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This event celebrates the publication of Immanuel Ness’s latest book, Migration is Economic Imperialism: How International Labour Mobility Undermines Economic Development in Poor Countries (Polity, 2023).
Ness, professor and chairperson for the Department of Political Science, is joined in conversation by colleague Corinna Mullen. In the book, Ness makes a sharp corrective to conventional wisdom by arguing that temporary labor migration represents the most recent form of economic imperialism and global domination. A closer look at the economic and social evidence demonstrates that remittances deepen economic exploitation, unravel societal stability and significantly expand economic inequality between poor and rich societies. The book exposes the damaging political, economic, and social effects of migration on origin countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and how border and security mechanisms control and marginalize low-wage migrant workers, especially women and youth. Ness asserts that remittances do not bring growth to poor countries but extend national dependence on the export of migrant workers, leading to warped and unequal development on the global periphery.