Towards a new framework for citizen mobility within modern democracy

Pedro Ferraz de Abreu

MIT - DUSP

pfa@mit.edu

CITIDEP - Research Center on Information Technologies and Participatory Democracy

www.citidep.net

Conferencia Internacional "Ciudadania Migrante y Democracia

Univ. Guanajuato, CICSUG - INAH

8-9 March 2001


Globalization is not a new phenomenon; one may say that WW I was the first brutal expression of a globalized world reality.

What we must understand is the difference between political and economical frameworks at the time of steam engine and emerging Industrial Revolution (manufacture) and at our time of computers + world nets in emerging globalization, with emerging Information Economy and a pressure towards participatory democracy.

Information Technology and Information Economy is facilitating, to a degree that never existed before (qualitative jump), the mobility of capital (finance and economy); but while it brings with it the potential for citizen mobility has well, the current dominant political superstructure is resisting and restraining such mobility. This contradiction questions the validity of the mainstream "Globalization model" framework, put forward in "Fora" like Davos, G7, WB, FMI, etc..

In the next slides I illustrate:

a) The nature of the Information Technology (IT) revolution and it’s potential;

b) The "market failure" in bringing world wide access to new IT;

c) The true dominant thinking about "Globalization" (Summer’s memo);

d) The capital - labor contradictory trends on mobility and globalization restrictions;

and therefore suggest :

e) a new framework for analysis and the construction of a more consistent model; one that integrates the new realities of the Information Technology revolution, and the need for citizen mobility to go together with capital mobility, unlike today’s reality.


SLIDES



Evolution of Information Technology

and its impact on decision models


Information Technology

Features / Attributes

Decision Models



Voice



Manuscript

• from "few" to "few"


• limited reach


• without auxiliary processing


• cheap, potentially universal access (low cost to enter the market)


• low control / regulatory costs


Direct Democracy



Heterogeneous Empires


Press



Radio



TV

• from "few" to "many"


• non-limited reach



with processing in source


• expensive, restricted access (high cost to enter the market)


• average control / regulatory costs


Representative Democracy



Homogeneous Dictatorships


Satellite network



Fiber optics net



µcomputer



Internet

• from "many" to "many"



non-limited reach


• with processing in source and destination


• moderate access cost, potentially universal (low cost to enter the market)


• high control / regulatory costs


Participatory Democracy




Technocrat Dictatorships


in Pedro Ferraz de Abreu's PhD Thesis draft, MIT, 1995





TRENDS IN GLOBALIZATION AND MOBILITY


Globalization

1960

2000

Component

Mobility

Restrictions

Mobility

Restrictions


Finance


Days -> Hours


Moderate

(++)

Seconds

(--)

Low


Economy


Years


High -> Moderate

(+)

Months

(-)

Moderate -> Low


War


Years


Bi-polar world

(+)

Months -> Days

(-)

Hegemonic Alliance







Citizen

(internal)


Year -> Months


Low

(=)

Year -> Months

(=)

Low


Refugee


Years -> Months


High

(=)

Years -> Months

(=)

High


Economic

Migrant


Years


High

(=)

Years

(+)

Very High -> High (Regional)




Strategies regarding Globalization and Citizen Mobility


Mainstream:


• Fixate population in LDC through Development Aid Programs

• Trickle Down Economics: salary gap as " economy incentive"

• Training on specialized skills for migrants; Hierarchy in Education (professional vs. academic degrees, in separate tracks)

Strong state on military and police, weak state on regulation and public service (Regional "Fortresses" on repression of illegal migrants; information infrastructure in the hands of multi-nationals)

• Hierarchy of rights with migrants on bottom of citizenship

============================

Alternative:

• Accept Citizen mobility as part of modern Globalization.

• Labour rights worldwide; end the low-wage "offshore" paradises

• Global Education massive drive to raise minimum levels of knowledge and increase adaptability (including Bilingual Education); Mobility between professional and academic degrees

• State strong responsibility on public services and regulation; provide universal access to information infrastructure

• Local Democratic integration of all citizens, including migrants (representative and participatory rights)


Lawrence H Summers


World Bank Chief Economist and Vice-President (1991-92); U.S. Treasury Secretary (1999)

The Memo

"DATE: December 12, 1991

"TO: Distribution

"FR: Lawrence H. Summers

"Subject: GEP

"'Dirty' Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]? I can think of three reasons:


"1) The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.


"2) The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I've always though that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.


"3) The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is is 200 per thousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.


"The problem with the arguments against all of these proposals for more pollution in LDCs (intrinsic rights to certain goods, moral reasons, social concerns, lack of adequate markets, etc.) could be turned around and used more or less effectively against every Bank proposal for liberalization."


"DATE: December 12, 1991

"TO: Distribution

"FR: Lawrence H. Summers

"Subject: GEP


"'Dirty' Industries: Just between you and me, shouldn't the World Bank be encouraging MORE migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [Less Developed Countries]?


(...)


a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.

(...)


I've always though that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City.


Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.

(...)


Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.


Centro de Investigação de Tecnologias de Informação para uma Democracia Participativa

CITIDEP members with related work

Timothy Sieber

PhD Anthropology

U. Massachusetts, USA

Luis Miguel Rionda

PhD Anthropology

U. Guanajuato, Mexico

Manuel Antunes

PhD ‘ABD’ Sociology

Mozambique Migration

Cristina Girardo

PhD Pedagogy (PhD c. "estudos latino-americanos")

Migrants in Leon, Mexico

Filomena Henriques

Lic. Social Service

CaboVerde Migrants in Portugal

Prudencio Mochi

PhD Political Science (PhD c. "estudos latino-americanos")

Migrants in Leon, Mexico

Alfredo Henriquez

MS Social Services

Migrant rights in Portugal

Valerie Aillaud

Lic Law, DESS Political Science

Refugees in France

Ambrizeth Lima

MA (PhD c. in Pedagogy)

Bilingual education for Cabo Verdianos in USA

Catherine Michel

Lic. Sociology

Multi-Etnic writing teaching in France

Graca Castanho

MA Pedagogy

Bilingual Education

for Cabo Verdianos in Portugal

Mutiara Pasariboe

MS Human Geography

Refugees in Holland

Pedro Ferraz de Abreu

PhD Planning, MIT, USA

Participatory Democracy in Information Society

Marjolain Brink

MS Human Geography

Refugees in Holland


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