Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The Refugee-Migrant Crisis of the EU -- Its Deeper Causes and Messages

The media are bubbling with the refugee-migrant crisis, the new great crisis of the EU, the significance of which dwarfs that of the Greek economic crisis. It may appear that everything that can be said on this subject has already been said and written. But it is not so. What is missing in the discussions till now is an in-depth understanding of the crisis, without which even highly competent and experienced politicians and administrators would not find a lasting solution to it. I am not going to tell them what they should immediately do in order to gain control of the crisis. But allow me to try to fill up the big gap between describing and really understanding the problem.

Some Facts and clarifications:

Let us begin by taking cognizance of some facts that usually remain unmentioned in the discussions. I do not however intend to repeat those that my readers can be expected to regularly get through TV and newspapers.

Three categories of "Refugees"

Let us first differentiate between three categories of "refugees". (1) Let us call those who were suffering political persecution in their native country and are therefore seeking asylum political refugees. (2) Those fleeing because of some kind of war or violent conflict should better be called war refugees. (3) Those who are leaving their native country in search of a better life or a better job in another country should be called (economic) migrants. They may be just poor people from un(der)developed countries or people who are unemployed for a long time. This categorization cannot be a clear-cut one, for people may have two or all of the above reasons to flee their native country. For the sake of convenience, let us use the term refugee-migrants.

It is a global Problem

Let us leave aside the legal migrants, who are more or less welcome or at least tolerated in the host countries.
    The refugee-migrant problem is a global one and exists since long. There are today worldwide 60 Million such people. Some 11 million Latino migrants are illegally living in the USA. It is not as if only rich countries like the USA and EU attract refugee-migrants. Even countries that are not really rich but are only perceived to be a little better off and having relatively better job opportunities (actually, only a little less unemployment) than the neighboring countries attract migrants from the latter. Thus India has an unknown number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh, Malaysia has a large number of legal and illegal migrants from Indonesia, the Republic of South Africa from the neighboring African countries. In Kenia, the largest refugee camp of the world (in Dadaab ) is the temporary home of half a million Somali war refugees. In the Sahel Zone too there is a regular – legal and just tolerated – intra-regional flow and outflow of migrant workers. Some years ago, I also read of illegal Chinese migrant workers in the UK. Russia has its legal and illegal migrants from central Asia – most of them Muslims.
    At several international borders, walls and fences have been built to keep unwelcome refugee-migrants away, e.g. between the USA and Mexico, between India and Bangladesh, and most recently between Hungary and its neighboring countries. The EU created the Frontex, a high-tech border police organization, to prevent illegal entry. Australia uses force to prevent all ships carrying illegal migrants from touching its shores. Those who succeed in illegally landing in Australia are immediately deported to the neighboring pacific island of Nauru. Malaysia expels illegal Indonesian workers and even legal ones who have lost their job. Sometimes, the poor ones among them, who generally take cheap and unsafe boats for returning home, die of drowning in the sea. So we can say that the present acute refugee-migrant crisis of the EU is only the latest manifestation of a long-standing global problem.

The Economic Pull Factor

The global refugee-migrant problem therefore forms the general background against which we should discuss about any particular refugee-migrant problem. That of the EU, particularly of Germany, is, at present, only the most conspicuous sign of the very bad general state of the world and of the current system of global governance. For many European officials it is outrageous that hundreds of thousands of foreigners are gate-crashing one European country after the other – openly, illegally and without being registered by any authority. As a Bavarian politician recently said, it is tantamount to capitulation of the state if it cannot protect its borders.
    They are mostly young men and women. There are hardly any purely political refugees among them. And not all are fleeing only because of some war or violent conflict in their native country. It is clear that most of them are, at least partly, migrants. They are in search of a better life in one of the rich countries of the world. They are simply trying their luck. Proportionately perhaps not many, but in absolute terms significant numbers of them are going to the emerging industrial countries, such as India, Brazil and South Africa. Those who are migrating from North Africa, the Sahel region, and central Africa are mostly poor and unemployed. Their hope is to get work, some work and income. In TV interviews they even say that openly, do not pretend to be a refugee. A young Ghanaian said: "I have no problem with my state, politics here is all right. But here there is no job for me." An elderly poor peasant couple in a Senegal village told the TV journalist in the presence of their twelve year old son: "We told him, son, there is no future for you in this country. Go to Europe, somehow, we shall give you the money." Even the refugees from Syria, where the strong push factor of war is operating, are not at all thinking of leaving Europe and going back home once peace has returned there. They too want to build up a better future for themselves and their children. One Syrian man with a child on his shoulders said after arriving in Lesbos: "Thank God, I have now arrived in Europe. Here I can live in safety. Here I can fulfill my ambition." Another man from Syria said he has studied economics in Aleppo. His wife and children would come later, after he has settled down here. His ambition is to do a doctorate in Germany. A young man from Lahore was asked why he left Pakistan; after all, no war is raging there. He answered, it is because of the Taliban, they are making living there very difficult. Contrast this with the Somali refugees in Kenia's Dadaab camp, who are very happy to be able to return home.
    Except for the huge numbers this time, there is nothing new in this. I remember having seen in the 1990s a fictional film – entitled "The March"1 – on the same phenomenon. In 1991, we have seen photos of several thousand Albanian would-be migrants in a few chartered ocean-going ships arriving in Bari (Italy).2 Even barbed wire fences we have seen before. In 2005, we have seen TV-pictures of hundreds of young Africans trying to scale those of Ceuta and Melilla3 , and in this way enter EU territory. We have seen TV-pictures of young Africans trying to reach the Canary Islands on flimsy fishing boats.

The real and Deeper Causes

Ecology, Economy and the Prosperity Gap

We should differentiate the immediate, i.e. the superficial, causes from the root causes. Most European politicians are saying the really effective solution of their current refugee-migrant crisis would require removing its root causes, which they identify as the civil wars in Syria and Iraq and poverty in Africa.
    But political persecution and civil wars, even poverty, are, generally speaking, the superficial causes of migration, only the symptoms or effects of a disease, not the disease itself. More often than not, particularly in such crisis conditions as are prevailing today in the EU, politicians cannot and do not take cognizance of the disease behind the symptoms, i.e. of that which makes political persecution necessary, of the root causes that give rise to conflicts and wars. Much less can they do something about them. They must first, so to speak, quickly suppress the fever. The root causes mostly lie at much deeper levels of reality, and they build up slowly over a long period. They are therefore imperceptible to ordinary people like politicians before they explode onto the surface creating the clearly visible crisis at any particular time.
    To my mind, the root causes of the refugee-migrant crisis can be summed up in the following words:
the continuously growing demands, aspirations and ambitions (for short, DAAs) of a continuously growing population, while our resource base is continuously diminishing and the environment continuously degrading. Let me give an extreme example: Asked what he wants to become in future, a boy from a poor family going to an Indian slum school replied he wants to become like Bill Gates. None of his class mates said he wants to become a craftsman; even engine driver was nothing for them. These DAAs go so much beyond the really basic needs of any human being, namely satisfying hunger, quenching thirst, protection from adverse weather, sexual satisfaction, and belonging to a group in society. The continuous growth of DAAs are being propelled by, as it were, autonomously proceeding technological developments, which have their roots in human intelligence and greed, i.e. wanting to have more than one really needs. The catalogue of things the UN declared in 1948 to be universal human rights include "a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing … including food, clothing, housing and medical care, … necessary social services, … the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age, … education, … full development of the human personality " etc. (articles 25 and 26). In 1948, even these simple things were totally unrealistic for the greater part of humanity. Moreover, many expressions in this formulation are vague. How much is "adequate"? And what is "wellbeing"? And what is "full development of the human personality"? But this "holy" declaration and pictures and narratives transported by TV etc. from the rich countries of the West to the remotest corners of the undeveloped countries fired the aspirations and ambitions of all poor people of the world.
    Today, 67 years later, in the greater part of the world, they still remain largely unrealized. What is more, the hope that they would be realized in the near future has evaporated. Many scientists and general observers believe that things would become worse – for objective reasons, namely continuous population growth, deepening global ecological crisis, extreme weather events due to global warming, rapid resource depletion, spreading desertification etc. Even in Germany, one of the richest countries of the world, there are many citizens who are homeless; the number of the "working poor" is growing, i.e. they cannot make their living although they work fulltime, which is why they have to apply for social welfare doles.
    In the past, we leftists used to say this kind of poverty exists due to inequitable distribution of the global and/or national income in capitalism, imperialism etc. We also proffered lack of sufficient development or wrong kinds of development as explanation of the misery in the underdeveloped countries. That was and still is largely true. But today we must say that is not the whole story. As Otto Ullrich wrote:

 "... in a system that tries to satisfy needs through material products there will always be, for every attained level of material prosperity, new unsatisfied material basic needs, above all because this system is necessarily very ingenious in the production of new luxury goods, which then become models for new material 'basic needs'. This system will always be too poor … . What was day before yesterday the radio, was yesterday the black-and-white TV, is today the color TV and will tomorrow be the three-dimensional picture projector." (Ullrich 1979: 108).4

I agree. As we know, even the socialist system could not satisfy all the "basic needs" of all its citizens in countries where it held sway till 1989.
    Also managers, share holders, and ordinary employees of companies and corporations, even small shop owners, refuse to accept any upper limit to profit/income. Therefore, in globalised capitalism there will always be a prosperity gap. As we know, this gap is continuously growing, not only between the countries, but also within each country, even within the richest ones. We are also seeing a growing discrepancy between the great development promises made in the past by ideologues of both capitalism and cornucopian socialism on the one hand and the gloomy reality of the present and prospects of future catastrophes on the other.
    In middle school I learnt in physics lessons that if two containers standing on the same level contain water under different degrees of pressure, then, if they somehow get connected, water under higher pressure will automatically flow to the container having water under lower pressure. This law of physics can be metaphorically applied to migration of humans (and animals) from densely populated and/or poor countries, where the pressure of poverty is high, to sparsely populated and/or rich countries where poverty is not so acute. Now, we know that the various countries of the world are since long getting ever more connected. After all, we nowadays talk of the world having become a global village.
    If we now multiply the continuously growing DAAs by the continuously growing population in the poorer countries, then we will understand why the universal human rights were, already in 1948, doomed to remain unrealized. They were unrealizable, because also the carrying capacity of this planet has simultaneously and continuously been diminishing – in truth, since human civilization began, albeit very slowly at first. We shall then also understand why migration has been a more or less permanent feature of human history. Capitalism, feudalism, imperialism, inequitable distribution, particular famines, dictatorship, oppression, wars, civil wars, violent conflicts etc. are only superficial or secondary explanations of the phenomenon, sometimes only the immediate causes of particular waves of migration. The real and deeper causes of the permanent phenomenon of migration are what I have stated above. For some individuals, however, who are not really unbearably poor,
the lure of greener foreign pastures in the relatively prosperous countries of the West is too great to resist.

Violent Conflicts and Civil Wars

To say that the civil wars in Syria and Iraq have caused the current refugee-migrant crisis is not very original. We also have to know what caused these wars.
    The state of affairs mentioned in the above section toward explaining poverty-related migration has also led, directly or indirectly, to many kinds of violent conflict over distribution of resources – both between nations and within nations. As we know, they too cause people to flee their native country. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait for oil (1991), Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara for phosphate, and the Jewish people's occupation of Palestinian land for founding their state Israel and subsequently for settlements building are some examples from our days.
    Within nations, in most countries, the ruling and dominant class(es), race(s), ethnie(s), regional population(s), religious and language group(s), that presently own (s), rake(s) in or claim(s) the lion's share of the nations resources and national income, must oppress, in one way or another, those below them who feel deprived and demand their fare share: ordinary workers, poor or landless peasants, the unemployed, and the underclass. But why must the former group(s) oppress the latter, who may (or may not) constitute the majority of the population? It is because in the greater part of the world there simply is not enough to satisfy all the demands and wishes of all groups of the nation. In the past we have seen and we are still seeing plenty of conflicts, more or less violent, arising from this state of affairs. So we can say that when some violent conflict appears to be the cause of a particular flow of refugees from a country, it is, in the final analysis, mainly, though not exclusively, the prosperity gap prevailing in that country that is the real and the deeper cause. Of course, cause-and-effect models of explanation are never that simple. Remember Tunisia in 2011? There, after 4 weeks of popular demonstrations the despotic ruler left the country and the matter took a good turn. But not so in Syria.
    It is logical to fear that in future there would be many more such conflicts and they would generate many more streams of refugees – especially if one considers that in the immediate future the on-going ecological and climate crises will further worsen.
    A special phenomenon in this category has been the renaissance of piracy on the high seas. At least Somali pirates said that they were originally fishermen by trade, and that they had no other alternative but to take to piracy when trawlers from distant rich countries began to empty their fishing grounds. At the same time the country's population has been growing at the rate of 3.48% (2002) to 2.81% (2011) per annum. More recent figures are not available or unreliable because of civil war and-large scale emigration. We read in the internet however that in
"… 2014 population was estimated at 10.8 million, up from the 2013 estimate of 10 million. The country is rapidly expanding with almost 3% annual population growth and a high fertility rate of 6.26 children per woman, which is the 4th highest in the world." As for the size, Somalia is a very large country. Its population density is just 17.1 per km2. But it is also a very arid country; arable land is just 1.64% of the whole. We can then imagine how the environmental situation might be. A Somali NGO activist writes: "I was born in 1947 and until I was seven years old I lived in an area that was savannah-like, … I first visited Somalia again about thirty years ago – the land that I had remembered as lush green savannah was total desert, with only huge sandstorms blowing." 5 In this and other texts there is also mention of overgrazing, deforestation, and production, even export, of charcoal, which surely contributed to desertification. Another Somali activist writes:

"Environmental issues play a key role in conflicts in Somaliland [the northern province of Somalia]. I would go as far as to say such issues play a daily role in conflict situations across Somaliland. Confrontations frequently occur over disputes over grazing lands, watering holes and land that has been sealed off by individuals for private use."5

It is therefore not very meaningful to point only at the foreign trawlers to explain the phenomenon of piracy on Somalia's coast.
    I have shown elsewhere5a how ecological degradation combined with population growth caused economic troubles, which in turn lent force to the popular revolts against oppressive and exploitative regimes (Egypt, Syria), and which, in Syria, ultimately led to the now over four years old civil war. In the meantime, some more information of this category has been made available by Agnès Sinai.6 Sinai, to quote just one example, writes about the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria:

"In northern Nigeria soil degradation has destroyed the traditional way of life of peasants and cowherds, and impaired the paths of nomads. Several hundred villages have been given up. It resulted in migratory movements that have destabilized the region. In this way the ground was prepared for the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram."

Unfortunately, Sinai failed to point out that, in the meantime, the population of Nigeria has been growing at the annual rate of 2.67% (2000) to 2.47% (2014), a typical omission of most publicists on the subject. Sinai concludes:

"The great crush of refugees at the borders of the prosperity-island of Europe will become stronger in the 21st century. For, at the time, at least as many people are fleeing the consequences of environmental destruction as from violence and wars."6

    In some cases, because in the popular media we hardly get any report on the state of the environment and resource base of the concerned country, it appears that the conflict there is only a power struggle between different religious and/or ethnic groups. Thus, to take another example, the current civil war in Yemen is often being depicted as a war between the Shia Huthis, the minority supported by Iran, and the Sunni majority supported by Saudi Arabia. In reality, however, the Huthis are fighting against the Sunni majority because they are not getting their fair share of power and resources. One also finds in the internet the following information: Between 2000 and 2008, Yemen's population grew at an annual rate of 3.36% to 3.46%. Then the rate started slightly falling. In 2014 the population was still growing at the rate of 2.72%. On the state of the environment we read: "Yemen's main environmental problems have long been scarcity of water, soil erosion, and desertification. Water pollution is a problem due to contaminates from the oil industry, untreated sewage, and salinization. Natural forests in mountainous areas have been destroyed by agricultural clearing and livestock overgrazing."
    This is, however, not to deny that the Shia-Sunni schism that took place in the 7th century A.D. plays a big role in the current conflicts in the Middle East. But it would probably not cause such severe conflicts if the material conditions of life had not been deteriorating. That may be the reason why in the oil-rich Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia – despite the existence of the Shia-Sunni divide – no violent conflict between the two sects has come up. Bahrain is the only exception.
    I do not want to end this section without mentioning the case of Rwanda, where an ethnic conflict led to a genocidal massacre (1994) and ended in a large refugee outflow. Asked why they are killing the others, although both ethnies worship the same Christian God and whose holy scripture demands of them: "… thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself", one participant replied: "In Africa, blood (ethnic loyalty) is thicker (more important) than faith". But that was certainly only the superficial cause. The real and deeper cause was ecological degradation and dwindling resource availability. On Rwanda's environmental situation we read:

“...Rwanda’s mountainous topography and growing human population have resulted in increasingly severe environmental degradation: soil erosion from cultivation of steep slopes; pollution and sedimentation of water sources; and loss of forests, protected areas, and biodiversity to new human settlements.”7

On population growth in Rwanda we read: "…the population had increased from 1.5 million in 1930 to 2.1 million in 1952, 3.6 million in 1970, 4.8 million in 1978 and 7.5 million in 1993. Another doubling to 15 million is expected to take place in the next 21 years." 8That means, in 1993, the population was growing at the rate of 3.1% per annum. And the population density of Rwanda amounted to 271 inhabitants per square Kilometer.8  After the civil war ended, a huge number of Hutus fled to the DR Congo when their ethnic enemies, the Tutsis, conquered power. The greater part of them has still not returned to Rwanda.

The Strength of Identity Feelings

Although defending existing prosperity gaps and/or striving for (more) prosperity are the main reasons why individuals and ruling and dominant groups exploit and oppress the others and the others revolt, there is no denying that on both sides there are people who also enjoy having power itself. So they may also fight for power for the sake of power, i.e. without thereby intending to increase or defend their prosperity. Then also groups not defined purely by economic interests but, e.g., by race, ethnicity, nation, language, religion, sect etc. may do that. All kinds of liberation struggles fall under this category. In reality, however, what one finds in most cases is a contingent mixture of several motivations.
    In the process, a strong group identity, a we-feeling, comes into play. Then the fighters may not (only) be fighting for advancing or defending their economic interests or against usurpers, exploiters or oppressors; they may (also) be hating and/or fighting against the others because they are in some way different. In this way, the oppressed and the exploited of one group may be fighting against the oppressed and the exploited of the others. Thus white racists in the USA and their militant groups (e.g. the Ku Klux Klan) hate, oppress and persecute the blacks not because the latter somehow threaten their economic interests, but because they are different, black. In India, Hindus and Muslims may fight against each other because they worship different gods in different kinds of temples. Similar is the case in Myanmar, where the Rohingyas – who are dark-skinned and are, moreover, Muslims – are hated and persecuted by the fair-skinned and Buddhist Burmese majority. The fight of Al Qaida, IS and Al-Nusra against the West can be understood as the fight of the "faithful" against the "infidels". In this sense, the civil wars in Syria and Iraq can also be declared as a Shia-versus-Sunni conflict. We can then say that many violent conflicts – on-going and of the past – at least partly owe(d) their origin or intensification to non-economic identity conflicts
Such conflicts often get fed by historical memories. The Shias cannot forget nor forgive the murder of their religious leader and his followers by the Sunnis in Kerbela in the 7th century AD. The Hindu-nationalists cannot forget that Hindu kings were defeated by and lost power to Muslim conquerors about one thousand years ago. The struggle of the Islamist Jihadists can also be seen as a process of taking revenge on the imperial West for the humiliations it inflicted upon the Muslims in the past. The Crusades have not been forgotten. That also may be one explanation for the persecution they are meting out to Christians, even Arab Christians. Such conflicts can be triggered off by the slightest provocation. The majority may then think of teaching the others a lesson, which then escalates into a big thing. Conflicts of this kind of origin too have often led to emigration of the underdogs or the defeated.
    Actually, this we versus the others feeling exists also among animals. Think of Chimpanzee groups. They do not allow any stranger from any other group to even approach the borders of their territory. Same is the case with street dog Groups in any Indian City. It belongs to our pristine biological inheritance. The gang wars in Los Angeles take place along borders of clearly divided territories. But in modern times, mostly, any identity group (we-group) is compelled to live in the same state with many other identity groups, thus together forming one mixed population without any group having an exclusive territory of its own. In such cases, identity groups are formed and conflicts break out on other lines, as enumerated above. 
    But in the process of our cultural evolution we humans have learnt to control this primitive feeling, though not fully. Success in controlling it and accepting the others in our community may have been aided by the fact that in advanced societies, human beings generally have more than one identity.9 A person can feel e.g. that she is a German and hence different from a Chinese. But she may also feel that she is a capitalist and hence make common cause with Chinese capitalists. So despite differences in nationality, there are international organizations of both capitalists and workers. Thus in the early 1990s, when xenophobic-racist attacks against Vietnamese immigrant workers were taking place in Eastern Germany, visitors from Japan, whom average Germans cannot distinguish from Vietnamese because of their similar looks, were advised to somehow mark themselves as Japanese. It was taken for granted that xenophobic-racist Germans would not attack Japanese visitors because they both belong to the First World.
    Such identity feelings become very strong, highly ingrained, almost indelible when they prove to be the only remaining means of mobilizing the masses against some perceived evil or injustice.10

Some Concluding Remarks
. What can be done?

Since even top politicians and thinkers of the EU and Germany are at their wits' end to solve the crisis, it may be tolerated that I make a few general remarks and suggest some policies.
    The Europeans, particularly Germans, are divided in their sentiments and feelings. The volunteers, the so-called"good people" ("Gutmenschen"), are doing their best to help people in dire need, practicing "a humanitarian culture", "a welcoming culture", and showing a "friendly face". These noble sentiments and practices are invaluable. They show that we can still hope for a future in which all humans will think they belong to one humanity. But there are still many hurdles to overcome and much work to be done to realize such a vision. In the meantime, we cannot ignore the fact that most humans cannot yet jettison their basic animal instincts. Every animal and every animal group tends to defend its territory and other "vital" interests. That is what the so-called "bad people" are doing. The truth is that more than a half of the Germans are afraid they are losing territory, some think, to a foreign "invading" army. But also the "good people" in Germany know, and they are increasingly saying so, that there is a limit to what they and their native country can do, that they cannot help all the poor people of the world.
    This limit is, firstly, a matter of material resources. Captains of the German economy and their representatives in politics and media, but also many standard economists, are saying that the German economy needs about half a million more workers, that the refugee-migrants constitute, so to speak, a demographic dividend, and that they can and should soon be integrated in this aging society. They are expecting a new economic boom as in the 1960s, because the new immigrant-workers would produce new wealth. They are asserting that the immediate costs of integrating them would be manageable, that, after all, Germany could bear the costs of integrating the whole population (17 million) of the former GDR etc.
    This is utter nonsense; nothing can be more misleading. They are talking as if they have never heard of the climate crisis, the general ecological crisis, and the contradiction between ecology and economy. Moreover, they are not mentioning that the East Germans did not come to join West Germany empty-handed like the refugee-migrants of today, that they brought along their fertile land, buildings, highly developed infrastructure and advanced knowledge and know-how of the people. Particularly Germans in the lower strata of society are fearing more intensive competition for low level jobs and affordable rented accommodation. Captains of industry are already demanding that exceptions to the minimum wage law be allowed.
    Secondly, even for modern humans living in an era of globalization there is a psychological limit to tolerance of foreigners in their forecourt. It is not for nothing that radical rightist parties are gaining ground in all EU countries. And thirdly, social scientists know that, in many areas of life, there is also a "social-critical limit", after crossing which a social organization begins malfunctioning. Today, the EU seems to have crossed several such limits.
    All these have led to tensions between the member nations of the EU as well as cracks within some of them, even within parties. Recently, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French radical rightist party Front National, characterized the liberal German policy on the current refugee-migrant crisis as a project to recruit cheap slave labor for the country's economy. Some time back, a Greek woman asked some young male Syrian refugee-migrants: "Why don't you go back and fight against the IS at home?" The foreign affairs minister of the newly elected Polish government recently asked a German TV reporter (in the general sense): Do you think we should send our soldiers to Syria while young men from there let themselves be housed and fed by Germans and drink coffee in a Berlin restaurant? The East-European member states of the EU have totally refused to accept any refugee in their country. The Hungarian Prime Minister said bluntly: "It is not our problem. It is the problem of the Germans."
    I leave it to the politicians and administrators of the EU and Germany to define their immediate tasks and perform them. It is they who have competence in that area. But I know what must and should be done in the middle and long term: (a) help stop population growth where it is still growing, (b) tell people, also in the rich countries, to curtail their material aspirations and consumption desires, (c) regulate capitalism, if you do not want to overthrow it, and control international trade and investment in order to force capitalists to act in socially and ecologically responsible manner, and (d) start, already now, a publicity campaign for these long-term goals and corresponding policies.
    Recently, the EU leaders have shown readiness to give African countries more financial aid in order to enable them to motivate their young citizens to stay in their native country. This is a commendable idea. But, firstly, the purpose of this aid should not be to bribe the leaders of the concerned countries and demand in exchange that they somehow hold back the would-be migrants. The aid should be used to reduce the prosperity gap, which can also be achieved by reducing the consumption level of e.g. the Germans. As long as the present huge gap remains, no amount of aid to poor African countries will help stop migration to Europe. The youth of Africa and other poor countries do not just want to have enough to eat. They also want to have the good things of life. Secondly, at least this new aid should be given with a condition attached, namely that it should be used for programs to stop further population growth. And finally, the people of the rich countries must give up their policy of extracting as much profit as possible from the poor countries. An African refugee-migrant told European journalists: "We are here because you are (were) in our countries"
     Let me stop here for today. Those who are more interested in this line of thinking may read my book Eco-Socialism or Eco-Capitalism? – A Critical Analysis of Humanity's Fundamental Choices11, in which I have thoroughly discussed many of these and other related issues. It also appeared in German translation.12


If not otherwise stated, statistical and other data are from the internet.

1. The March is a movie that was aired by BBC One for "One World Week" in 1990. The plot concerns a charismatic Muslim leader from the Sudan who leads 250,000 Africans on a 3,000 miles (4,800 km) march towards Europe
with the slogan, "We are poor because you are rich."

The story is about an indefinite future in which, due to climate change, large parts of Africa have become uninhabitable and in Europe racial tensions have increased. What was in those days thought to be the future scenario has today unexpectedly become reality (Source for both passages:Wikipedia)
2. Twenty years ago, on 8 August 1991, several ships carrying approximately 15,000 Albanian migrants succeeded in entering the port of Bari, Italy. The Italian government’s response was harsh.  Most of the Albanians were detained in a sports stadium without adequate food, water, or access to bathrooms.  Italian authorities dropped supplies to the detained migrants by helicopter.  Within several weeks most of the migrants were deported to Albania.  Their harsh treatment was criticised by human rights organisations and the Pope, but was justified by the Italian government as necessary to deter further irregular migration from Albania. (Source Wikipedia)

3.Ceuta und Melilla: Europas Hightech-Festung in Afrika
Von Katharina Graça Peters

"The distance between Poverty and a new start is only a few meters: The Spanish exclaves Ceuta and Melilla are parts of Europe, but they are situated in Africa. Ever since, six years ago, refugees stormed the fences in large numbers, the two cities have shielded themselves off more strongly by means of high-tech equipment." (Source Wikipedia)
4. Ullrich, Otto (1979) Weltniveau – In der Sackgasse des Industriesystems. Berlin: Rotbuch.

5. Bandare, Shukhri Haji Ismail and Jibrell, Fatima (2015) "Women, Conflict and the Environment in Somali Society". In
Hawley, Jenny (ed.) (2015)Why Women Will Save the Planet. London: Zed Books. PP. 141, 144.

5a.Sarkar, Saral: The Tragedy of Lampedusa – What to Do?

6. Sinai, Agnès: "Verwüstung. – Wie der Klimawandel  Konflikte anheizt." In: Le Monde Diplomatiqe. September 2015. (This journal also has an English edition).

7. Thaxton, Melissa (february 2009) Integrating Population, Health, and Environment in Rwanda (Source Wikipedia)
http://www.prb.org/pdf09/phe-rwanda.pdf )

8. Diessenbacher, Hartmut (1998) Kriege der Zukunft – Die Bevölkerungsexplosion gefährdet den Frieden. Munich & Vienna: Carl Hanser. Pp 67-68.

9. See: Sen, Amartya (2006) Identity and Violence – The Illusion of Destiny. London: Penguin (Allen Lane)

10. See: Sarkar, Saral (2012)"The Power of the Religions and the Helplessness of the Leftists"

11.Sarkar, Saral (1999) Eco-Socialism or Eco-Capitalism? – A Critical Analysis of Humanity's Fundamental Choices. London: Zed Books.

12. Sarkar, Saral (2001) Die Nachhaltige Gesellschaft – Eine kritische Analyse der Systemalternativen. Zürich: Rotpunkt (vergriffen), and Saarbrücken: SVH (as book on demand).