Migration – Emigration – Fleeing Make the world one large schengen zone
It was wonderful to speak with you over the phone earlier this week; it brought me back to the matter of our shared correspondence - and my delay in writing back to you.
This weekend, I was at a panel on migration - featuring Mark Terkessidis, a german journalist, Aladin El Mafaalani, a professor at FH Munster, and Vaiju Naravane, former Paris/Europe correspondent for The Hindu - where I pushed the panelists to offer some sort of vision on how to resolve this crisis.
Aladin came up with an interesting suggestion, where he suggested that one solution was to maintain borders, but open up the right to free movement completely - essentially, make the world one large schengen zone.
In the initial years, he said, there would be chaos - but only because everyone would assume that the borders would only be open for a limited time - rather than forever. So even those idly contemplating moving to another country, would decide to move immediately with their entire families - before the policy changed.
But in time - the theory goes - as people begin to realize that this open-borders policy is here to stay, migration would stabilise. People would figure they can go whenever they want, and so would put off travel until they are really sure. In many cases, one member of the family might choose to go first, find employment, build a life, and then get the rest of her family over. Those who failed at first, might choose to return home - knowing they can go abroad again in case they feel like.
In many ways, this theory is an extrapolation of the rural-urban migration model: In India, we see very similar patterns in the movement of people between cities and the village - people come, find work, set up a home and bring their families over. They return often to their homes to check on their parents, mark important festivals etc.
The problem, Aladin said, would be to think about how Europe's social security/healthcare system would deal with such flows. Nation States, as we often discuss, are designed for order and stasis.
The other problem, of course, would be to consider the social fallout of such a decision. Divisions between communities are deep and hard to bridge.
As I write to you, a section of people in the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have turned on each other. Bangalore - India's answer to Silicon Valley - is under curfew as angry protestors have burnt buses, blocked roads and forced businesses to shut down. There are reports that Tamilians in Karnataka have been attacked by mobs, and vice versa.
The reason for this rage is an argument over how to share the waters of the Cauvery, a river that begins in Karnataka and drains into the Bay of Bengal along the Tamil coast.
The Cauvery dispute, which has been simmering for decades, occasionally flowers into violence when either Tamil Nadu or Karnataka is forced to make a concession by an order from the Supreme Court.
So while the nation state, of course, is a big part of our problem, society too has begun fetishising order over disorder. As a first step, i think, we should all shift residence every few years - just to keep our minds fresh and our thoughts from atrophying.
I see that you have just made such a move - what is the news from Boston? tell me everything
New Delhi, 14th September 2016