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Globalisation and governance : contradictions of neo-liberal migration management


  • Overbeek, Henk


Neo-liberal globalisation has primarily entailed the liberalisation of trade and capital flows, but largely ignored the issue of labour mobility. Most literature on the political economy of globalisation likewise ignores global labour mobility. This paper first asks how globalisation affects human mobility. The conclusion is that globalisation integrates the world population into the global labour market in three principal ways: through accelerated commodification of labour power, through the integration via transnational production of national and regional labour markets, and by various (sometimes new) forms of international labour mobility. Regulation of the global economy is increasingly informalised and privatised, argues the paper. This trend is also noticeable in the governance of migration flows. The emerging de facto international regime for the regulation of migration is at the same time restrictive (to curb undesirable forms of migration and strengthen state control) and liberal (to enhance the deregulation and liberalisation of the global economy). This emerging form of governance largely lacks democratic legitimacy. In the final section the paper argues that a new, democratic, multilateral regime for the regulation of migration flows must be set up which can reflect the interests not just of governments and transnational capital, but those of migrants and the populations at large as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Overbeek, Henk, 2002. "Globalisation and governance : contradictions of neo-liberal migration management," HWWA Discussion Papers 174, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:hwwadp:26363

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ruggie, John Gerard, 1993. "Territoriality and beyond: problematizing modernity in international relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 139-174, December.
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    More about this item


    Globalisation; Global Governance; Migration; International Migration Policy; Multilateralism; Neoliberalism;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement


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