Exceptional People

Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped our World and Will Define our Future (Princeton University Press, 2011)

by Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron and Meera Balarajan

Throughout history, migrants have fueled the engine of human progress. Their movement has sparked innovation, spread ideas, relieved poverty, and laid the foundations for a global economy. In a world more interconnected than ever before, the number of people with the means and motivation to migrate will only increase. Exceptional People looks at the profound advantages that such dynamics will have for countries and migrants the world over. Challenging the received wisdom that a dramatic growth in migration is undesirable, the book proposes new approaches for governance that will embrace this international mobility.

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Exceptional People is also available in the following translations:

Reviews and endorsements:

“A sweeping and constructive study. With a deep sense of what sort of creatures we humans are, this book takes us through millennia in the unending quest of people for development and discovery. It suggests that population movements have been the carriers of innovation from one region to others. It will change, if anything can, the way governments and international organizations view immigration policy.”– Edmund S. Phelps, Nobel Prize-winning economist

“Goldin is clear… that the problems of a world with more open borders are being inadequately addressed.”– James Crabtree, Financial Times

“Migration is not a zero-sum game; it brings great benefits to the receiving country, the sending country, and to migrants themselves. That is the clear message of the evidence from history, economics, and the social sciences more generally. This wise book assembles that evidence in a very thoughtful, careful, and scholarly way, making an enormous contribution to this crucial subject and providing fundamental guidance on one of the key issues of our times.”– Lord Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics and Political Science

“This is a book of bold ambitions ably fulfilled. Mr. Goldin and his co-authors offer a history of migration, from man’s earliest wanderings in Africa to the present day. . . . After filling in the historical background, the authors give a rigorous but readable guide to the costs and benefits of modern migration.” — The Economist

“This clear and lively book is the most skillful articulation of the case for the liberalization of international migration. The authors consistently present migration’s benefits, but do not ignore migration’s costs or shy away from controversy. It makes an important argument on an important subject, and deserves to be widely read.”– Kathleen Newland, Migration Policy Institute

“[A]n essential read . . . [the authors’] arguments are buttressed by a deep understanding of the past, a comprehensive engagement with the present, and a clear vision of the future.” — Sarah HackettTimes Higher Education

“In Exceptional People, the authors carry out an evenhanded assessment of the costs and benefits of international migration. They find that all involved–the countries that receive immigrants, those that send them, and immigrants most of all–prosper when movement across borders is allowed without hindrance. Anti-immigration campaigners who consult Exceptional People will encounter hard-to-refute arguments that favor free movement; advocates of open borders will find in the book the data and reasoning they need to fortify their case.” — Karunesh TuliForeWord Reviews

“Goldin’s conclusion is that western governments should simply accept the inevitable and open their borders, in line with economic demand–albeit within the framework of some pan-national treaty and institution. After all, as he points out, it is odd that there is no global body to oversee the movement of people, as there is with finance and trade. If that liberalization occurred, he thinks it would deliver an ‘economic boost as high as $39,000bn over 25 years’. More surprisingly, he also argues that a ‘tipping point’ will be reached soon, which could shift the political debate. As world population levels stabilize in the next 50 years, a global labor shortage could prompt fierce competition for migrants.” — Gillian TettFinancial Times

“Exceptional People is an absorbing study albeit academic. It strongly advocates the need to establish a global migration agenda and clearly shows that the advantages of migration far outweigh the disadvantages: Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future.”– Arab News

“Exceptional People is an excellent book. It would make a great addition to readings lists for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses dealing extensively with migration. Its wide scope will provide plenty of ideas for new academic projects, and its conclusions invite reflection and further discussion.”– Chris MinnsEH.net

“Migratory movements have been a persistent component of the human condition, and motivation for migration has varied considerably over time and with respect to the world’s constantly shifting political and economic realities. This excellent book provides a broad history of migration. . . . required reading for anyone interested in the future implications of this most compelling of human activities.”– Choice

“Exceptional People is packed with surprising insights. . . . this is a book of bold ambitions ably fulfilled.”– Daily Star, Bangladesh

Review in Journal of Regional Science James Raymer, Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, Australian National University

Review by Aristide R. Zolberg, Walter Eberstadt Professor of Politics and History Emeritus, New School for Social Research New York City

Review in  Journal of Human Development and Capabilities,  Ronald Skeldon, Department of Geography, University of Sussex

More reviews (Princeton University Press website)

Interviews and Press coverage:

Just how big should Australia be?
ABC News Australia, 15 May 2017

The economics of immigration
ABC News Australia, 11 May 2017

The Migrant Boon
Project Syndicate, 7 April 2017

Economic and social responsibilities of refugees
EuroNews, 2 November, 2016

Cost of refugees: humanity vs economy
EuroNews, 2 November, 2016

Five Books: Ian Goldin on Immigration
Five Books, 27 January, 2016

‘De migrant belichaamt de angst voor globalisering’
De Groene Amsterdammer, 6 January, 2016

Wir brauchen Migranten
Lëtzebuerger Journal, September 30, 2015

The Next Phase In Migrant Crisis: Helping The Newly Settled Land Jobs
NPR, September 24, 2015

“Die Schweiz muss wachsen”
Handelszeitung, September 17, 2015

Why welcoming more refugees makes economic sense for Europe
New Scientist, September 9, 2015

Einwanderung als Chance?
Aargauer Zeitung, September 5, 2015

Angela Merkel’s humane stance on immigration is a lesson to us all
The Guardian, August 30, 2015

The story of migration: Goldin talks U.S. dynamism and immigrant innovation
The Chautauquan Daily, July 18, 2015

How Migration Shaped Our World
Public Radio Exchange (PRX), July 17, 2015

More immigration – but managed much better. That’s what the UK needs
The Guardian, November 9, 2014

The merits of migration flows
China Daily, April 25, 2014

The Today Programme – interview on migration
BBC Radio 4, October 5, 2013

Speech at UN High Level Delegation on International Migration and Development
New York, 3 October 2013

What are the biggest misundertstandings about migration?
Backlight Talks, 20 September 2013

“We hebben nieuwkomers hard nodig” (interview in Dutch)
One World, no 7, September 2013

Exceptional People
European Journal of Development Research, 2013 25, 657-8

Book Summary: Exceptional People
Get Abstract, June 2013

How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future
Ian Goldin talks to Hein de Haas of the International Migration Institute (video) 08/04/13

De toekomst komt uit Afrika (The future comes from Africa)
Backlight VPRO (Dutch) Television documentary featuring Ian Goldin 23/02/13

Migration’s mighty steps
Radio New Zealand 19/11/2012

Immigrant nations
ABC Late Night Live (Australia) 10/10/12

Migration has helped great cities such as Venice and London to flourish, yet the topic remains an issue for nervous governments
LSE Review of Books 08/08/2012

Harnessing immigrant mobility means prosperity for all Canadians
The Globe and Mail, Canada 14/05/2012

Exceptional People
Liberales (article in Flemish) 2/04/112

Verliert nicht den Mut (Don’t lose courage)
Die Zeit (article in German) 08/03/12

The migrant as economic chess piece
Le monde diplomatique March 2012

Exceptional People wins PROSE book award
February 2012

Books of the Year: Page-turners
The Economist 10/12/11

Exceptional People
E (article in Greek) 20/11/11

The Gains and Losses of Migration
EuropeanVoice.com 10/11/2011

New Demographics 2011: Colliding forces
Financial Times 18/10/11

Ideas Bank Boost the economy: let in immigrants
Wired 01/11/11

Laurie Taylor interviews Professor Ian Goldin about ‘Exceptional People’
BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed 12/10/11

More migrants please, especially the clever ones
The Independent 11/10/2011

Top 20 Foreign Policy Books of the Year 2011
Embassy, Canada’s Foreign Policy Newspaper

Rethinking Migration
Cities of Migration Website, September2011

Book review: Exceptional People
Arab News, 08/09/11

È tempo di migrare (radio interview)
Radio 3 Scienza, 31/08/11

En verden i bevægelse
Weekendavise, 12/08/11

More immigrants are in Canada’s national interest
The Globe and Mail, 04/08/11

Dragon, eagle, elephant and black swan
Asia Times, 28/07/11

More workers on the move will bring economic benefits
Business Day, 26/07/11

Embrace immigrants
The Windsor Star, 22/07/11

Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped Our World and Will Define Our Future
Times Higher Education, 21/7/11

Canada has much to gain by embracing immigrants
The Vancouver Sun, 20/07/11

Why the World Should Embrace Immigration
Big Think, 18/07/11

Five Reasons Why We Should Embrace Migrants
The Wall Street Journal, 17/07/11

Canada has much to gain by embracing immigrants
Montreal Gazette, 14/07/11

Human mobility and economic development: Why migration makes sense
Economy Watch, 13/07/11

More migration is in everyone’s interest
Gulf Times, 12/07/11

Oxford professor Ian Goldin argues that migration is a force for good
Time Out Beijing, 11/07/11

An inexorable flow to richer lands
Financial Times, 10/07/11

Why more migration makes sense
The Business Times, 08/07/11

Why more migration makes sense
China Daily, 08/07/11

Why more migration makes sense
The Daily News Egypt, 07/07/11

Why more migration makes sense
CNN, 06/07/11

Les migrations sont une chance
Trop Libre, 05/07/11

Why more migration makes sense
Project Syndicate, 05/07/11

Immigration reform is overdue
History News Network, 03/07/11

La fuite des cerveaux, plus positive qu’on ne le pense
La fuite des cerveaux, plus positive qu’on ne le pens

Brain drain more positive than one might think (article in French)
L’Echo (Belgian daily newspaper), 28/06/11

Immigration: The Case for Open Borders
The Mark, 07/06/11

The Forum: Impacts of migration
BBC World Service, 04/06/11

Interview with Ian Goldin about his latest book, Exceptional People
Vox, 03/06/11

The future of mobility
The Economist, 26/05/11

Interview with Ian Goldin on The Notes
BlogTalkRadio, 18/05/11