Management of the brain drain and its relationship with democratisation and human development in Libya

Gamaty, G. 2012. Management of the brain drain and its relationship with democratisation and human development in Libya. PhD thesis University of Westminster School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages

TitleManagement of the brain drain and its relationship with democratisation and human development in Libya
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsGamaty, G.

This thesis explores the brain drain and its relationship with democratisation and overall

human development, including political development, using Libya as a case study. However,

its implications are applicable to a wider region of developing countries, especially the

Middle East and Africa. The research attempts to make a new contribution to understanding

the brain drain phenomenon by empirically testing the possible link between the brain drain

and socio-economic and political factors, including the lack of democracy, rule of law and

human security. It also critically evaluates the contemporary theories of evaluation of human

development based mainly on economical/educational indices, and highlights the limitations

of the Human Development Index (HDI), as a measure of human development. A more

holistic measure, based on the capability approach that incorporates a wide range of reflective

indices including freedom, democratic values and human rights, is advocated. The research

also argues in favour of a shift from the brain drain to a ‘brain circulation’ paradigm and from

a single ‘return’ option to a possible ‘Diaspora’ option by which the contribution to their

countries of origin, of those who have emigrated, need not be measured purely by their

permanent return. Although the migration of highly skilled people – ‘human capital flight’ –

cannot be physically prevented, the underlying ‘PUSH’ factors should be tackled. These

include lack of freedom, human security, democracy, and lack of investment in both

education and research and development. They also include better job rewards and

conditions. Receiving countries, mainly OECD members, also have a moral responsibility not to create ‘PULL’ factors, such as the incentives of selective immigration policies to attract

human capital from developing countries, where it belongs and is badly needed. The new era

of globalisation and ICT makes it possible for ‘Diaspora Networks’ to facilitate the

contribution of migrants to their source countries. Diaspora migrants with high human capital

can engage with home countries and contribute towards developing a strategic vision for

overall development. One vital area that Diaspora migrants can contribute to is ‘capacity

building’, not just at the individual level but crucially at the institutional and societal level.

Diaspora migrants, as ‘experts’ in their fields, can contribute to democratisation, as a

transitional process towards democracy, which in turn is beneficial to enhancing human

development because democratic countries have demonstrated higher human development

than non-democratic ones. Human development, as an outcome, can therefore be an incentive

for embarking on democratisation. A process of democratisation that leads to democracy will

reduce some of the push factors causing the brain drain and its detrimental consequences.

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