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Migration, Economics and the Eurozone

by Metatone Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 08:23:03 AM EST

Recently, we've had lots of discussions about Eurozone imbalances, with Migeru pointing out that without investment in the productivity of workers in countries like Spain, the imbalances are destined only to return - no matter what temporary solutions are found in the next few months.

This brought my mind back to an occupation from the boom days, when I (and I think many at ET) could see the world economy heading towards some kind of finance system "iceberg" but we didn't have a good handle on the impacts.

Back then, I was looking at the patterns of migration, inside the UK and inside the reunified Germany - and wondering what it all meant. I still don't know what it "means" in some ways, but the Eurozone experience has added to the picture...

front-paged by afew


I think it's plausible to treat a single currency area (with the EU single market rules) as very similar to a single country. From there, we can compare to experiences in the UK and Germany to get a view on what the pressures at work are - and the likely result.

Underlying pressures

So what do I mean by "underlying pressures" - essentially, the economic pressure of a market system inside a currency zone, operating across regions which do not have either the political or cash power to use policy as a counterbalancing force. I do not want to present this as "historical inevitability" - by far the greatest lack is the lack of political will and even a short discussion on ET generates solutions. These tides can be modified and resisted - but we should understand that the tides are made very powerful by the current economic consensus.

It's worth noting in passing here, perhaps, that part of what makes these underlying pressures seem so obviously inhuman in the context of the Eurozone is that it is a major currency area that covers many languages and cultures. I use the word "inhuman" on purpose, because the economic logic is only partly flawed (there are concerns about the long term) - rather it is the human cost that really made me write this piece.

Pieces of the puzzle

So what are the forces at work here?

Note: this is a short to medium term analysis and will speak of many things as "zero sum games." This is not true in the long term, but we need to recognise that in the short to medium term, many changes in industrial configuration occur in a zero sum fashion.

A) The "exogenous" economic situation. In effect, is there a booming outside world? (Or set of technological advances or natural resources propelling the internal economy?)

Simply put, since we're not in some "happy days are here again" situation, every economic adjustment, every migration is more painful and closer to a zero sum game in the short term.

B) Economic geography and clustering. Krugman got a Nobel for this, but he was building on many years of observation. Industries begin somewhere, often because of the location of "natural resources" or "trade routes" or "infrastructure" - and these often become clusters where the industry finds efficiencies in concentrating.

C) Cluster competition - here I'm going to make some assumptions, which I'm open to discussing in the comments, but I don't think they are unreasonable. In the short to medium term, clusters draw in both companies and workers from inside the country or regions. The cluster's economic success is dependent on (A) above and (C) which is the competition with similar clusters in other countries. Clusters can grow, shrink or even be destroyed depending on their performance relative to competition from outside the zone.

D) Rise of the city and then the "megacity." For "knowledge industries" (a contested term - perhaps better to say "white collar work") observation shows that clusters still occur, but beyond historical accident they are located alongside cities with universities and amenities that attract people to live and learn in the area. Alongside this, cities have economic efficiency on their side in general - it's generally easier to provide infrastructure to a gathered population - and the sheer presence of the gathered population creates an easier market for the development of new service businesses in particular. This is not a new development, in Europe the big boost to city population of the Industrial Revolution is very old news. However, the technological rise of the "megacity" implies that smaller cities will lose out more than ever to the bigger ones - and that has big implications for the Eurozone.

Putting the puzzle together.

Once, in a very old ET diary, I pondered whether areas like the North of England (where I'm from) and Eastern Germany had any long term future - or were they destined to return to rural backwaters. After years spent interfacing with Regional Development efforts in Yorkshire, I personally gave in and moved to London. Overall, I think that personal decision reflects my best guess about how the puzzle comes together.

At a meta level, both Eastern Germany and the Northern half of England represent very similar stories. Heavy industry and manufacturing became established for a variety of reasons - mostly natural resources - in times gone by. The new situation is that those industry clusters have largely been destroyed (not completely - but enough to put many people out of work) by foreign competition. In both cases, we were able to observe an immediate, large migration effect, because the downfall of the clusters was very sharp due to political effects. Reunification instantly rendeded East German industry less competitive - likewise in the UK, political decisions to change trading rules and tariffs led to mass closures of coal, steel and other plants in a very short time period.

The first reaction was an instant wave - anyone with the skills to get a job elsewhere, they went and got one. The second was a slower one as the support firms started to fail. The light industrial sector that served the bigger firms didn't die the day the heart was ripped out of the cluster, because many of them had other customers. However, over time, they either migrated to another cluster (sometimes not too far away) or lost out to foreign competition too. The third wave is of the young people. Those coming out of education with skills (even from good universities) were much more likely to migrate because the local economy was on the skids.

Of course, local people and local politics were not completely dead. Various efforts at redevelopment have been made. EU money in particular came into my part of Yorkshire. However, private money flowed more to the thriving clusters of finance and services in London and the South East. The economic logic almost always favours investment in an existing cluster.

It's about 25 years since the clusters of the North of England were dismantled. And 20 years since German reunification. That's a good amount of time to come to some judgements about the longer term effects.

The regions in question are not empty and they remain part of the national economy. People live their lives - fewer have jobs than in other regions, but there is an economy, with people working and earning. However, the populations are down, in some areas still declining, in others just about stabilised at a lower level. Despite attempts at regeneration, there seems no reason to believe clusters of the size and importance of before will arise. Smaller, high-tech clusters, particularly around old, established universities exist and each city has done better than the surrounding region at holding on to some talent. Still, there's no question that the cities suffer by comparison to those in other areas with surviving clusters. Talent moves from the North to the London and South East belt where big companies still have facilities and various industry clusters are thriving.

I can write in more detail about the North of England in the comments, if desired - and others can help fill out details of Eastern Germany. But I think the broad brush is enough for us to move on to the Eurozone.

Eurozone, Economics and Migration

It is my contention that the Eurozone and single market creates the economic logic of a country across the zone. Thus, we should expect patterns of investment vs migration to follow the same cluster based model. In effect, whole regions of Europe will be relatively depopulated. Wherever existing industrial clusters are strongest, whichever cities seem historically positioned to become megacities (in part because of their relationship with existing industrial clusters) - these areas will draw people in.

The people will come from the zones where industry has been shrunk by competition outside the zone - low end manufacturing is an obvious one, rural zones are likely another.

I am saying that there will be no real investment in the productivity of workers outside of existing clusters. I am saying that the experience of 30 years in the UK is that clusters cannot easily be rebuilt inside a single market. I am saying that we will see migrations on a large scale.

We're seeing the migrations out of Greece, but the talent drain from Spain and Italy (for example) has only just begun. We can expect certain industries to survive and even prosper, but those that compete (for example) with the German manufacturing cluster (and the hinterland out to Eastern Europe) are destined to shrink. There is no business case to invest in the productivity of Spanish general manufacturing, because the bigger cluster has greater potential. And the single market rules make it very difficult to attract investment through local policy.

And what about the long term, will new clusters arise? History is a cycle after all. If the Eurozone and single market rules change, countries could be more like countries again and nurture local industries.

Absent that, the long term prospects for Southern Europe depend on Africa - the development of trade could produce reasons to relocate some functions. Beyond this, the hope lies in the randomness of new technologies. Maybe the next breakthrough in energy comes at a southern university and a new industry is born? That seems a vague hope though.

Display:
This diary is really an "essay" in the sense of an attempt to understand something. It's also Christmas, so I didn't reference much directly or fill out every argument. Maybe that can still make for some good discussion...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Sun Dec 25th, 2011 at 09:11:39 AM EST
The Eurostat Regional Yearbook 2011 came out earler this month and can be downloaded here.

Here's a regional net migration map from it for 2008 (UK and Belgium 2007). Unfortunately, it doesn't distinguish between need-motivated migration and place-in-the-sun retirement migration.

(The quality in the original pdf is poor.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Dec 26th, 2011 at 02:54:53 PM EST
That's 2008, before the crisis even hit the real economy or had time to affect the migration statistics.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 04:11:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the latest Yearbook.

From the first link beneath the map, population details can be seen for NUTS 2 and 3 regions for years 2009 and 2010. But net migration numbers are only available for whole countries:

From which it notably appears that Germany is seeing a turnaround from net emigration to net immigration. But in small numbers compared to an 82 million population.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 05:07:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The hard part in all of this is that there is still a huge economic gradient between the old East and the rest (not to mention Africa.)

The figures here show Italy growing and growing. My anecdotal evidence is that I know of whole families from Moldavia and Romania moving to Italy. But maybe there is another reason for the rise in Italy?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 05:29:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Metatone:
But maybe there is another reason for the rise in Italy?

the huge black economy, much run by the mobs. easy access, porous coastline. huge slave labour opportunities picking tomatoes, etc.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 08:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy also has a large, mostly undocumented, immigrant population from South America, Ecuador in particular.  Spain has the same.  In 2000, Ecuador's economy contracted by 1/3 as their financial system collapsed. Most of their migrants, almost 1/10 of the population had already immigrated to the US, but they were predominantly low-income indigenous migrants from rural mountain regions.  The crisis of 2000 sent another million migrants abroad, but these were urban, middle class migrants and they settled in Spain, Italy, and to a lesser extent in Germany, taking advantage of Spain and Italy's lax migration laws, and even lower enforcement, at the time.
by santiago on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 03:52:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, this is speculative - up until the crisis, just as wages were supplemented by borrowing, so regional economic pressures were disguised by (for example) the Spanish land and construction boom.

We'll only see the serious migration I predict if we have the "lost decade" as I expect. Migration in the EU is made harder by culture and language. The big migration from the East was propelled by a serious economic gradient.

Even now in Greece, the migration is relatively small in number, it's the talented and mobile who are leaving now... others will only follow as it gets so bad that it breaks the tie to "home."

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 05:20:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two articles about migration from Spain recently published in El Pais:

The exodus of Spaniards shoots up 36.6% due to the crisis

* 50.000 people emigrated this year
* One in three goes to the EU
So, we're talking about a trickle.

Also: Coming back costs €500

"Emigration is like bleeding out, but in individual terms it pays", says demographer Antonio Izquierdo. And it's no longer as it once was, according to this professor from the University of A Coruña. "Society has changed and the stereotyper of last century, the image of Spaniards boarding ships with a suitcase in A Coruña harbor. "Emigrating is no longer suicidal, or risky, or traumatic. The return ticket costs €500", he adds. "Spaniards go try their luck abroad, they are qualified and speak languages", he adds. Will they come back? It all depends on how things go in their country of destination and whether the situation in their homeland improves, experts say.


tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:01:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we look back to the 1930s in the USA, it will take at least a couple more years before, using Spain as an example, it becomes more than a trickle.

And if our "leaders" were to actually get us some hope and some stimulus, it may never be more than a trickle... but I do think there is a danger of "brain drain" over time...

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:12:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We'll know it's really bad when it's the people without "qualifications and languages" that emigrate.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See this chart. Immigration started dropping before 2009 and the drop is accelerating. Emigration (or migrant return) just changed trend this year. And this is the first year when the net balance is outwards from Spain.

We'll see how this plays out.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:26:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think a lot of these are naturalized Spaniards or even non-citizen immigrants, many undocumented, returning to their countries of origin, Ecuador for example.  Also the El Pais numbers don't seem to match up with the EU numbers provided above.
by santiago on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 03:58:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Curiously, in Spain the provinces losing population (in blue) included the Basque coast and Barcelona.

Most of Germany was also a net emigration area, with net immigration into Berlin. Munich, Bremen and Hamburg, Düsseldorf and the upper Rhein from Karlsruhe to Frankfurt.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 08:30:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Barcelona case it may be simply relocating to the provinces near to it, since the building boom means there were better oportunities there, and communications had become better. Lots of people form the metropolitan area sold they smallish flats to go to familiy houses in the provinces near to Barcelona.

res humą m'és alič
by Antoni Jaume on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 12:46:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
See Eurostat Wiki: Population change at regional level.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 04:15:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pretty dense reading.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 05:10:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's fair to say from reading the section on migration that if nothing else, we can see in the 2008 figures an ongoing move towards capital city regions...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 05:23:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Movement from the rural regions into the cities in Ireland - the blue bits are Dublin, Galway and Cork, basically.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:40:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder whether we can identify the migration attractors in that map with the Large population centres of the EU either in the metropolitan or the LUZ definition.

It would appear to be easier to do that North of the Alps where there is a lot of NUTS regions with net emigration in 2008.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 09:33:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This Eurostat table can cover most of them.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 10:04:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The map I copied above is much clearer in the Wiki.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 05:45:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes... I'll have to get the atlas out and look at the regions more closely...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:27:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is migration a bad thing?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:25:56 AM EST
Not inherently bad...

I do think there are long term questions about solidarity though. And about the holding capacity of land and sewerage.

But most of all it's not always a "natural phenomenon" sprung out of nowhere - and I am trying to think about how much current Eurozone economic policies encourage it in particular directions.

And of course, who are the winners and losers.

As someone who lives in the UK and is solidly (for now) in the middle class, the migration of E. European workers has basically been all good for me. But for others?

Likewise, for the immigrants, many have established happy lives. So that's good. But what does it do to those left behind?

And if all this is a result of policy, could policy be done differently or better?

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:31:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Concentration is a natural economic process - as you point out yourself. The best you can do, short of planned economy, is either site big governments functions in the periphery or offer cash incentives.

As we've discussed before, nation states may be economically obsolete. A network of cities may be a better way of looking at the economy.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nation states may be economically obsolete, but not politically obsolete. The EU Council is populated by nincompoops who worry about "national champions" and see each other as economic competitors. There is no appetite for a "federal"-level "big government" with the level of funding necessary to make a dent in the concentration process...

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:45:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, that's the political problem.

But the underlying process won't be altered by their stupidity, just the side-effects will be worse.

Note that the Net may make things worse: I can work effectively (or as effectively as normal, anyway) in almost any major city. Not so much in the hinterlands where good connections are harder to get unless the government is trying very hard.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 06:50:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am seriously doubtful that we even want to make a dent in it -  metropoli are rich and have remarkably low ecological footprints per citizen, and are much more amenable to electrification and transition to rail of personal transport than more dispersed settlement patterns are - if we end up in a situation where everybody not actually directly working the land has relocated into a series of major urbanations linked up by highspeed rail, that is a pretty big win both for the economy and ecologically.
by Thomas on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 08:37:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
metropoli are rich and have remarkably low ecological footprints per citizen

Just within Spain, I wonder to what extent that's true. Madrid, for instance, has an ecological footprint 20 times its carrying capacity, but maybe that's because it has a "catchment" of 20 provinces around it - all of Castilla, basically - that it feeds off and which is relatively depopulated and has "ecological surplus". See my Spain is Unsustainable based on a report released 4 years ago.

Then again, in what makes them PIIGS Luis de Sousa pointed out that dependence on road transportation is one of the biggest drags on the "peripheral" EU economies. Madrid, though with a much more compact urban development pattern than other large European cities where low-rise buildings are the norm, has recently been developing on a muuch more car-centric model. But still the construction is at least 7 storey high.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 08:49:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Per citizen is the key. - the damage done to the landscape from the construction of a macmansion and a condominium is about the same - that piece of land is now dead. But the condominium houses an order of magnitude more people, and in addition, a well planned high-density urban landscape provides much greater space for cultural and economic activity - Exurbs dont support dance studios, cinemas, cafes, ect, ect, ect nearly as well as metropoli do. Thus the urbanization trend is one in which economic, hedonic, and ecological considerations all align, and the main political goal should be to facilitate what people want to do anyway (Ie: move to the big city) or at least not actively sabotage the beneficial trend. - so every time I see a politician propose some policy or other to artificially keep rural communities alive, I just go "arrgh". That is not good policy by any measure! let them empty out to the point where only farmers, foresters and tourguides still live there, and only because they are getting paid hardship pay to put up with being bored senseless.
by Thomas on Wed Dec 28th, 2011 at 01:16:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's no longer necessary to be bored senseless in the 'burbs, since Skype and the Internet are available there, and we have access to the brilliant conversation of Eurotrib.

Being packed into a pub or concert isn't glorious for many of us, who prefer to take their friendships close, quiet and personal.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sat Dec 31st, 2011 at 04:28:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although, again from the U.S. viewpoint, we originally had a confederated system similar to today's E.U., then went to a federal system because of the same sorts of problems the E.U. is experiencing today.

But then over time the power of the states has been gradually reduced, and we have gradually moved towards a single voting system. The change is gradual, but the 17th amendment to the Constitution, which changed how U.S. senators are elected, was a huge change to the system. Now there are calls for popular election of the President, which would be another huge step towards a single integrated country.

The E.U. is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution#First_government

by asdf on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 10:40:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The challenges I see are (some already mentioned by others in this thread):

  1. The precedents for migration during large economic upheavals (post Civil War movements in the USA, Okies and the like in the 1930s USA) are not happy ones for the people involved. And I don't think our politics is in good shape for that kind of disruption.

  2. The institutions of nation states remain defiantly in charge of policy. We don't have the political framework to actually ease this transition.

  3. The reason that migration is a trickle so far is that language is a big barrier. This "natural economic process" inside a currency zone is going to prove harder on people that it did inside a language zone.

All of which to say is, if we can be honest about the reality of concentration, we could act to address all of these challenges...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 12:30:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even lacking a large economic upheaval, migration is hard on families. It is not uncommon to have people here separated by thousands of miles, with families distributed to all corners of the country. At holiday seasons this becomes a significant consideration, because of the economic and social costs (namely, time wasted and hassles endured) of travel. Aged family members who cannot easily travel suffer the most.
by asdf on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 01:10:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I also forgot to say explicitly that if we see large scale migration from Southern Europe into (for example) an economically strong Germany, I'd guess that in the current political climate there will be a big backlash against free movement of people in the zone...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 01:18:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For background, here is an interesting map for the U.S. that shows the net migration for any county in the country.
http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2011/migration.html

Map showing migration in and out of states.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_RwdH5DTKRas/TG_GhKDlc9I/AAAAAAAADR0/bHui58vD4Kc/s1600/state+to+state+migra tion+patterns.gif

Also one showing income change for each state due to migration.
http://www.taxfoundation.org/UserFiles/Image/migration_large.png

It would be interesting to compare the number of inter-state migrants in the U.S. to the number in the E.U.

by asdf on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 10:33:53 AM EST
It would be good to see how migration are going in China, and more generally in the BRICs

res humą m'és alič
by Antoni Jaume on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 12:41:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who knows, China is historically a country where there's a popular uprising somewhere every few days or even every few hours during times of stress. Here is the latest indication of trouble in China.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 12:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've been reading Graeber....I think there were several decades where they averaged 2 per hour.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 01:15:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but along with that, from any historical perspective it's good to remember that China refers to the Chinese Empire - which in size and population tended to compare favorably to the Roman Empire.  The thing about China is that people kept putting the Chinese Empire back together, over and over, while the last successful integration of Western Civilization would have been the Ottoman Empire, which still didn't include Europe.
by Zwackus on Wed Dec 28th, 2011 at 08:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good piece.  I think it is useful to conceive of migration, meaning international migration, as a subset of the larger social phenomenon called "urbanization."  The history of capitalism is the history of people changing millenia-old ways of living in almost entirely self-sufficient rural households to massively interdependent societies built upon labor specialization.  Labor specialization allows for humans to dwell together, in greater levels of material prosperity in ever smaller spaces, like pieces in a Tetris game.  And markets for land and labor, and the political institutions that support them, provide a powerful means for "citizens" of cities to effectively cooperate together as single large entities, providing immense power to the groups we call cities over all other kinds of groups or individuals. The result is people actually moving physically in very large numbers where institutions can support those movements, as cities can. International migration statistics are likely capturing only a small part of the larger phenomenon of physical migration within countries as well.
by santiago on Tue Dec 27th, 2011 at 04:23:44 PM EST
Conversely, fruitful gatherings draw fruit flies, to set a metaphor.

I see no reason for densely packed cities to be much more than a golden opportunity for the governance elites to suck the populace dry.

Nancy Pelosi is worth 101 million dollars.

Align culture with our nature. Ot else!

by ormondotvos (ormond.otvosnospamgmialcon) on Sat Dec 31st, 2011 at 04:53:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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