If we were to measure the reality with the news we hear and see in the media, it would turn out that we live in a besieged fortress. Europe appears to be a lonely island of order and prosperity, surrounded by falling countries full of desperate young people who are ready to do anything to get here and bring confusion and lawlessness. Every day, the media report on some other, often tragic, attempts to cross European borders. As a consequence, anti -immigrati on hysteria is growing and refugees are depicted as demanding, unwilling to assimilate, and cultivating their own customs that do not fit the standards of democracy.
But there is another side. Europe is a crucible of subsequent immigrant waves which bring new values and force changes. There is no ethnic group that is 100% native European. What’s more, from the economic point of view, Europe needs immigrants. The society is wealthy, but aging and there is not enough workforce.
On the one hand, we have the need for new, dynamic employees, and this need is confi rmed by demographers and market specialists. On the other hand, we have growing tendency to seal and close the borders. The clash of these two tendencies is a fascinati ng subject of sociological, cultural and economic observati ons.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the problem of immigrati on is the main topic of this issue. Immigrati on is considered to be both a threat and a chance. It is not only a chance for cultural diversity and social mobility, but also for creativity, new perspective and dynamism. Great examples of taking such a chance are our colleagues from the University, for whom Poland has become the second, or maybe even the fi rst, homeland.
Besides, we don’t need to look very far. In front of one of our buildings there is a monument of one of the founding fathers of our university. "Popular Ed", oft en photographed during diploma ceremonies, is one of the leading figures in the Polish economy. If any immigration authorities had not let the Scottish Taylor family into Poland, he would not have written such works as The Essence of Cooperation and Statics and Dynamics in the Theory of Economics. He wouldn’t have translated the classics of the economy, and, above all, he wouldn’t have supported the Poznan Chamber of Industry and Commerce in establishment of the Higher School of Commerce.
We need migrants and we need forward looking migration policy with a strategic vision that takes into consideration both needs and threats. The lack of such a policy, combined with xenophobia, result in more and more obstacles and problems with assimilation.