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Tuesday, 1 December 2009, 12:00AM
Museum of London

Refugees, economic migration and the future of the world economy

Nigel Harris

In the 1990s, the advanced economics appeared no longer self-sufficient in labour supplies. Without permanent mechanisms to recruit workers (or students) from the rest of the world, economic growth could be threatened - or the labour force would be overwhelmed by foreign workers working illegally. In the late 1990s, the inflow of irregular migrants - to meet strong labour demand - reached levels that wrecked the refugee system. In the popular mind, the adjective "bogus" became indissolubly cemented to the noun "asylum-seeker". The intelligentsia is most often a primary target for assault when social orders break down. Its social role is so fundamental for society, and yet depends on transferring culture and skills into each society, that authoritarian governments must control it or liquidate it. The breakdown in the refugee system is, as a consequence, a catastrophe for academic refugees. CARA is one of the few organisations devoted to helping them in flight.

nigel-harris

Policy Consultant to World Bank and UNDP on the urban environment, and Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts UK Migration Commission. Nigel Harris is an economist and specialist in Urban and Economic Development and the Economics of Migration. He is Emeritus Professor of the Economics of the City at University College London. Formerly Research Fellow at the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta; Deputy Director at the Centre for Urban Studies, UCL; Research Fellow at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford and Director of the DPU 1982-89.

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1 December 2009

Refugees, economic migration and the future of the world economy
Nigel Harris

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