Yankee migration: causes and reverse trends in urbanization.
In the past, we used to think of Yankee (1) as residents of the five boroughs (2) of New York City (referred to as the City). Presently we are not so sure. The high cost of residential life in the City, along with personal/corporate income and real estate taxations, may well be some of the factors forcing New York-bound migration and residency into limbo. The aftermath of this hardship is the gradual loss of the City's cosmopolitan character, momentum in industrialization, and the City's real estate revenue to neighboring smaller cities and towns. This anomaly is a warning sign of a greater future cost-driven migration catastrophe than the prevailing one. If the municipal government were to amend its taxation policy, making the cost of living commensurate with earned wages and capital-gains tax (to assure affordable cost of residential life and enterprise ownership in the City), this loss of revenue would be reversed; but if not, we should expect the situation to worsen.
I use the term migration in this article to specifically refer to the movement by past, present, and prospective Yankees as well as City-based small corporations from the City to smaller towns, which provide cheaper spatial square footage of renting residential and corporate property, running costs, and taxations than in the City. My use of the word, man, is not gender-biased, but rather it is inclusive of the feminine gender. I intend to approach my subject more from the unorthodox perspective of my empirical knowledge of the problems than from the traditional standpoint of reliance on existing scholarships on the subject, focusing solely on the internal rather than the international factors of human migration.
Four questions come to mind: 1) what are the reasons for the Yankee migration, 2) how can the accuracy of these reasons be ascertained in the light of numerous possibilities of the causes of migration, 3) who is to determine the accuracy of these possibilities, and 4) do Yankees migrate from the City voluntarily or because of certain unbearable economic hardships, forcing their movement to places of affordable costs of living and enterprise? Answering these questions will determine whether or not economics of life and of living in the City are exclusive reasons for these shifting trends. Suppose I say that certain economic theories of urbanization in the last century are stale and should be annulled as far as the applicability of these theories to the case study is concerned, i.e., industrialization is no longer the absolute factor of determining rural-to-urban migration; instead, certain urban-driven socio-economic conditions force shifting residency from big cities to adjoining smaller towns.
My aim, in this article, is to reexamine migration and residency culture in the City, using its past and present alien/undocumented residents and prospective migrants from developing civilizations as a case study. Adjunct to the central issue in the Yankee migration, I shall reexamine applicability of twentieth-century economic theories of urbanization and cosmopolitanism; will be guided by historical, philosophical, and empirically-collected data in advancing an argument to support my claim that migration of Yankees has recently been driven partly by a shift in conditions of living inconsistent with economic theories of urbanization (formulated in the last century); shall review selected philosophies and scholarships on migration and acculturation; will utilize collected data in thinking through and finding solutions to the problems, using Fela Kuti's notion of "waka-waka" job-hunting dilemma to show vicissitudes of daily life as fundamental to the case study.
A study of the reasons for human activity and culture should begin in the field (Becker 1998). The beginning of cultural study of societies in the field is right, insofar as people do not do the same thing for the same reason or engage in different practices for the same reason. "The world would be a dull place if everyone agreed on everything" and "if everyone thought the same, nothing would ever change" (anonymous captions of advertisements, London Gatwick Airport). But how right is Becker on the significance of a field trip to cultural studies?
Why should my empirical knowledge of the City count? I was an immigrant who lived, schooled, and worked in the City in the 1990s and am familiar with its cosmopolitan character, pros and cons of its educational system, as well as the immigration culture within. During that period, I intermingled with many permanent residents of the City and immigrants from developing societies and am conversant with how they thought about municipal life. Paying exorbitant apartment rent and taxes (both income and sales) to the City not only has prepared me to historicize the palpable high cost of living within and its effects on residency, attending graduate school in Brooklyn, New York, has also exposed me to learning about some of the most difficult social conditions of living and studying in the City. In addition to these, my experience working as a faculty member of a City-based institution of higher learning has made me come to terms with the competitive academies enticing international students to the City, and problems of work-study affecting these students. Furthermore, I worked for a small corporation in the City and this broadened my knowledge of the high over-head cost that small businesses struggle with to stay afloat.
The view I defend, concerning the City municipal government regulations and their effects on the Yankee migration (especially concerning issues of "excessive" taxation), is neither to justify the "rights" of illegal immigration nor to challenge governance. Instead, it is one that solicits a reassessment of cost/conditions of living in the City to ensure stability of labor, lessens crime, and minimizes induced immigration; bearing, of course, in mind the difference between the pragmatic and the theoretical reasons for migration. Preliminary investigation suggests that the most likely reasons for migration, in general, rest on the migrant's search for an affordable lifestyle. First, however, let me recall related history.
Prehistoric migration of human populations began about a million years ago with the movement of Homo-erectus out of Africa across Eurasia. Homo-sapiens, who scholars claim were direct descendants of Homo-erectus (and who are said to have colonized all of Africa about 150 millennia ago), migrated from Africa some 80 millennia ago spreading across Eurasia to Australia before 40 millennia ago, (3) probably for a reason as good as the economic one. While the economic undertone of the Homo-sapiens migration is a nolo contendere, recent scholarships, such as this, are not in agreement with the notion that Homo sapiens could have migrated solely to discover alien cultures of interest. It stands to reason that migration by people of preliterate societies set the pace for, and bridged the cultural gap between developed and developing civilizations.
Since Homo-erectus, the histories of human migration have been with us. Some call this an adventure, others exploration. Within these histories we recall adventures undertaken by Mongo Park, Richard Lander, David Livingston, and William Wilberforce; and which also cover histories of migration by Celtic Germanic tribes and the Bantu, including, of course, the history of the Yankee migration and similar developments elsewhere. Catalytic elements of these histories through stages of human development are conditioned mainly by the economic factor. At one time or another in human development, humans have migrated either for safety or in search of economic independence. Since Kant, the issue of probability of similar movement relative to cosmopolitanism has not been resolved (Fine and Smith 2003). Thus, it is worth considering human migration a necessary activity no matter how devastating the political repercussions. Otherwise, what can be more necessary than this? Indeed, the necessity for humans to migrate can best be illustrated using similar activities in the ecosystem.
Birds and insects migrate for the same reasons as humans. The Cattle Egrets that fly coast-to-coast in the tropics searching for insects do so because they are hungry. The places to which these birds fly constitute the sources of their livelihood and the cattle, which breed the insects (which are prey for the Egrets) are found in these geographic locations and period (in the tropics and the dry season). Yet, for these birds to travel from their places of hibernation in the rainy season to an insect-infested tropical location, they had to grow large and strong wings. Thus, the cattle on which the fleas perch become a temporary residence for the hungry.
Ants also come to mind and are extensively mentioned in historical accounts of migration. Like the Egrets, ants migrate in the dry season from their nest to wherever they can find food, often to ecosystems, (including remote islands). It is necessary for ants to migrate at this time as part of the plan toward their continuing existence, especially as the possibility of finding food in the rainy season is usually slim. The flight of the Egrets and the migration by ants can be used to ideally describe human migration as being an activity provoked by want of what St. Luke referred to as the "daily bread." This want, from the Christian theological perspective, seems to be an inevitable condition of existence, given that Christ, according to Luke, taught Christians to pray asking for the "daily bread," and they do ask. This means that the "daily bread" is significant to human life/living. People from other religions share this belief with Christians.
We have long assumed that human migration has been nothing but a voluntary activity. This is not the case. From the beginning, difficult economic-hardship conditions caused the cave man to think of a new way of improving his life and to move into a new phase of human development we have come to know as the Neolithic Age. Hostile climate of the wild and subsistent lifestyle forced the cave man to reject dependency on nature for livelihood and to search for a new way of life that was to make him self sufficient. To enter into this new phase of independency on nature, the cave man had to come-up with a sophisticated means of survival, entailing thinking of the cave as insufficient for residency and he eventually rejected it to settle in a self-designed place of abode. This erection of the first man-made structure marked the beginning of architecture simultaneously with the manufacture of defensive and offensive tools in primitive technology. Thus, we can say that economic hardship was largely the precursor of the Stone-Age man's evolution and his transition from a prehistoric to a historic society.
Since the Neolithic Age, man has continually been on the move. He has either been chasing something of interest or has been chased by something (or conditions in physical and metaphysical realms beyond his control). It is this built-in sense of man's adaptability to new cultural environments that has today made him more adventurous than we have realized. Indeed, the study of the history of his evolution, self-representation, race, and ethnicity involves tracing paths of his movement and those of his ancestors in order to better understand how the modern man thinks about life and what he wants in life. It also entails understanding all of the philosophical factors and conditions that shaped these paths with regards to human labor, production, and residency.
Plato pointed out, in his Republic, one of the most fascinating dynamics of labor in a political structure when he wrote that the origin of a state "lies in that 'natural' inequality of humanity that is embedded in the division of labor:"
Well then, how will our states supply these needs? It will need a farmer, a builder, and a weaver, and also, I think a shoemaker and one of the two others to provide for our bodily needs. So that a minimum state should consist of four or five men .... The Republic, Penguin Classics Edition.
To put Plato's point in perspective is to identify, first, the concept word in his question. What is the concept word and how important is it in our understanding the question? Let's say that, besides how, the concept word, here, is "needs," but what needs and how might these be satisfied? Without getting into a detailed analysis of these "needs," we can, at least, say that Plato was referring to needs of labor and the significance of labor to the industrialization of the state (and to that of the city). He was questioning the lack of full utilization and distribution of these needs in areas of low-skilled and specialized industrial production.
Sir William Petty (4) (1623-1687), the English economist, philosophically understood each of the various facets of the division of labor as being crucial to production. Almost a century afterwards, David Hume, seemingly corroborating Petty's position, made mention of "partition of employment" in "A Treatise of Human Nature" (Hume 1739), arguing that power is augmented by conjunction of forces, i.e., partitioning employment increases the ability to perform a task.
Three and a half decades later, Adam Smith, in his An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), (an account of political economy at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution), predicted that increase in industrial productivity depended largely on not only supply but also division of labor. Division of labor, he argued, represents and reproduces a qualitative increase in productivity. What Smith may not have realized is that division of labor could not be possible without adequacy of labor supply; that inadequate labor supply could paralyze production, and that labor had not always been produced internally but externally as well. Plato saw this point of argument differently from Smith by contending that the state could not do without reliance on external labor. I shall discuss this point later.
A scholar has rightly pointed out that, in our postmodern world, those experts most preoccupied in their work with theorizing about the division of labor in various corporations and government functionaries are managers and organizers rather than philosophers. Some of these managers are oblivious of the role immigrants play in the sustenance of the industrial economy of the state. Given what has been described as the global extremities of the division of labor, and controversies over what type of division of labor would be most ideal, acceptable, and pragmatic, the question arises as to how we might adequately supply labor to New York City's industrial economy. Even with the use of the most sophisticated manufacturing technology, it seems that division of labor can hardly substitute for adequacy-of-labor supply. And so the answer to "how will our states supply these needs?" can be unanswered by unquestioning the question: how can the City procure and retain its industrial labor needs without amending its immigration policy in favor of a more generous granting of immigrant visas, and reducing residency cost? There are two ways of retaining labor: by offering competitive wages and reducing the cost of living. The internalization of labor procurement has caused inadequacy of supply, and retention worsened by the continuing movement of labor from areas of production to places where cost of living is affordable. This results in the paralysis of dynamics in the division of labor--forcing labor dependency on international supply.
Some have argued that labor hierarchy is inevitable as is human migration because no one can do all the tasks at once. That the way these hierarchies are structured can be influenced by a variety of different factors. What is hierarchy, must it be mono-ethnically or -nationally constituted; if not, what role have international immigrants (from various specialized fields of human endeavor) played in this chain of command in the City? How much economic hardship in the City is too much for its residents to warrant their exit? It is true, as one philosophical position has suggested, that the most equitable principle in allocating people within hierarchies is that of a true (proven) competency or ability. What this position fails to inform us is that effective and marketable skills are taught more in a cosmopolitan setting than in a parochial domain. Here, we begin to see the significance of competent labor from multi-national sources to North American industries and dependency of these factories on such labor.
We are given to understand that in capitalist economies, competency and ability are not decided consciously; different people try different things, and that which is most effective (produces the most and best output with the least input) will generally be adopted. Techniques, we are told, that often work well in one place or time do not work as well in another. As some economists have argued, this does not present a problem since the only requirement of a capitalist system is the value of our outputs exceeding the value of our inputs (Jorgenson and Griliches 1967).
The view I defend with regard to the significance of the division of labor is not the time-efficient one in which repetitions in the trajectory of production lead to faster ways of performing a task, but the one in which adequacy of labor compensates the relative cost of living (Hume 1739). If paid wages were commensurate with competence of labor, this would lead to not just availability of labor resources but to their retention for a guaranteed increase in productivity.
The empiricist Fela Kuti (5) utilized his urban perambulation job-hunting philosophy to call attention to the rupture of law-enforcement/political judgment by distinguishing between pragmatic empiricism and sensational formalism in the state. The human activity which should constitute illegal migration or wandering, Fela contended, should, by the twentieth-century standard of legislation, have been carefully studied prior to passing legislation insensitive to the liberty of the common man and his unending job-hunting dilemma.
How does the urban perambulation job-hunting model explain the changing demographics of New York City (a much more sophisticated City than Lagos city for which the model was formulated), i.e., how pragmatic is this model if used in balancing the authority of the politically powerful (the state and its law-enforcement agents) with the needs of the economically weak (a majority of the governed)? I argue this point: political censor of labor and economic needs of the people are like water and oil, which rarely mix (and if these should, must be heated to a boiling temperature). The state law-enforcement agents and the unemployed members of the public seldom mix well. In the case of the City as a state within a larger State, the unemployed is most likely to engage in criminal activity, and crime and law do not mix. This model paints a clearer picture of the dilemma of the job-hunter when confronted by law enforcement in course of the hunt, consistent with Fine and Smith's (Fine and Smith 2003) challenge of Jurgen Habermas's Theory of Cosmopolitanism (corroborating Kant's original idea of cosmopolitan justice).
Accosting the job hunter, and filing charges against him or her, adds salt to injury. These actions undermine the very need of labor to fuel the City's industrial needs and keep its economy buoyant. Here, the continuing residency of competent Yankee immigrants in the City helps keep its economy afloat. Paradoxically, when it comes to censoring immigration, the City's law-enforcement agent and their federal counterparts have often taken immigrants' search for employment as wandering and have continually accosted them (as if to say that the frowning face of he-goat does not prevent its sale).
Since Kuti, issues in availability of employment and the negotiation of public space between the city job-hunter and the law-enforcement agent have reached a point of diminishing resolution. But the one thing that has attracted the people's consensus opinion is that a man must not be arrested in the course of his job hunting, at least not in the City. "A man gotta do what a man gotta do," after all. Illegal immigration is a matter of demand and supply. We see this daily cultural interchange in the demand for, and dependency on, labor in the supply. No economic theory of urbanization can be more pragmatic than the empirical knowledge of the problems, and this explains why the dispute over legislation and legislating contextually remains unsettled. However, unemployment is not all that reproduces crime, earned low wages do as well as "class consciousness of frequent traveler" (Calhoun 2002).
A seismic cultural change can be either good or bad. A study of the demographic profile of Latin American cities reveals that economic-driven city-to-city migration has been marred by what Daniel Hernandez calls a culture of rejection of "mostly poor and marginalized" people (Hernandez 2008). According to the study, what often passes for a theoretical account of human migration is a perceptive remark. The eyes can see, and be used in analyzing, recent or even instant cultural developments better than theory.
The history of rural-to-urban human migration spans human history itself. Its origin dates back to the Neolithic Age and its heritage remains with us and will probably be passed down to posterity. This migration began as a perceptive thought (of life improvement by the prehistoric man) that is known today as a dream. Some dreams come true while others do not. Dreams come true not by mere dreaming but by the dreamers exercising such hope with which the dreams can be nurtured to actualization, such as a dream futuristic and hopeful as Martin Luther King's and Senator Barack Obama's remarks. King's "...we shall see the promised land" and Obama's "yes we can" campaign slogan put this point of hoping for the American dream across in its clearest perspective.
Living the American dream amounts to an adventure, or a series of consecutive adventures, in which all roads as well as air and sea ports of entry lead to the City. Immigrants are determined to live this dream by not just gaining entry into the City, but employment and residency as well. For them the "daily bread" can be found nowhere but in the City; hence, they migrate to the City at all cost and by all means. This is what they know to be the American dream. The Big Apple offers immigrants a variety of employment opportunities (believed to be part of a fair share of the nation's cake). These immigrants migrate to the City to realize the American dream; yet, it takes immigrants with solid economic standings to live in the City for an extended period of time. The handsome wages that City-based corporations and municipal government provide to employees are not in dispute when discussing the strength of employee residency; however, the balance of wages with spending is in dispute.
The handsome wages which the private, corporate, and public sectors pay to employee heads of household are seldom commensurate with the average household monthly expenditures. The American dream, in the past, meant gaining meaningful employment, keeping the employment, and saving money for incidental needs and retirement. Recent economy-driven developments have given rise to shifting demographics of the City against economic theories of urbanization from the twentieth-century. Man cannot count on availability of the "daily bread" in the City as he did in the past, given the prevailing inflation rate and the economic devastating aftermath of 9/11. While food items are relatively affordable, renting a studio apartment in the City costs approximately eleven-hundred dollars a month. Many people cannot afford the cost of rent and the cumulative monthly household expenditure. Over the years these problems have accounted for a change in the City's cosmopolitan character--a critical component of its economic productivity history and industrial growth, i.e., residents and small corporations have migrated from the City to smaller adjoining cities and towns where the cost of living/operating business is more affordable than in the City.
Therefore, the ultimate achievement of the American dream at the corporate level is staying in business and prospering, which includes employee retention in employment. Many factors determine whether or not a corporation of any size can stay in business: cost of owning or renting corporate space, property and business taxations, minimum-wage regulations, and other overhead cost. For the employee, staying in business depends on how well the employer does, paid wages, and whether monthly earned wages are commensurate with monthly household expenditures. High mortgage payments and real-estate taxation have forced rampant foreclosure of property of delinquent owners, as well as high sales tax leading to a thrifty way of life. The dense population of the City poses problems of crime control and socio-cultural degeneracy, causing Yankees to migrate elsewhere. Overpopulated schools have resulted in limited classroom space and teacher difficulty in effectively teaching a huge class. Similarly, the high auto insurance premiums pose the problem of an alarming number of uninsured motorists driving in the City. Empiricists agree that the length of residency of a Yankee migrant or even a City-based corporation depends not only on the availability of employment and labor, but also on the license to conduct business and the favorability of employment conditions in the establishment, as well as the auspiciousness of operating an enterprise.
The fight against poverty has been a tough and unending one. Poverty is fast becoming a problem causing feet of Yankees to itch for migration (which they frequently do), not voluntarily but by induction. The United States Department of Homeland Security (referred to as the Department) has paid more attention to the international rather than to the internal migration. As a result of this lapse, the Yankee migration has eluded the Department. Oblivious of the severe repercussions of the neglect of this attention-deserving matter the Department has prioritized surveillance of the country's international boarders over addressing some of the most pressing factors influencing urban-to-rural migration of residents from many of North American big cities. This lacking equity in the distribution of the censor of territoriality is troubling (to the extent of negating the very pro-immigrant foundation factor of our democracy and capitalist economy).
Selecting the City as a place of residency is partly based on the migrants' conviction that it offers them considerable exposure to sophisticated technology and places of conviviality, consistent with one scholar's description of Manhattan as the center of the civilized world, i.e., a place in which "man must wak" (6) and be proud to be a "beento." (7) However, can man wak without gaining employment, or must he sleep when "the City never sleeps?" Whether or not man should wak or sleep he knows that "when the going gets tough, the tough get going." When the City's economy gets tough, Yankees get moving.
The term "economics" comes from the Greek for oikos (house) and nomos (custom or law), meaning "rules of the house (hold)" (Harper 2001). Some have suggested that of all modern economic theories developed from a broader field of political economy, Lionel Charles Robbins' [Baron Robbins] (1898-1984), a British economist, is one of the most applicable ones to the study of human migration and settlement. Robbins' theory redefines economics as "a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses," and as instrumental to the shifting of Anglo-Saxon economics from its Marshallian position (Marshall 1890). Yet, the relevance of Adam Smith's political economy model (documented in An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations) to study twenty-first century demographics of cosmopolitan New York City cannot be ignored.
When it comes to studying industrial societies, processes of social and industrial change are worth considering. Given the substance in Smith's work, expanding upon the pursuit of self-interest and freedom-of-trade as two of the three major concepts forming the foundation of free market economics, one can corroborate the position that social change and economic development in the City are closely related to technological innovation, which may or may not negate trends in residency of labor.
Two major types of economic hardship exist: the malignant and the benign (this article focuses on the former). Of these two, high taxations constitute the malignant and consumer goods the benign--both induce migrants' feet to itch for a walk away from the City. Several factors account for the Yankee migration and these include, as I have already stated, the unaffordable high cost of auto insurance premiums forcing some motorists to drive without insurance coverage; this, in turn, reproduces greater financial hardship on other motorists who have to buy additional uninsured-motorist coverage to accommodate the uninsured during accidents.
The difficult financial-hardship conditions confronting low-income-earning Yankees have led to schools formulating strategies to minimize high cost of educating students of economically disadvantaged families. As a way of reducing the cost of education of pupils in kindergarten through middle-school levels, some school administrators ask financially-capable parents to donate old uniforms (that their children have outgrown) to those students whose families cannot afford to buy new uniforms for them. Due to rising inflation and the post-9/11 rehabilitation difficulty, an increase in tuition fees has almost reached a record level, and some parents are forced to relocate where these fees are more affordable. Similarly, the current crude oil price of $125 per barrel, makes commuting to work in the City from the suburbs a capital project for many Yankees in the middle income-earning bracket and below. Property value in the suburbs has fallen against the rising value of property in the City.
Between 1970 and 2002, the City municipal government generated perhaps as much revenue in transportation as it lost to the out-of-state real-estate industry. The City's Grand Central Station, the 42nd St. Bus Terminal, and South Ferry Terminal have served as centers for rail, bus, and river travel connections to its vicinities, with services to Connecticut, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Staten Island. The Subway system has helped in considerably reducing high vehicular-traffic congestion (which can make traveling around the City a difficult experience). The availability of the forgoing forms of transportation is essential to Yankees commute to and from the City, making residing outside the City a worthwhile adventure.
It is true that the City has maintained its infrastructure and provided essential services to Yankees, but the high cost of living within the City is hardly affordable, even though some of them love and can afford the cost. All the same, a lot more Yankees who cannot afford the high cost of living are deeply unhappy and migrate elsewhere. Those who could not afford owning homes in the City are glad to have homes of their own in other localities. These homes might not be as sophisticated as the ones in the City, and their far-distant locations pose long commutes to work in the City; still, they are homes with cheaper square-footage of interior space and have larger open outdoor spaces (for recreational activities) than those in the City. Gaining employment where it can be found is a good idea, but maintaining residency in the place of employment can be a difficult task in the event of economic hardship.
Unbearable economic hardship (resulting from high personal income and rental property taxations) has brought about loss of hope for the Yankees. Much has changed in the City's economy since the 9/11 episode. Many Yankees are no longer able to keep-up with the economic demands of the municipal government resulting from the massive loss of corporations and allied ventures to neighboring suburban towns. Some of the corporations, whose clientele crumbled with the World Trade Center, do not seem to have much chance of surviving the hardship in the City for an extended period of time, not only in the light of the much debated question of the generally experienced "recession" in the United States, but even more so in the austerity-measures aftermath of the 9/11 episode.
Yankees are not immune to factors influencing the relocation of urban dwellers and corporations from big cities to smaller ones, so has it been since the last two decades. They are vulnerable to changing demographics. Besides the high-cost factors of living in the City, Yankees migration from the City has called to question twentieth-century theories of urbanization and their proposition of industrialization or the search for its benefits as the sole reason for urbanization. In contrast, some of the theories have been found to be obsolete, inasmuch as these theories hardly can be applied to study cultural developments in the twenty-first century (Fine and Smith 2003), which raises the question of how much of the theories can ideally be utilized to study and justify recent trends in human migration.
While Yankees do not prefer to migrate from the City, the frowning face of a he-goat does not prevent its sale, I argue. The Yankees' change of residency is as necessary as the sale of a he-goat, i.e., it is a necessity of "commerce." Conditions which cause the migration of Yankees to smaller towns are far from voluntary. These conditions are, by definition of hardship, induced and philosophically explained in the Efik adage: the hunchback that a smoked crayfish wears is not a congenital disorder but results from excessive heat condition of the grill. The decision to relocate from the City has never been an easy one. Not given long emotional attachment of Yankees to the niceties of the City. However, intolerable socio-economic conditions in place of residency stimulate unavoidable comfort- and career-driven (9) movements to destinations of affordable living.
The number of competitive schools in rural and suburban towns has considerably increased, so has the number of vocational institutions teaching high technical skills. Initial perceptive analysis of these shifting trends in the studied historical period suggests that a significant number of immigrants from developing civilizations, and indeed City-based corporations, have migrated to suburban towns almost equally as they have from suburban to urban. Explanations for the shift rest on observational study of human habits suggesting that humans do not do the same thing for the same reason, nor do they feel shared hardship in the same degree.
There are disadvantages of living outside the City which makes the decision to relocate a dicey one (but some Yankees say the risk is worth taking). The paramountcy of the decision rests on the beliefs Yankees hold that cheaper square-footage of renting residential and corporate spaces is a major advantage of residing and operating a business outside of the City; that the overhead cost of corporate operations is cheaper, and that children are more likely to have larger residential playgrounds to play in, outside of rather than in the City.
During the August 2008 sessions of the Oxford Round Table discourse of illegal human migration at St. Anne's College of the University of Oxford, England, participants focused their presentations more on the international rather than on the internal migration within the United States. Nearly all of the topics centered on either porosity or solidity of the country's international borders, with the majority of the presentations touching upon the U.S./Mexico borders. It became clear that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been censoring the international immigration more than the internal immigration, and that not much attention has been paid to the internal factor of human migration. Participants advanced mind-stimulating questions, answers and concerns from historical, humanitarian, and philosophical perspectives of reasoning.
Virginia Adrien Cuellar-Mcguire, Professor of Cultural Studies, contended that sporadic building of fences at the US/Mexico borders, which deter illegal migration, was a counterproductive effort reminding us of the much historically-condemned construction of the Berlin Wall by the Nazis. Responding to this, A. B. Villanueva, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, supported the contention by maintaining that not only has part of the fence forced out a certain part of an American school to Mexico's territory, the unfenced areas provide unrestricted illegal immigrant access into the United States. Villanueva and Ndinzi Masagara, Professor of Foreign Language/Literature, put the Round Table on notice of the immigrant-foundation history of the United States and regretted that the country has been drifting away from its political fundamentalism.
Morales-Gudmundsson, Professor of Spanish Language and Literature; and Gregory Praveza, Dean of the School of Health and Human Services, questioned the irrationality with which U.S. border patrol agents have continually censored international immigration. The questioning concerned the arresting of illegal immigrants on the basis of racial profiling. They argued that unwritten fundamental law of human rights has not been adequately considered in the formulation of U.S. policy on immigration. The Round Table was informed that the "New Christian Voices have been providing essential services to illegal detainees" (Morales-Gudmundsson's summary statement) as part of humanitarian intervention in what seems to be one of the most debated subjects in American political history; but Gudmundsson acknowledged that these voices were not loud enough to influence a change in legislation in favor of the immigrant detainees. While Gudmundsson's point was well taken, it fell short of addressing the fundamental issue of the separation of church from state. She did not explain how the church and state can be separate on the one hand and commingle on the other.
Marlborough Packard, Professor of Art and Design, rested the argument in his presentation on censored immigration, describing this as an activity guided by a philosophical notion of accepting the familiar and rejecting the unfamiliar. The economically-disadvantaged others, he added, were the most affected. Packard recalled that nearly all entries of immigrants into the United States were rejected at one time in the country's political history, but that time has been the greatest healer of ethnic conflict and rejection, maintaining that we lack the patience when addressing the issue. (He concluded that the problem will run its course over time). Packard's position is akin to Trinh T. Minh-ha's concept of the other" challenging the marginalization of "the other" and describing it as an un-welcomed aspect of exclusionary politics.
Throughout this article, two of my pressing concerns have been the analysis of problems of economic hardship and the question of the ideal mechanism for the regulation of taxations in the City commensurate with employee-earned wages. To the non-academic mind, these problems become less complex but more challenging if taken for granted that problem one, in effect, does not constitute problem two, even though it is equally problematic. The reality is that both constitute cause/effect problems for analysis. Therefore, problem one brings about problem two, even though it might be more tolerable.
I started by querying and analyzing factors militating against immigrant Yankees and small business entrepreneurs in the City, with regard to the question of affordability of residential and commercial spaces. I proposed to reevaluate the sufficiency of outdated economic theories by studying recent patterns of human migration against the notion that the "urban population growth is generally far more rapid than total population growth, with about half the urban growth accounted for by migrants from the rural areas" (Schwirian and Prehn 1962).
I have relied on my empirical knowledge of activities in terrains and ecosystems to show that the reason for which Yankees migrate from the City is not different from the reason for which other residents of big cities move from those cities, i.e., because of economic hardship. Mindful of American people's sensitivity to the subject and controversies surrounding it, I have carefully avoided justifying illegal immigration to the United States, partly because doing so is beyond the aim and scope of this article. I have been guided largely by the Udo-Ibanga repatriation adage: that Ibanga's adventure to Fernando Po was prompted by economic need, but that this repatriation is justified on the basis of his illegal immigration/residency status in that island of "Equatorial Guinea."
Unlike their ancient predecessor explorers whose ulterior motif to explore the world might have rested on the discovery of economic fortunes, contemporary migrants from developing nations migrate to the City either to escape from political persecution and/or to search for a greener pasture, and the latter is inconsistent with the Kantian notion of cosmopolitanism and its proposition of a framework of formal natural law. This explains, in part, shifting trends in urbanization and the necessity of a rewrite of economic theories on urbanization. Jurgen Habermas attempted to do this in his ".... Theory of Cosmopolitanism" challenged on the basis of it suggesting that "Kant's idea of cosmopolitan right is as relevant to our times as it was to Kant's own" (Fine and Smith 2003).
Migration of Yankees from the City is not less important than their migration to the City, not when manufacturing is crucial to New York City's economy (Moss 1997). The need for labor force in the informal economic sector of the City is as important as it is in the formal sector, i.e., "about half of the urban labor force works in the informal sector" (Schwirian and Prehn 1962). If this estimated fifty percent of the total labor force representative of immigrants occupying positions in low skilled, self-employment, and petty sales and services jobs is accurate, and it is true that an influx of skilled immigrants is one of the three major factors giving "New York City a strong future in manufacturing high-value goods (Moss 1997), it should then follow that immigrants play a significant role in the City's economy; and reexamining factors that cause outward-bound migration from the City, and putting these in check, are important.
The Yankee migration is induced and is also a human right which marks the turning point in the reformulation of economic theories of urbanization and history. However, one question comes to mind: how can we accept cultural exchange when resolving an issue involving the human right of migration without rejecting fundamental human rights, i.e., how might we censor migration of the Yankees consistent with trends in globalization without taking cultural exchange to mean cultural corruption? We do not have to provide an instant-answer to the question, but we do have the "food for thought."
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(1) The term Yankee(s) is used in this presentation only in referring to the inhabitants of New York City.
(2) New York City comprises of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island boroughs.
(3) For further reading on evolution of early-human migration, see Geoffrey Parker (ed.), Compact History of the World (London: Times Books, 2006), 12.
(4) Sir William Petty was the first modern scholar to write about division of labor and the importance of its application to production in Dutch shipyards
(5) Fela was an Afro-beat king (known for his radical civil rights activism) who used most of his musical albums as vehicle for challenging government wrong doings, which ranged from police brutality to civil servant misappropriation of public funds and to judiciary injustice. His articulation of the conflict between the unemployed and state law-enforcement agents has challenged the academic mind to reassess some of the most pressing socioeconomic issues confronting the unemployed in developing civilizations, and the failure on the part of state to be sensitive to these problems.
(6) Wak is a term in Pidgin English commonly used by some Nigerians in referring to eat or eating, or even to a meal. When the Sapele people say wak chop, they mean eat food; they also say wakies instead of wak when referring to food.
(7) Beento is a slang coined by the ancient Efik of Southern Nigeria to refer to one who had been to London. However, this slang is used in this article to refer to persons who have been to New York City ("the center of the civilized world.")
(8) The Marshallian theory brought about the idea of supply and demand, of marginal utility and the cost of production into a coherent whole. The volume became the dominant economics textbook in England for a long period.
(9) As more and more corporations are being established in rural towns, employment opportunities are gradually shifting from urban to rural areas, thus encouraging career-search movement to the rural areas.
Onoyom Godfrey Ukpong, Assistant Professor of Art History and of Philosophy, Department of Visual Arts, Southern University and A & M College, Louisiana, USA
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|Author:||Ukpong, Onoyom Godfrey|
|Publication:||Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2008|
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