In his seminal 1970 book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, the economist Albert O. Hirschman laid out the three different ways an individual might react to a situation they’re unhappy with: leaving; complaining and protesting; or remaining silent. While Hirschman presented the three as mutually exclusive, researchers in the decades since have argued that “exit” and “voice” can actually reinforce one another. That’s especially the case when it comes to migration.
Political upheavals in Hong Kong and Belarus this year have led people in both places to flee from heavy-handed crackdowns and authoritarian rule. In Hong Kong, where a new national security law is rapidly dismantling civil liberties, polling shows that nearly one in two people would emigrate if they had the chance, with many citing dissatisfaction with the government and concerns over diminishing freedoms as primary reasons for leaving. And in Belarus, widespread internet shutdowns amid the state’s brutal suppression of protests has sparked an exodus of the country’s tech workers.
Numerous countries are opening their doors to these migrants, both for humanitarian reasons as well as the opportunity to attract high-skilled workers. And from a distance, these migrants may also help refuel the struggles that spurred their departure in the first place.
Belarus’s neighbors, for example, have rolled out a bevy of policies in a bid to draw its tech companies. Earlier this month, Ukraine signed a decree making it easier for IT firms and their employees to relocate there, including speeding