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International migration has had a considerable impact on the Asian Pacific nations. At the level of society and the economy, massive population displacements have played a perhaps defining role in shaping much of the countries in the area into their modern form. And current trends suggest that history and demographics have combined to make migrants one of the most important actors in shaping the future in the world’s most economically dynamic region.
International migration, A first approximation to the recent population evolution in Asia-Pacific would certainly give the impression that it is the most propitious place for the materialization of a Malthusian scenario, since in recent years the number of inhabitants has expanded by leaps and bounds, reaching almost two billion people (this, not including the Indian subcontinent). That such a demographic explosion has not caused a humanitarian disaster of capital proportions, but rather was accompanied by a general increase in living standards (with exceptions, as in the case of North Korea), is largely due to to economic transformations in which labor migration has been an important factor.
To understand the importance of migratory flows in the conformation and progress of Asian economies, the testimony of recent experience is eloquent: with the possible exception of Singapore, each of the processes of accelerated economic development in the region, of the miracle Japanese at the take off of the original dragons, was immediately preceded by large movements of migrants. As for Japan, the second postwar period forced the return of its expatriate nationals in the expansive wave of the militaristic empire. For their part, armed conflicts sent waves of refugees to Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong, which were assimilated with successful effects on their economies.
Recognizing the role of history as a guide, this work addresses some of the most relevant aspects of the migratory phenomenon in the Far East, and in particular in Southeast Asia, in order to weigh the cyclical and structural characteristics that suggest the articulation of certain areas in the economies of the area to function, in practice, as an integrated labor market.