The Cyberflâneur #20: Ivan Krastev

In these very troubled moments, we’re especially glad to welcome Ivan Krastev as our 20th cyberflâneur. Ivan is, among other things, a writer and political scientist, the chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, and a permanent fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna. His new book The Light That Failed provides perhaps the best explanation as to how the big dreams of a pan-European liberalism have not only floundered in the East but are rapidly dissolving in the West.

Through no foresight on our part, Ivan’s selections from our stacks are particularly compelling during our current crisis. They touch upon “the case for liberalism with borders”, democracy and the ageing, as well as migration and changing labour markets. His comment in a recent interview struck a cord: “the unthinkable can very quickly become the inevitable.”

Ivan is not one to be distracted by Twitter but you can check out this excellent lecture below and read more by him towards the end.

~ Evgeny Morozov

Ivan’s Selections


Exit, Voice, and Political Change: Evidence from Swedish Mass Migration to the United States

Contrary to Hirschmann’s initial initial argument that availability of exit will reduce the attractiveness of voices, this paper shows how the mass migration from Sweden to the United States has contributed to the rise of political activity in Sweden.


Migration and Integration: the Case for Liberalism with Borders

Tam Farer in my view is right to question the popular assumption that liberalism advocates for world without borders.


Gangs, Labor Mobility, and Development

This methodologically sophisticated research conducted on the example of El Salvador demonstrates that individuals living under gang control have significantly worse education, wealth, and less income than individuals living only 50 meters away in areas not controlled by gangs.


Immigration, Ethnic Diversity and Voting: the Role of Individual Income

This extremely interesting paper shows that diversity in the neighbourhood reduces the political participation of the poor, while it fosters that of the more affluent. So, we can expect that the process of ethnic diversification of our neighbourhoods will affect asymmetrically the political participation of the affluent and the poor, leading to over-representation of the affluent.


Immigrants’ Changing Labor Market Assimilation in the United States during the Age of Mass Migration

This very impressive piece of research provides an interesting answer to the question of declining social mobility of immigrants in 20th century in comparison with 19th century.


Is Welfare a Magnet for Migration? Examining Universal Welfare Institutions and Migration Flows

This rigorous research powerfully demonstrates that the popular belief that migrants are most attracted by countries with generous welfare benefits is wrong.


Robots Instead of Immigrants: The Positive Feedback of Japanese Migration Policy on Social Isolation and Communication Problems

It was always a project of mine to conduct a global study asking different societies, who do they prefer to take care of their old and sick and who do they prefer to work with – a human coming from a distant culture or robot. This paper gives me a hint how the Japanese answer to this question could look like.


Immigrants, Markets, Brokers, and States: The Politics of Illiberal Migration Governance in the Arab Gulf

Recently I have been bothered by the question, could European democracies start to resemble the Gulf states. Could we end up with societies where many of those who are on the labour market do not have the right to vote while many of those voting are retired people or unemployed, how this will re-define the meaning of democracy. This paper gives us good idea about the politics of illiberal migration governance in the Gulf states.


Ageing Fast, Ageing Slow? When Britain’s Geography and Demography Collide

Europe is ageing but the demographic profiles of different parts of Britain are very different. Our societies are ageing but some parts of our countries are ageing faster than others. This panel discussion provides interesting insights of the effects of the geographical of ageing will have in the future.


The Ideology of Democracy/Dictatorship as Youth Migrate

Is imposing our clear distinction between democracy and dictatorship our instrument for re-making the young migrants from the global South. This is the question posed by this paper. You do not need to agree with the answer.


International Migration as a Driver of Political and Social Change: Evidence from Morocco

This very interesting paper on the example of Morocco demonstrates that having a returnee in the household/somebody who has lived and worked in Western Europe, mostly/ increases the demand for political and social change. But having a current migrant in the household decreases the pressure for social and political change.

More by Ivan Krastev – from our Stacks

Our archive of high-quality content across text, video and audio – our “Living Syllabus” as we call it – has already reached over 10,000 items and grows larger every week.

Here are some recent pieces by or featuring Ivan from those archives:

Previous Editions

  • #12 Zephyr Teachout – Professor of Law at Fordham University
  • #13 Quinn Slobodian – Historian and author of Globalists
  • #14 Katrina Forrester – Political Theorist and Intellectual Historian at Harvard University
  • #15 Kaiser Kuo – Writer, Musician, Podcaster
  • #16 Atossa Araxia Abrahamian – Senior Editor at the Nation, Author of The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen
  • #17 Li Andersson – Finland’s Minister of Education and the Chairperson of the Left Alliance party
  • #18 István Rév – Professor of History and Political Science at CEU, Director of the Open Society Archives
  • #19 Benjamin Bratton – Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics at the University of California

More About our Cyberflâneur Series

To learn more about how this particularly eclectic edition of our syllabi works, head over here. Note that if you subscribe to any of our weekly syllabi, we’ll keep you posted on our latest cyberflâneurs too. Our subscribers also get a monthly Highlights From the Cyberflâneur edition.

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