusa, which cost the life to hundreds of refugees and migrants, has already led to calls for a ‘smuggling crackdown‘ among governments and international organisations. Over the past decade, this has been the usual reaction when such tragedies happen on the southern coasts of Europe.
Today, September 27, 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will launch its latest report to assess climate science. The release begins with the summary for policy-makers, which the member governments approved line-by-line during a meeting in Stockholm this week. The remainder of the report is scheduled to come out next Monday, when you should be able to download it here. Next year, it will be published as a book with Cambridge University Press: a chunky volume packed with facts and figures. And this is only the report from Working Group I, dealing with climate science. It will be followed by equally voluminous reports from Working Group II, on climate change impacts, and Working Group III, on adaptation and mitigation. Each report will be published as a 1,000-page volume, give or take a few hundred pages. Continue reading
By Dawn Chatty
The understanding of tribes in the contemporary Middle East has undergone significant changes over the past century; at times the tribes have been rendered invisible and at other times important partners in local governance. And although Bedouin tribes have been largely missing from contemporary political discourses, there is convincing evidence that in fact they never disappeared; they simply were not officially acknowledged.
Countries rich in coal, oil and gas emit more carbon dioxide to generate the same amount of economic output as countries where fossil fuels are scarce, according to research I have been carrying out with Oliver Inderwildi of the Smith School on what we call the “carbon curse”.
We find that Britain and Norway are the only two fuel-producing countries that have largely managed to avoid it. Continue reading
On a clear day in Morocco you can look across the Strait of Gibraltar and catch sight of the Spanish coast in the distance. Many Moroccan youth look to Europe with hope — they dream of migrating there for a better life, for opportunities to learn and to work, and to join friends and family who have gone before them. For some educated young women, going to Europe represents greater personal freedoms; it is also an escape for youth, from the boredom of everyday life and from diminished prospects for getting ahead at home.
I spent a year researching the way migration from a small Moroccan city is structured and challenged along gender and generational lines. Yet these dreams of migration are not peculiar to Moroccan youth. This year’s International Youth Day theme highlights migration as a common response to inequality experienced by youth in low-income countries. Continue reading