Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future

Book Review – From Amazon

This is a book of bold ambitions ably fulfilled. Mr. Goldin and his co-authors offer a history of migration, from man’s earliest wanderings in Africa to the present day. . . . After filling in the historical background, the authors give a rigorous but readable guide to the costs and benefits of modern migration. — “The Economist

An essential read . . . the authors’ arguments are buttressed by a deep understanding of the past, a comprehensive engagement with the present, and a clear vision of the future. — Sarah Hackett, Times Higher Education

In Exceptional People, the authors carry out an even-handed assessment of the costs and benefits of international migration.  They find that all involved–the countries that receive immigrants, those that send them, and immigrants most of all–prosper when movement across borders is allowed without hindrance.  Anti-immigration campaigners who consult Exceptional People will encounter hard-to-refute arguments that favor free movement; advocates of open borders will find in the book the data and reasoning they need to fortify their case. — Karunesh Tuli, ForeWord Reviews

Goldin’s conclusion is that western governments should simply accept the inevitable and open their borders, in line with economic demand–albeit within the framework of some pan-national treaty and institution. After all, as he points out, it is odd that there is no global body to oversee the movement of people, as there is with finance and trade.  If that liberalization occurred, he thinks it would deliver an ‘economic boost as high as $39,000bn over 25 years’. More surprisingly, he also argues that a ‘tipping point’ will be reached soon, which could shift the political debate.  As world population levels stabilize in the next 50 years, a global labor shortage could prompt fierce competition for migrants. — Gillian Tett, Financial Times

Exceptional People is an absorbing study albeit academic.  It strongly advocates the need to establish a global migration agenda and clearly shows that the advantages of migration far outweigh the disadvantages: Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future. — “Arab News

Exceptional People is an excellent book. It would make a great addition to readings lists for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses dealing extensively with migration.  Its wide scope will provide plenty of ideas for new academic projects, and its conclusions invite reflection and further discussion. — Chris Minns, EH.net

Migratory movements have been a persistent component of the human condition, and motivation for migration has varied considerably over time and with respect to the world’s constantly shifting political and economic realities. This excellent book provides a broad history of migration. . . . Required reading for anyone interested in the future implications of this most compelling of human activities. — “Choice

Book Description

Throughout history, migrants have fueled the engine of human progress.  Their movement has sparked innovation, spread ideas, relieved poverty, and laid the foundations for a global economy. In a world more interconnected than ever before, the number of people with the means and motivation to migrate will only increase.Exceptional People looks at the profound advantages that such dynamics will have for countries and migrants the world over. Challenging the received wisdom that a dramatic growth in migration is undesirable, the book proposes new approaches for governance that will embrace this international mobility.

The authors explore the critical role of human migration since humans first departed Africa some fifty thousand years ago–how the circulation of ideas and technologies has benefited communities and how the movement of people across oceans and continents has fueled economies.  They show that migrants in today’s world connect markets, fill labor gaps, and enrich social diversity.  Migration also allows individuals to escape destitution, human rights abuses, and repressive regimes.  However, the authors indicate that most current migration policies are based on misconceptions and fears about migration’s long-term contributions and social dynamics.  Future policies, for good or ill, will dramatically determine whether societies can effectively reap migration’s opportunities while managing the risks of the twenty-first century.

A guide to vigorous debate and action, Exceptional People charts the past and present of international migration and makes practical recommendations that will allow everyone to benefit from its unstoppable future growth.