To some, the very word ‘migration’ generates fear, suspicion and even hatred. But according to Felix Marquardt, author of the acclaimed The New Nomads, we need to look afresh at our notions of the mass movement of people around the world. Far from being abnormal, he claims, the act of going in search of a better life is at the core of human experience. Since the age of the hunter-gatherers, migration has been the most effective means of education, emancipation and empowerment known to humanity. And today, as the world falls increasingly prey to nativist and political polarisation, migration is the surest way to break down barriers and find personal and political emancipation.
That’s the argument that Marquardt made in this special Intelligence Squared event. But according to author David Goodhart, it epitomises the wrongheaded worldview of the global elites who know nothing about the harm mass migration causes to communities on the ground. Rich countries ransack the best and brightest talent of poorer ones leading to brain drain and inequality. And national solidarity is eroded as towns and cities are changed unnervingly fast by inflows of migrants with different cultures and values.
Does the world need more or less mass migration?