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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely, comprehensive, thought-provoking
The title of this book is a playful and thought-provoking bait to any reader looking for a collection of biographies of famous or notorious celebrities, geniuses or leaders. Instead we are encoraged to invert a common perception of immigrants as a threat or burden to the territory they enter, to see them rather as significant net contributors to wealth. The book seeks to...
Published 19 months ago by Ian T. Webber

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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and disappointing at the same time
Finally a book on migration from academics instead of politicians or racists. It looks very academic. Yes, lots of facts, well documented and lots of references. But in many ways it's rather a plea for the capitalist benefits that migrations may have. The book is interesting for those who love history and can have a bit of politically biased views. But it's weak for the...
Published on 14 July 2011 by H. V. Gael


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timely, comprehensive, thought-provoking, 15 Sep 2012
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Ian T. Webber "Umfundi" (CA, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future (Paperback)
The title of this book is a playful and thought-provoking bait to any reader looking for a collection of biographies of famous or notorious celebrities, geniuses or leaders. Instead we are encoraged to invert a common perception of immigrants as a threat or burden to the territory they enter, to see them rather as significant net contributors to wealth. The book seeks to bring a broad historical and current economic perspective to one of the most politically sensitive issues of our age. Its scope embraces arguments about globalization, demographics, and justice.

The first part is a gallop through world history with an emphasis on the key role human migration has played to the extent that it is almost impossible to postulate a civilized and advanced world without it. It is arguable that there are important qualitative differences between the early diffusion of human groups over thousands of years and more recent migrations. These chapters choose to highlight the economic and cultural progress flowing from migration, but play down the destructive aspects of conquest and colonization.

The second section of the book focuses on the modern era particularly on government policies that have gone back and forth and often seemed to embody contradictory elements. Much attention is given to the varied attempts to regulate migration in the past 50 years or so. The costs and benefits of migration to both the migrants themselves and the receiving communities are analyzed with the conclusion that there is a substantial net benefit to both. There is an "unleashing" of productivity that results. Of course this is an overall and longterm result, and may not be a comfort to some who do not prosper.

The third part of the book is aimed at the future. Recommendations are based not only on the general productivity argument but also a short-term solution to the needs of aging populations in the many parts of the world. This promises offers a viable medium term reining in of dependency ratios but merely postpones the more difficult problem of longterm worldwide senescence, which cannot sustainably be served by high birth rate enclaves.

In summary this book provides a comprehensive examination of economic effects of migration. Readers who weigh specific cultural forms or consanguinity as much as the general economic good may not be swayed. For those who wonder about economic arguments that migration is generally "bad for jobs" or tends to create poverty and exploitation, this book presents firm evidence against those results. On the contrary less restrictive policies would allow more "exceptional people" to contribute to the wealth and culture of the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional book, 16 Dec 2011
This is an excellent rebuttal to those who think that immigrants steal jobs from the native-born and make things worse for the places they move to. Goldin and co don't dismiss or play down any of the evidence that contradicts their conclusions. But they make a compelling case that the advantages of allowing people to live more or less where they please vastly outweigh the costs. People who enjoy this book would probably also enjoy Robert Guest's "Borderless Economics", which tackles the same themes with more anecdotes and on-the-ground reporting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you ever emigrated in your life - then you may enjoy this study on why others emigrate, 28 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future (Paperback)
I lived in 4 countries by now and I am an engineer - not an economist or a sociologist. I did most of the immigration work by myself - not with the help of big multinational companies.

I enjoyed reading this book because it gave me a better understanding why other people emigrate and what countries could do to help immigrants. The history aspect also fascinated me. I suspect that also other readers with a similar background that moved around and lived in other countries would find some of the material stimulating. The future of immigration and proposed policies rang true to me.

In 2012 it often seems to me that the nation states want to scale back on immigration and the tide is turning more and more against free movement. If you are an immigrant, and want to have a few good arguments for immigration in your next discussion, then you will find lots of material in this book.

I need to point out that if you are coming from outside the field of economics or sociology you will need to put in an effort to understand the material - it is not an easy read
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and disappointing at the same time, 14 July 2011
By 
H. V. Gael (Brussels, Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Finally a book on migration from academics instead of politicians or racists. It looks very academic. Yes, lots of facts, well documented and lots of references. But in many ways it's rather a plea for the capitalist benefits that migrations may have. The book is interesting for those who love history and can have a bit of politically biased views. But it's weak for the economists among us. When it comes to economical statistics and research, the book is very weak and even biased (unfounded or out of context conclusions, pushing the editor's views). If you want to know how much richer or poorer a nation becomes thanks to (im)migration, how the costs and benefits are to be calculated and who profits most of it under which circumstances, ... then forget this book.
People move because they are forced to or because in search of a better life, not just for fun (for that, read a book on tourism). The plight of these migrants seems to be of a lower importance than the financial benefits that others (business, nations) can extract from them. In short: nice reading for sociologists. Waste of time for economists.
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