This short book provides a succinct and masterly overview of the history of migration, from the earliest movements of human beings out of Africa into Asia and Europe to the present day, exploring along the way those factors that contribute to the successes and failures of migratory groups. Separate chapters deal with the migration flows between Europe and the rest of the world in the 19th and 20th centuries and with the turbulent and complex migratory history of the Americas.
Livi Bacci shows that, over the centuries, migration has been a fundamental human prerogative and has been an essential element in economic development and the achievement of improved standards of living. The impact of state policies has been mixed, however, as states have each established their own rules of entry and departure - rules that today accentuate the differences between the interests of the sending countries, the receiving countries, and the migrants themselves. Lacking international agreement on migration rules owing to the refusal of states to surrender any of their sovereignty in this regard, the positive role that migration has always played in social development is at risk.
This concise history of migration by one of the world's leading demographers will be an indispensable text for students and for anyone interested in understanding how the movement of people has shaped the modern world.