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Aspects of globalization:
Remittances in Development.
Democratic deficits inside the
“liberal” state.
Saskia Sassen
Columbia University
Presented in Delhi, June 18, 2008
Immigrant Remittances in
Worldwide Immigration
1975: 85 million international immigrants in
the world, or 2.1% or world population
 2000: 175 million or 2.9%
 2005 est.: between 185-192 million
Adding unauthorized/undocumented is
estimated to add up to a third of totals.
Source: World Bank 2006; 2007
Most international migrations are
South to South
About 30 countries account for over 75%
of all immigration
- 11 of these are developed countries,
with over 40% of all immigrants.
- most immigrants are in developing
Immigrant remittances
US$ 70 billion in 1998
US$ 230 billion in 2005
- of this total amount, $US168 billion went to
developing countries, up 73% over 2001.
For Latin America and the Caribbean in 2003
remittances exceed the combined flows of all
foreign direct investment and net official
development assistance (IADB 2006)
Immigrant remittances 2007
Worldwide remittances rose 7% in 2007 to
US$ 318 billion.
 US$ 240 billion of the total went to
developing countries.
 Highest receivers: India 27 billion, China
25.7 b., Mexico 25 b., Philippines 17 b.,
France 12.5 b.
Items that tell larger stories
Bangladeshi remittances went up 38%, to US$
700 million, mostly coming from the UK
Immigrants in Spain sent 13 billion, mostly to
Latin America, esp. Ecuador and Colombia.
Wall Street firms made 2bn in 2004 processing
the 38bn sent from the US to Latin American
countries (Inter-American Development Bank
Weight of Remittances %GDP
0.2% in high-income OECD countries
1.7% in middle-income developing countries
3.7% for low-income developing countries
Remittances are over a fourth of GDP in several
poor or struggling countries: Tonga (31.1%),
Moldova (27.1%), Lesotho (25.8%), Haiti (24.8%,
Bosnia and Herzegovina (22.5%) and Jordan
( 20.5%).
Global professionals also send
The top 10 remittance recipient countries
in 2004 include rich countries such as
France, Spain, Germany and the UK.
Do remittances reduce poverty?
A recent study of data covering 74 low and
middle-income countries shows a positive
correlation between remittances and poverty
alleviation (IOM 2006).
A 10% increase in the share of remittances in a
country’s GDP leads to:
- a 1.2 per cent decrease in the percentage
of persons living on less than USD 1 a day
- and also reduces the depth or severity of
Trafficking for the sex industry
Latest estimates: profits for organized
syndicates (excludes small operators and
self-organized moves):
2006: US$ 19 bn (Interpol)
US$ 27 bn (ILO)
7 bn in 2000 (UN)
Democratic deficits inside the
“liberal” state..
Our growing democratic deficit
Beyond party politics
 Beyond the state of exception (national
security, War on Terror, state of exception)
The development of a global corporate
economy has further strengthened the
executive branch and weakened the
legislature. Process begins in 1980s,
Executive branch: alignment with
global logics
1) Certain parts of the administration (the
Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the office
of the Trade Representative, and so on,
and the equivalent institutions in other
countries) have played a critical role in
building a global corporate economy. They
have become stronger over the last two
decades because of globalization.
Sources of executive gains and
legislative losses of power
Deregulation and privatization weaken
legislatures—remove various oversight
 The major global regulators, notably the
IMF and WTO, as well as many lesser
known ones, only negotiate with the
executive branch. As the global corporate
economy and the supranational system
expands, executive power grows.
Legislative losses/Executive gains
Marketizing and privatizing of public functions:
examples from the US: privatizing of prisons and
outsourcing of welfare functions to private
providers; outsourcing of soldiering to private
contractors even in war zones (Iraq).
- reduces the oversight role of legislative
- but adds to the role of the executive as it
sets up specialized commissions
An example from the US
Subcontracting military work to private firms:
- The executive branch can actually handle
private contractors with little if any oversight by
- Executive has not informed Congress
about the amount of taxpayers’ money going to
private contractors who now handle a growing
range of military activities ( food provision to
soldiers, cleaning, mercenary soldiers).
A proliferation of intergovernmental networks
Inter-governmental networks centered largely in
the executive branch have grown well beyond
matters of global security and criminality.
The participation by the state in the
implementation of a global economic system has
led to new types of cross-border collaborations
among specialized government agencies
focused on the globalization of capital markets,
international standards, the new trade order,etc