Sunday, April 13, 2008

For Filipinos At Home and Overseas

There is a dearth of scholarship about the Philippines in IR. But when it comes to the globalisation of labour movements, we are a star. Heaps upon heaps of free publications in the ILO website. Don't stick to that web page alone. Explore!

Here is an excerpt of the paper I'm working on at the moment. Enjoy.

This paper seeks to examine the dynamics of today’s human movements within the context of globalisation. Globalisation is here broadly defined as a set of processes which embodies a transformation in the spatial organisation of social relations and transactions - generating flows and networks of activity and modifying the exercise and loci of power. Its dimensions include a stretching of social, political and economic activities across frontiers, an intensification of interconnectedness, a speeding-up of global interactions and a magnified impact of distant events to local ones. These ‘flows’ include people, symbols and information across space and time. ‘Networks’ are the regularised or patterned interactions of agents.

The first part explores the theoretical frameworks within which migration today is studied and interpreted. Also, what are the various socio-economic determinants of human movements today? The second part frames migration within the context of the globalisation of production. As the more mobile factors of production, i.e. capital, globalised, was there a consequent pressure for labour to ‘go global’ as well?

Thirdly, what are the political implications of migration today? It will be shown that while the logic of contemporary capitalism generates pressures for people to migrate, it must necessarily engage the socio-cultural and political ‘discreteness’ of nation-states. The notions of ‘identity,’ ‘citizenship’ and ‘justice’ become increasingly problematic as the ‘national’ becomes more fluid. In contrast to the regulation of other kinds of flows – capital, ideas (intellectual property rights), commodities and certain forms of services, why has labour movement become difficult to include in the World Trade Organisation’s regime? Or indeed, in any other kind of multilateral agreement? At what cost do societies today forgo such regulation? And what has happened to the ‘boundaries’ of social justice?

Lastly, we examine the impact of labour movements on development. Remittances increasingly become important capital flows. According to World Bank estimates, migrants sent $150 billion in remittances to their country of origin in 2004, reflecting an increase of fifty percent in only five years. What are the developmental impacts of such external financial sources to local development? Are they a form of compensation for human capital losses of those emigrating? And what of the impact of ‘brain drain’, the transfer of skilled human capital from developing countries to industrialising ones?


beatrixpg said...

Contrary to the sorts of analysis that tend to misguide, globalization has not removed strictures on labor flows. The popular use of the term "globalization" in public discourse has virtually created an impression of a cross-sectoral, cross-border, cross-regional scope of exchange that characterizes itself as control-free. Looking at the picture of market-driven migrations or "labor forces in transit," I notice volumes of people that are able to slip into labor markets abroad despite existing and intensifying crackdowns on the influx of labor. This is a snapshot of labor-surveillance carried out in varying degrees and modes of control. Perfect examples of nations that regulate labor-entry would be Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the United States, Japan, UAE, etc, etc. That a gulf in wealth-creation separates the OECD nations from developing economies is too obvious to need emphasis. What has rarely been stressed in critiques of globalization is the fact that although stark wealth and market imbalances do propel migrations, the official policies that institutionalize free-flows of capital and commodities do not institutionalize the free-flow of labor. Madaya right? And wherever domestic labor policies allow for a manageable degree of immigrant hiring, such as in the US, you will notice that wages barely increase. Lalong mas madaya diba and ethically vexing? A locally based industry that consumes cheap labor commodities like immigrants is able to make more gains. Herman Daly has pointed this out, so have Ernesto Pernia in a paper on remittances and Asia Time's Online's Henry CK Liu in his proposal for a global labor cartel.

Forgive me for butting in.

sparks said...

Yeah, the research says there hasn't been an increase of migrant workers in rich countries for the past two decades. Migration policies have actually become more restrictive and selective. The only asset we poor countries have to offer are unskilled workers...and they are generally not welcome. The wage differentials between rich and poor has increased from 10 percent to 60 percent...fuelling people's desires to move where they will make more money. But only people like us are welcome. The poorest of the poor are hopeless.

erasmusa said...

i'm most interested in your recommendations in the last part of the paper. remittances have not exactly encouraged development by way of investment.