The deeper causes of migration

April 2016

Management consultant Udo Herrmannstorfer argues that the causes of the refugee flows are not only connected with the life-threatening situations in their countries but also have to be sought at a much deeper level.

Speaking at an event on questions of social threefolding in Stuttgart in February, he said that although „gigantic efforts“ were being made to cope with the everyday practical challenges posed by the flow of refugees, the same effort was not being made to investigate the causes which had led to this precarious situation.

Herrmannstorfer, who heads the Institute of Contemporary Economic and Social Organisation in Dornach/Switzerland, emphasised that it was not enough to look for the causes of the movement of refugees only on a physical level by pointing to the exploitation of their countries of origin through the market economy: “The actual causes lie much, much deeper.”

In Herrmannstorfer’s view they are also connected with the spiritual development of human beings and not just with the life-threatening circumstances in the countries of origin brought about by war and the economic situation. “All cultures will sooner or later have to learn to cope with the fact that people are starting to feel themselves as independent.”  

Striving for freedom

The consciousness that each person is free as an individual would spread, “that is unavoidable, that is part of our time”. People laid claim to their independence even if the underlying motivation was not always clear to them: “The striving for freedom has become an indispensable element of contemporary life.”

Herrmannstorfer was speaking at the colloquium “Open questions in the relationship between cultural life, the economy and the state” at Forum3 in Stuttgart. The presentations have been published in the March issue of the journal Sozialimpulse.

The colloquium also discussed the increasing importance of civil society as a third force alongside the market and the state, something which was also evident in the way the influx of refugees was being managed.

It was a characteristic of civil society commitment, Clara Steinkellner said in her contribution, that it always had its origin in individual people and also depended on them. All civil society organisations, from small associations to large NGOs such as Amnesty International had been “founded by concrete people, owed their existence to the ‘spark’ of a conversation round the kitchen table,”  Steinkellner, author of a book on civil society engagement in education (see below), said.

Source: nna

Reference: Clara Steinkellner, Menschenbildung in einer globalisierten Welt. Perspektiven einer zivilgesellschaftlichen Selbstverwaltung unserer Bildungsräume, Edition Immenente Berlin 2012.

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