Loading the Birth Lottery: Forced Migration and the International State System

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


It’s important when thinking about migration—and, more specifically, forced migration—to remember Spruyt’s (1994) observation that one of the evolutionary advantages of territorial statehood was the limitations it imposed on predation “because social actors have more opportunity to exit… and to seek refuge and better environments elsewhere” (1994: 554).However, Torpey observed that, in recent history “states, and the international state system of which they are a part, have expropriated from individuals and private entities the legitimate ‘means of movement’” (Torpey, 1998: 239) to the extent that opportunities for exit have been severely curtailed. Subjects have gradually been documented, membership assigned in the form of citizenship, and “closure” exercised against non-citizens (Brubaker, 1992: 23). Where once “little but their own poverty restricted migrants’ movements” (Hahamovitch, 2003: 73), the regulation of movement now effectively prevents them from “voting with their feet”
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationThe Forum: Discussing International Affairs and Economics, Special Issue: Migration: Character and Scope; Economic Potential; Regional Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Forced migration
  • states
  • inequality


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