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July 2022, Volume 28, Number 3

Global Migration

World leaders signed the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in 2018, and some participated in the first International Migration Review Forum held in May 2022 to review the progress that has been made to achieve the migration-related SDG goals. The GCM was spurred by the 2015-16 Syrian refugee crisis.

Governments at the IMRF highlighted the importance of migrants as essential workers, especially in food and health care systems, and noted that remittances to developing countries were almost $600 billion in 2021 despite closed borders and lockdowns. However, some developing countries complained that industrial countries are draining them of needed workers.

Much of the discussion focused on the problems of migrants, decrying the paucity of legal pathways for migrants seeking safety and opportunity, and calling on governments to do more to combat discrimination and xenophobia. Advocates called for integrating migrants into the communities where they live regardless of legal status, opening more pathways for legal migration and reducing migrant vulnerabilities.

Sustainable Development Goal 10.7 calls on governments to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. The discussion called on governments to offer “migrants at different skill levels and in different situations of vulnerability with opportunities for entry and stay “ in order to reduce irregular migration.

Migration from less to more developed countries averaged almost three million a year between 2015 and 2020.

Democracy. Francis Fukuyama in a 1992 book argued that the decline of communism marked the end of history, suggesting that western liberal democracy would spread globally. Samuel Huntington, by contrast, argued that was a clash of civilizations between western liberal democracy and autocracies and theocracies. Fukuyama believes liberal democracy is threatened by the identarian left that favors group over individual rights and the populist and nationalist right.

Fukuyama’s ideas were embraced by Davos man, the international elite who met every year in Switzerland at the World Economic Forum and embraced the free flow of goods, services, people and ideas that they though would lead to shared prosperity and peace. Davos 2022 was held in May rather than January due to covid, and was marked by doubts that shared prosperity leads to peace after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the reluctance of many rising powers to condemn Russia.

Most WEF participants continue to believe that an interconnected world offers the best hope for prosperity and peace, and they point to climate change, inequality and other issues as highlighting the need for more global cooperation. However, the Russian-Ukraine war threatens to create new power blocs that face off against one another, impeding flows of goods, energy, capital and people.

A record $28 trillion worth of goods were traded internationally in 2021, but there are warning signs that globalization could go in reverse. Russia could lose energy markets in Europe and become more dependent on China and other Asian countries to buy its natural resources.

Credit Suisse estimated that the world’s wealth was $278 trillion in 2022, including $106 trillion in the US, $64 trillion in China, $25 trillion in Japan, and about $14 trillion each in Germany, the UK, and France, so that 85 percent of the world’s wealth was in six countries.

Over 130 nations in Fall 2021 agreed to charge corporations a minimum tax rate of 15 percent and to charge tech and other firms in the country where they earn revenue rather than where they are based, which means that France and Germany could tax Google based on revenue earned inside their countries. Google would thus pay more taxes than it does under current practices, which place its IP in low-tax countries such as Bermuda or Ireland.

World GDP was $94 trillion in 2021. How much economic output was lost to corruption, defined as bribery, embezzlement, abuse of functions, trading in influence and illicit enrichment? The commonly cited figure that corruption reduces global GDP by two to five percent has no statistical basis. Instead, the two to five percent estimate emerged from a 2005 World Bank study that estimated global money laundering, not corruption.


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