migrant worker Abid Katib/Getty Images

The Migration Superpowers

Though much has been written about how a world on the move is changing national politics, there has been little consideration of its geopolitical effects. But the mass movement of people is already enabling countries to benefit in three ways.

LONDON – We have entered the age of migration. If all the people who live outside the country of their birth united to form their own – a republic of the rootless – it would be the fifth-largest country in the world, with a population of more than 240 million people.

Though much has been written about how a world on the move is changing national politics, there has been little consideration of its geopolitical effects. But the mass movement of people is already creating three types of migration superpowers: new colonialists, integrators, and go-betweens.

The new colonialists call to mind the settlers from Europe who spread across the world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, benefiting not just themselves, but also their homelands. Similarly, the most mobile populations of the twenty-first century are helping their countries of origin obtain access to markets, technology, and a political voice in the world.

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