Jan 13, 2012

Book Review: Borderless Economics by Robert Guest

Last November The Economist had a special report on the magic of diasporas (discussed on this blog). Most of it was based on Borderless Economics, a new book by Robert Guest, the magazine's business editor. His main arguments are that migrants matter much more than politicians realize, mostly because they help the flow of information between countries and thus create many business opportunities. He argues that the US is well-positioned as it welcomes people from everywhere and makes them feel at home, whatever their background and tastes. He actually devotes a chapter to explain how great the US is. That was unexpected!

While I didn't feel dazzled by this book, I devoured it effortlessly. The stories it tells are quite entertaining and help us understand how migration helps innovation and commerce. What he doesn't discuss is that sometimes network are a bad thing, not because they exist in organized crime (which he discusses), but because they exclude outsiders who could bring new ideas, and because they favour friends over talent.

At the end of his book he suggests citizens from rich countries should be allowed to go live and work everywhere, mostly because that is much more likely to happen any time soon than the opening of borders to citizens from poor countries.

By the way, this is the first book I read on my kindle and I am now a convinced adept.

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