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VOLUME 2 (2000), ISSUE 3 (SUMMER), EDITORIAL

 

 

 

 

POPULATION, CULTURES AND MIGRATIONS: A CHALLENGE FOR THE NEW CENTURY

 

PATRICK HUNOUT  

 


 

Patrick HUNOUT is the President and the Founder of The International Scope® Review. 

 


 

Dear readers, 

 

The International Scope® Review publishes today its third issue. The Review continued its strict quality policy, and as a result the global quality of this issue is excellent. First, we present articles by demographers on the evolution of the world population. Demography was already present in the previous issues with our book on migrations to France and Germany. This book had shown how in some countries the Governments have tried to increase the population in order to be more powerful, how this is linked with authoritarian ideas, and how this is prolonged nowadays through the call for immigration. Very recently, pseudo-experts from the UN have spread the simplistic idea that the western countries would "need" a considerable number of migrants in order to be able to pay the pensions of their current inhabitants when they will grow older. They were thus trying to influence the public opinion by letting people believe that the immigration wanted by the Power is a necessity and meets their "needs". However, instead of considering people in terms of quantities and of an accountancy balance, these "experts" should perhaps take into account the huge social problems that such migrations would entail for our countries, at a moment where, as shown by our previous publications, immigration in a number of developed countries appears to be a collective failure, destructive for our societies. Beyond the quantitative accountancy, there are many other dimensions to take into account when it is about immigration. A more responsible and independent way to see population’s problems consists in considering the consequences of the quick world’s population growth for our lives and for the lives of the future generations. 

Although these developments happen mainly in developing countries, they are likely to have huge consequences in a near future for developed countries as well. At the International Conference on Population and Development (ICDP) held in Cairo in 1994, 180 nations had adopted a Program of Action to improve reproductive health world wide and to humanely slow down the rapid world population’s growth. The agreement focused on measures to be taken until 2015, aiming at achieving universal access to sexual education, to mother-and childcare and to a broad variety of family planning methods - as well as on financial commitments to achieve these goals. The article by Ralf Ulrich published in this issue shows that The Cairo Conference had been a programmatic milestone in this field, but that donor countries are currently sneaking out of the commitments they made in Cairo. If this development cannot be stopped, we might have in the coming decades a much larger world population, more international conflicts on resources, and a higher migration pressure at our doors. 

Fleisch and Blome show that the European Union, as a major donor to finance the implementation of the Cairo Program of Action, has up to now not met the financial goals set out in Cairo. They point out that this development poses a challenge for private charitable organizations, so-called Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), working in the field of population and development, and they analyze the different strategies that these NGOs can implement in order to enhance the governmental commitment to the Cairo program of action. The European Union and its gropings in its attempt to create a huge set able to concurrence the US on the international scene are moreover at the center of a major part of this issue. Actually, the new European power is carrying on continuously its aberrant policy - it reforms nationality law in Germany, Belgium and Denmark, weakening all the time more the cultural links between people at the benefit of a statist concept, and it envisages that countries only a tiny part of which is geographically and culturally located in Europe, such as Turkey, could be a part of the European construction. Parallel to this, the persistent weakness of the ‘euro’ on the markets since its launch 18 months ago, confirms the predictions of our Review in its previous issues. 

The article by Arne Heise discusses the effects of the formation of a European monetary union on wage policy and the structure of collective bargaining systems. So far, the latter were surprisingly considered in relation to the process of European monetary integration only as the core adjustment mechanism in an optimal currency area. In this view, wage policy becomes very mechanistic, the question of the functioning of a common currency area with fragmented collective bargaining systems and institutions does not arise. Heise addresses the question whether the integrated Europe, particularly after the formation of a monetary union in 1999, will imply a European-wide regulation of the labor markets and bargaining systems. Similarly, 

Julia Evetts examines the organization process of professions and knowledge-based occupations in Europe. So far, discussions about professions had been confined to analyses within particular states or comparison between states. Evetts considers how this needs to be changed as the markets for professional services are becoming international and services are a vital component of global economies. The development of European professional federations is considered as social institutions to promote new forms of internal self-regulation. She argues that new divisions of regulatory responsibilities are emerging as well as new balances between different forms of regulation for professions and knowledge-based occupations in Europe. 

The article by Johanna Ludvigsen highlights the persistence of deep cultural differences in Europe on the basis of the example of Scandinavian managers. Actually, although to outsiders the Nordic countries may appear culturally homogeneous notably because of the high level of collective welfare and social harmony, she exposes several differences in adherence in to collectivistic cultural values. Her results show that the Swedish and Norwegian managers are the most devoted adherents of organizational egalitarianism, and that Finnish and Danish managers revealed predilection for more individualistic culture by emphasizing the leadership’s autonomy for power wielding and making important decisions in order to steer the organizations in desired direction. 

Cultures, migrations and minorities are linked by David and Naji’s article. One effect of the migrations is a steady fall in the number of the languages spoken around the world. When a community migrates from its original home base to a new setting it is possible that with time it shifts away from its original ethnic language. David and Naji discuss the case of the language of the Tamils, the largest Indian community in Malaysia. Malaysia is one of the most multilingual countries in the world : no wonder if it offers rich possibilities of observation to the linguists. Their article examines to which extent minorities have to abandon their languages, and in this purpose compares language choice and use between older and younger community members. 

One of the reasons of the existence of this Review is that academic discourse has come to far from the real preoccupations of people. With these different contributions, the actual and potential importance of migrations, their effect on the respective cultures and languages, and the strategies of the Power as involved in all these phenomena - all subjects the Review is familiar with - become a little clearer. In the next issues and step by step, we hope to deepen our understanding of these phenomena, and to make this understanding even more accessible to a broad number of people.

 

 

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 Copyright  The Social Capital Foundation 2003, All Rights Reserved

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