Envisioning A Mobile Workforce

by Patrick Appel

Felix Salmon asserts that if "we want to maximize long-term growth, eradicate global poverty, and give everybody in the world the opportunity to achieve their potential, then a vast improvement in global labor mobility is top of the list of prescriptions":

Improving labor mobility is not easy. Italy, for instance, has been a unified country with a single language and a single currency for 150 years, but it still has minimal labor mobility from the south to the north. The lack of labor mobility has been one of the biggest macroeconomic problems facing the Eurozone; again, the millions of unemployed people in the south are not filling jobs in the north. (There’s a bit more mobility from east to west, but not much more.) And globally, discrimination on the basis of one’s country of nationality is the one universally-condoned form of discrimination still in existence: every country in the world puts up significant barriers to prevent foreign nationals from living and working within its borders.