Ethics and Global Politics 9 (1):33499 (2016)

Alex Sager
Portland State University
In her contribution to Debating Brain Drain, Gillian Brock defends the contentious position that poor but legitimate states may take coercive measures to restrict the emigration of skilled workers. This position can be challenged on empirical and on normative grounds. Brock’s case for compulsory service rests on three empirical claims: (1) the departure of skilled citizens directly or indirectly exacerbates deprivation; (2) the gains from emigration (e.g. through remittances, skill transfer, etc.) do not compensate for losses; and (3) if states demand compulsory service from skilled workers, then this will reduce the deprivation. If any of these claims are false, it will be difficult to mount a case for emigration restrictions. From a normative perspective, even if it is established that the emigration of skilled workers significantly contributes to deprivation, human rights and principles of justice may prevent states from justly restricting citizens’ freedom to leave.
Keywords Brain Drain  Immigration  Productive Justice
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DOI 10.3402/egp.v9.33499
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