Rebuilding Community after Crisis: Striking a New Social Contract for Diverse Societies (Transatlantic Council Statement)
Governments must create a new social contract for the age of migration that has been ushered in by large-scale spontaneous migration flows on both sides of the Atlantic. These flows have upended asylum adjudications systems and placed enormous stress on reception, housing, and social services, particularly in Europe.
Paired with dramatic change in the political landscape as nativists have capitalized on public disquiet with government’s ability to manage migration, fear has taken hold that the shared principles that govern how people live together have reached a breaking point. Several years on from the 2015-16 European migration crisis, there is an important opportunity to take stock of what has been learned and to build a new social contract for increasingly diverse societies that are confronting cycles of demographic, economic, social, and other disruption.
This Transatlantic Council on Migration report, which concludes a research series on rebuilding community after crisis, explores how unplanned migration spikes have unsettled the main institutions of liberal democracies and exposed the limits of integration strategies that are leaving many newcomers struggling to find their place in highly organized labor markets and skill-intensive economies.
Addressing the deep-rooted integration challenges unearthed by large-scale migration and rapid social change will require a combination of strategies, including:
- Investing in mainstream programs that assist not just newly arrived refugees and migrants, but all workers displaced by labor market change or left behind by globalization
- Strengthening common values by requiring newcomers and existing residents to deliberate the rules of the road for living in diverse societies
- Taking pressure off welfare systems by making investments that stimulate more entrepreneurship, enable intensive worker retraining, and that better recognize skills across occupational and geographic boundaries.
II. Large-Scale Spontaneous Migration and the Social Contract
III. Integration Challenges Old and New
A. Economic Security and the Welfare State
B. Rethinking Inclusion for the Most Vulnerable
C. Housing and Community Cohesion
D. Common Values
IV. Seven Steps to a New Social Contract for Diverse Societies