Trading spaces

Justin Chan shares his hopeful—albeit farfetched—vision of what the future world of migration might look like.

Moving to another country is no longer a monumental endeavor, demanding great risk and expense as it did in centuries past. People do it all the time, moving for work, love, or a bit of time off.

With the ease of travel, it is more possible now than ever before to find a new “spiritual” home, you could say. A country different than your own, but which more strongly grips your affections with its customs and lifestyle.

What do I mean? That the people’s overall personality and lifestyle interests align with your own preferences.

For example, I feel akin to the general worldview and political opinions that characterize Swedes. Their value of equality, openness to high taxes, and reasonable life expectations resonate with my own nature.

However, not all share my idea of what constitutes a desirable society. My home country of the United States is a good place for people willing to take risks in the hopes of attaining riches, and there are undoubtedly some people who find that lifestyle more attractive.

Perhaps an ambitious, entrepreneurial Swede has hopes of finding success in America. How nice it would be trade places with that person. Then we would both find ourselves in cultures that better suit our dispositions.

This is only an example. Countless other factors could be the reason behind a person’s move: South America’s strong family culture, Australia’s outgoing social life, or East Asia’s vibrant business environment. Easy access to new cultures makes it more possible that someone might find a society in which they feel more at home.

I will state, that I do not include cases of forced migration due to conflict in my idea. People fleeing severe hardship are not so much drawn to a particular destination as they are simply motivated by escape.

I envision something more like today’s Western Europe. Nations of relatively equal wealth that share open borders, between which most movement is even, voluntary, and based on personal preferences.

I would support enhanced possibilities for such migration and resettlement around the world. It will require time for innumerable social and political conflicts to subside before such peaceful movements would be possible, but what’s the harm in dreaming?


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