The case for migration

I read this article and this book and of course they got me thinking.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my biggest problems with the Finnish immigration debate are twofold:

  • on one hand there is very little differentiation in what we see, hear and read in the media between people who came here for work, family or asylum and on what their adaptation process to society has been and,
  • on the other there seems to be no clear path in which a newcomer can eventually become a Finn, even if he/she (hän) is able to become a citizen at some point,
  • which of course means that newcomers are depicted as dangerous or at the very least lazy.

Furthermore, I watched the presidential debate of a couple of weeks ago, and I have to say I’m somewhere in between what current President Halonen and ex-President Ahtisaari mentioned: yes, people should be welcomed to come here and immigrants are a resource, but we shouldn’t make the same mistake Germany and Belgium did with their Gastarbeiter programmes of the 60’s.  Instead, we should be aware that first and foremost an immigrant is a person, and should strive to continue building our society(ies) together (after all, some of them might have invested a lot of themselves into their new place of residence after living there for some time, right?).

Therefore, it was very interesting to read Mr. Legrain’s book (for a good overview of his ideas, you can check out this interview at the Freakonomics blog).  Even though I wouldn’t go so far as propose to open all borders indiscriminately, he does touch into quite a few interesting points regarding why the current system doesn’t work, what the current situation is and what do countries and immigrants need to do to adapt to each other, rightly pointing it’s a two-way street.

Let’s see how the situation develops with the precarious economic situation.

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2 thoughts on “The case for migration”

  1. Very good post, Chivas Congelado.

    Indeed, Finland needs immigrants to freshen up its workforce and boost its economy. But as you said, Suomi does not want to be in the shoes of the Germans, for example. Declaring open borders is welcoming cultural conflicts with open arms. This is already a big challenge for the finnish government, and demands much more than simply passing on new policies. However, it seems to me that the biggest problem for Finland is to acommodate Finns and foreigners peacefully. It demands a change in values and principles of both Finns and non-Finns. But this takes a long time. Can the economy wait for that?

    Mateus’s last blog post..Who are the culprits?

  2. Obrigado Mateus. Accomodating Finns & foreigners as such is not a problem, integrating both into a working society does require first recognition that it needs to be done and then a lot of work, education and good will in order to happen.

    chivacongelado’s last blog post..The case for migration

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