Studies of Urbanization and Migration in Advanced and Developing Countries
Edited by H. S. Geyer
Chapter 2: An exploration in migration theory
H. S. Geyer CONCEPTS THAT SHAPED MIGRATION THEORY The effect that labour migration had on countries of origin was one of the important issues classical economists dealt with in the advanced economies of Europe fiom the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. At the time, the economic strength of a country was measured by the size of its labour force, and Mercantilists generally argued that the labour force of sending countries would be weakened by emigration. The Mercantilist period was characterized by government control of the economy. Adam Smith's (1776) views on economic liberation and the reduction of government control, however, heralded the blossoming of the free market system (Waters, 1928). This change brought about large scale rural-urban migration, first in Britain and later also in the rest of Europe. The new urban migrants served both as a labour force in the growing industrial sector and as consumers of manufactured goods. Mechanical inventions such as water-powered and steam-driven machines characterized the Industrial Revolution in Britain (Cunningham, 1882; Waters; 1928; Mantoux, 1931), a revolution that later spilled over to other parts of Europe and North America. As in a chain of cause and effect, this mechanization, combined with a continued stream of rural-urban migrants who over-estimated employment opportunities in the industrial sector, resulted in over-urbanization, further urban unemployment' and eventually, the colonization of the Third World (Shrestha, 1988). Fuelled by ideas of free trade and the possible economic gains the manipulation of factor shifts could bring, political economists for the first By...
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