Religion, Globalization, Migration and Identity- Implications for Governance

In this age of hyper globalization, fueled by the new media revolution and multi-stakeholder multi lateral institutions such as the IMF (never mind what the IMF boss has done in NY)  or the ADB and the G20 club or regional clubs such as the ASEAN or the GCC, governance is no longer insulated at the nation-state strata, Its the age of the Market-State we are in where complex and coupled financial markets create havoc in some other part of the world than the place it is originating. Food Prices at commodity exchanges cause poverty to jump and deprivation to spread. The Sub prime crisis lead to a financial tsunami creating standards of living to plummet in industrialized nations.  The industrialized world is aging, China and India will reap the demographic dividend by 2030 when, economies will be ageing in the White World, where there wont be enough tax payers in the younger generation to foot the welfare state bills. The remedy to this is migration from the parts of the world where populations are in the working age groups.

Migration is a tricky issue always as it carries cultural and emotional baggage with every person who migrates. Cupatino in California has one of the highest Asian American ethnic populations as they are the talent engine driving silicon valley and the innovation architecture that builds a Apple, Google and a Microsoft. Hindus in America are next only to Jews in terms of median income and educational levels. A Rickky Haley and a Bobby Jindal are poster kids for the community. They build temples, community centres and faith schools and take a non semitic, Abrahamic culture in the American cultural landscape.

This has been a minor integration success story in comparison to the Arab American Community in Detroit or the massive Turkish German community, where 50 years of  contributing to the community is not enough for the German Government. Same is for France with the Hijab ban and the Swiss minaret ban does not help integration matters.  Immigration is Good, but it causes social implications because it creates displacement of jobs, cultural turbulence and a dilution of identity through mixed marriages. The rise of the far right in Europe is a testament to the uneasiness, that the whites towards immigrants. Its Islamophobia at its best, North African Immigrants have built post war France, Zinedine Zidane is an illustrious french citizen of north african decent- the World Cup Football legend. These challenges cause headaches for the secular inclusive ruling parties in Europe in terms of governance. Marie Le Pen, is a top far-right challenger to Sarkozy in next years prez polls in the light of Stratz Kahn new york en devours.

Demographic changes associated with migration cause electoral ramifications, in the recently concluded Singapore polls, some political commentators have suggested the 90.000 new citizens given nationality during the 2006-11 period played a role in tilted the balance in some closely contested seats. Immigration provides economic competitiveness, because, top class talent is globally mobile and the countries which attract them will a step ahead of the curve. Microsoft has a development hub in Vancouver across the border from its global HQ in Seattle in order to just circumvent, the HIB Visa regime in the US post 9/11 security regime.

Immigration and Identity in this era of hyper, turbo charged globalization 2.0 era is volatile, but things needs to be rationalized  and put in context when policy decisions are made, and not in the light of race inspired emotional impulse decision making. Its a new era, we need to brace for it….

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