"Peo Hansen’s superb new book dismantles the dominant idea in political circles that there is a trade-off between migration and the sustainability of the welfare state. Using the insights of modern monetary theory, this politically urgent book reveals the xenophobic reality hidden beneath discourses of sound finance and claims of fragile solidarity. Hansen’s deeply humane and pragmatic account of the issues has the potential to transform our understandings of migration and open up the space for different political possibilities. This book should be on the desk of every journalist, politician and policy-maker in the European Union and beyond." – Gurminder Bhambra, University of Sussex
"A timely book on the supposed trade-off between migration and the sustainability of the welfare state. Hansen’s skilful debunking of the 'sound finance' view demonstrates that there is no 'fiscal burden' when it comes to migration. Migrants are an essential part of the workforce and contribute to the economy. Hansen successfully rewires our thinking about migration and the economy. I highly recommend this superb book." – Dirk Ehnts, Institute for International Political Economy, Berlin
"In this important intervention, Peo Hansen explodes the treacherous and false opposition between moral and fiscal imperatives that dominates contemporary discourse around asylum and migration in Europe. He deftly interrogates the dubious but pervasive assumptions about the purported 'costs' of admitting refugees that serve to construct them as an economic burden, and elaborates a sophisticated alternative theory that repudiates the pernicious myth that migration is damaging to economic wellbeing. This book is essential reading." – Nicholas De Genova, University of Houston, Texas
Current migration policy is based on a seemingly neutral accounting exercise, in which migrants contribute less in tax than they receive in welfare assistance. A “fact” that justifies increasingly restrictive asylum policies. Peo Hansen shows that this consensual cost-perspective on migration is built on a flawed economic conception of the orthodox “sound finance” doctrine prevalent in migration research and policy.
By examining migration through the macroeconomic lens offered by modern monetary theory, Hansen is able to demonstrate sound finance’s detrimental impact on migration policy and research, including its role in stoking the toxic debate on migration in the European Union. More importantly, Hansen’s undertaking offers the tools with which both migration research and migration policy could be modernized and put on a realistic footing.
1. Migration: "mother of all problems" 2. The fiscal impact of migration 3. A modern migration theory 4. Demography, security and the shifting conjunctures of the EU’s external labour migration policy 5. Labour migration in a sound finance policy logic 6. Why EU asylum policy cannot afford to pay demographic dividends 7. "We need these people": refugee spending, fiscal impact and refugees' real bearing on Sweden’s society and economy 8. Conclusion
Peo Hansen is Professor of Political Science at the Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society (REMESO), Linkoping University, Sweden. He has written extensively on questions of migration, citizenship and identity and how they relate to the political economy of European integration. His books include The Politics of European Citzenship (with Sandy Brian Hager) and Eurafrica: The Untold History of European Integration and Colonialism (with Stefan Jonsson).