September 11, 2007
Does Migration Beget Freedoms?
Posted by David Zaring

Does globalization create races to the bottom or the top?  David Law suspects that in at least one area, the cycle is a virtuous one.  In his view, countries now “compete for financial capital and human talent is by offering bundles of rights and freedoms that are attractive to investors and elite workers.”   Moreover, he suggests that “states bid for elite workers by offering both pecuniary and non-pecuniary inducements that include more or less generous bundles of rights and freedoms. Countries that do not boast an attractive bundle of this kind must compensate by offering what this article calls a freedom premium, which amounts to a competitive disadvantage in the global market for human talent.”

Here’s Larry Ribstein on the paper, which I like lots.  It seems to turn on an idea that the migration of talented workers is both a) particularly widespread, in light of the advent of knowledge-related industries that depend on human talent, and b) a source of regulatory competition.  And while only 3%ish of the world has migrated from one country to another, and many of those who have left have gone to the Gulf, I find the claim to be plausible now, and likely to only become more accurate as more of the Ph.D.s minted in the west but hailing from elsewhere decide to stay where they have studied.

Here’s the WTO conference, attended by Pascal Lamy and keynoted by Jagdish Bhagwati, on regionalism (like the EU and NAFTA), a possible competitor to global markets.  Here’s what happened to one global corporation, TimeWarner, when one of its magazines dared to critique an Indonesian dictator.  And here, in honor of the day, is a comparison of sales figures between 9/11 fiction and nonfiction.

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