For most of human history, people have moved. It is only in the relatively short window after the establishment of the Westphalian state, especially after the collapse of the empires after the Second World War, that these movements have been constrained. The logic of globalization is based on the mobility of factors of production. Some economists like Paul Collier have chosen to ignore the need for labor to be mobile too.
Those who see the technology glass as half-empty have seen the strong surveillance capabilities of the state as putting an end to movement of people across borders. But it is interesting that the Smartphone is counteracting the powers of the state. Perhaps the glass is half-full.
“Every time I go to a new country, I buy a SIM card and activate the Internet and download the map to locate myself,” Osama Aljasem, a 32-year-old music teacher from Deir al-Zour, Syria, explained as he sat on a broken park bench in Belgrade, staring at his smartphone and plotting his next move into northern Europe.
“I would never have been able to arrive at my destination without my smartphone,” he added. “I get stressed out when the battery even starts to get low.”