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Most commentators look at the issue of immigration from the viewpoint of immediate politics. In doing so, they focus on only a piece of the issue and lose touch with the larger picture. Now Thomas Sowell offers a sweeping historical and global look at a large number of migrations over a long period of time.Migrations and Cultures: shows the persistence of cultural traits, in particular racial and ethnic groups, and the role these groups' relocations play in redistributing skills, knowledge, and other forms of "human capital." answers the question: What are the effects of disseminating the patterns of the particular set of skills, attitudes, and lifestyles each ethnic group has carried forth--both for the immigrants and for the host countries, in social as well as economic terms?

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780465045891
ISBN-10: 0465045898
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 127mm x 27mm)
Pages: 528
Imprint: Basic Books
Publisher: The Perseus Books Group
Publish Date: 31-Jan-1997
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Sowell here fills in some of the background on ethnic groups he surveyed in his 1994 Race and Culture. Paradoxically, perhaps (because the author has seldom lacked the courage of his resolutely conservative convictions), the result wants for the impact a more rigorous analysis of its frequently fascinating anecdotal detail could have provided. While the world grows both smaller and more fragmented by the day, Sowell observes that globally dispersed ethnic groups continue to play important roles in countries foreign to their heritage. In aid of this premise, the author canvases six peoples - Germans, Japanese, Italians, Chinese, Jews, and Indians - who have made themselves commercial/cultural forces beyond their homelands. While these transnational tribes have vastly different pasts, the author (a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution) suggests they share certain adaptive attributes, including a passion for education, industriousness, family ties that bind, and a sense of mutual dependence that helps them adjust to sociopolitical or economic change without significant loss of unity. He draws largely on historical narratives and statistical data (much of which is ten or more years old). Thus, he recounts how Jews, prior to the 1948 establishment of Israel, gained an economic foothold as minority middlemen in nations throughout Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and even Asia. At the same time, entrepreneurial Indians, unable to prosper in the subcontinent's crowded, caste-ridden milieu, flourished in the diamond trade, entertainment, finance, and high-tech enterprises that place a premium on engineering skills in venues far from the mother country. By contrast, Sowell points out, over 80 percent of 36 million overseas Chinese have made their way in Asia, closer to their ancestral homes than most expatriate groups. But Sowell reaches precious few conclusions about the implications of mankind's chronic mobility. In consequence, his fact-filled text falls well short of its potential to inform, let alone enlighten. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, University of California Los Angeles, and Amherst. He has published both scholarly and popular articles and books on economics, and is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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