Coming to a deeper understanding of globalization

As many of you know NDN has been a leader in the fight to improve and reform our broken immigration system through two year long effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  During the course of what has become an epic political battle, it has become clear to me that this issue of immigration - or more appropriately "migration" - is going to one of the central issues facing America and the world in the years ahead. 

In today's New York Times, the ever able Jason DeParle offers a sweeping opening article in what will be a series of stories about global migration.  There is much to recommend about the piece, but the one thing you shouldn't miss is the global map from the Migration Policy Institute showing annual migration rates around the world in this decade. 

The map underscores what a unique moment in history we are living in.  A series of developments - the collapse of communism, a period of relative political stability and global peace, the incredible spread of information technology, the success of Clinton era trade liberalization policies - has created an unprecedented, dynamic and truly global economy.   Goods, information, money are moving around the world with every greater speed.   Hundreds of millions have risen from poverty in the just the past decade.  Half of he world's six billion people are now connected to the global communications network through mobile phones or the internet.   We live in a time of tremendous progress, where the standard of living of people throughout the world is rising at historic levels, and where we are becoming more connected to one another than ever before. 

This progress of course is not without areas of concerns.  Large parts of Africa and the Middle East have been slow to take advantage of the new opportunities this period brings.  New growth brings greater pressure on the environment throughout the world.  Greater demand for oil has empowered petrodictators like Chavez and Putin.  And what DeParle's piece lays out is how rising standards of living, greater mobility, this communications revolution will all make it more likely that an even greater number of people will choose to migrate from their home countries in the coming years.  People are trying to move with the same speed as the rest of global capitalism.  But of course, it isn't that easy, as we are finding out with the immigration battle here in the United States. 

That's why I believe this immigration battle, and the ones certainly to follow, are so important.  This debate says so much about our ability to understand the moment we are in, how the world and the United States are changing, and come up strategies and plans to help our great nation and its people prosper in it.  The people and the nations of the world, increasingly, to borrow from Bono, are becoming "one."  There has perhaps never been a moment in human history where it has been more true that "we are all in this together."  In many ways these developments are exciting, wonderful, hopeful.  But the emergence, power and increasing velocity of globalization in the early 21st century is also challenging cultures, identity, governments and the very idea of the state itself in ways that I dont think we've done a whole lot of thinking about. 

But that's why we started our Globalization Initiative last year, and we have fought so hard to help resolve this immigration debate in a way that works for all Americans, current and future.  Our new century requires a whole lot of new thinking, and I know of no better community to help lead the way in helping America meet the new challenges of our new day than the one we've built together here at NDN.