Saturday, 5 September 2015

Migrants and Refugees

A few articles and videos worth sharing

These articles provide a rather unique perspective, which is sympathy for the refugees and migrants who have made such a harrowing journey while realising that the only practical way to stop the crisis is to stop the boats and thereby stop the nasty business of people smuggling, which is what the Australians did a few years ago

But this article asks a very important question: why aren't the Islamic Gulf states taking Syrian refugees?

It is indeed sad and abhorrent that Muslim refugees have to look outside of Dar al-Islam for refuge. Why are Europeans seemingly more welcoming? I don't want to talk about heartlessness but rather basic economic fact. It's like this:

1) Migrants  are of two kinds: migrants for jobs and migrants for welfare. Refugees are fleeing war, persecution, natural disaster etc., but wherever they end up, they will either be working or on welfare. It should be obvious that those who work (or even set up businesses) are a boon to the local economy; they provide goods and services that are in demand and if they set up businesses they will also provide jobs.

2) Providing goods and services and creating jobs has nothing to do with nationality or whatever funky writing one has on one's passport. Ink and pages is nothing but ink and pages. A car manufacturer benefits those who need cars. A barber benefits those who need haircuts. An Arabic teacher benefits those who want to learn Arabic. A doctor benefit the sick. There seems to be this fantasy in the Arab world (and maybe elsewhere) that a British passport holder will always benefit the British economy, with every transaction he makes, wherever in the world he may be. A Saudi passport holder will always help the Saudi economy; a Kuwaiti will always help the Kuwaiti economy etc. Therefore, if a migrant worker in a Gulf country sends money home (money that he has earned through voluntary trade), this is something to be horrified at,  but if a citizen of a Gulf country spends his holiday in America or Europe and presumably spends money earned in his home country, this is perfectly acceptable and draws no attention whatsoever, let alone criticism.

3) Goods and services are one and the same. If an English teacher in Morocco earns money and then goes back to the United Kingdom for a holiday with that money (or transfers that money home), that's not "foreigners taking money out of the country". That's a worker doing what he wants with his money, money that he earned from a voluntary, lawful transaction. Every time a Moroccan, Egyptian, Saudi, Qatari, Kuwaiti etc. buys a Ford Taurus, a Toyota Corolla, an iPhone, an MacBook etc, this is Saudi/Qatari/Kuwaiti etc. money going out of the country, is it not? In the case of the teacher, they get a service in return. In the case of cars, phones and laptops, they get goods in return. There's a word for this in English: trade. I don't think it's such a hard concept to grasp.

4) Illegal workers are never a harm to a country's economy. Because of their legal status, they can't claim welfare or engage in any other sort of parasitic activity. To get by, they have no choice but to provide goods and services that people demand, from cleaning and waiting tables to stacking shelves and fixing cars. Whatever they do, they have to meet people's demands or they can't stay. Their legal status is just ink and paper, like their passports. It has no bearing on reality. 

This is the basic economics of the matter. As for the more detailed economics, for example how skilled labourers from various Muslim countries could actually help Gulf countries diversify their economies, that's for another discussion.

As for the religious side of things, I think it's quite obvious. Why should Muslims look at other Muslims as if they were foreigners? Ideally, any law-abiding Muslim should feel welcome anywhere in Dar al-Islam. Faith is supposed to be thicker than blood.

And with Allah is every success.

No comments: