Is Health Worker Migration a Case of Poaching?

Many nations in the developing world invest scarce funding into training health workers. When these workers migrate to richer countries, particularly when this migration occurs before the source community can recoup the costs of training, the destination community realizes a net gain in resources by obtaining the workers' skills without having to pay for their training. This effect of health worker migration has frequently been condemned as 'poaching' or a case of theft. I assess the charge that the rich nations of the world poach the resources of the developing world through the active recruitment of migrants. I argue that the charge of poaching is misguided in these cases. The misuse of the term poaching is particularly troubling as it distracts attention away from the many actual moral wrongs taking place through the process of health worker migration and objectifies health workers.
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DOI 10.1080/15265160802654152
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David Miller (2001). Distributing Responsibilities. Journal of Political Philosophy 9 (4):453–471.

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