pārdomas par sarunām ar jaunajiem prombraucējiem

Man kā imigrantei ar stāžu ir jau pierasts, ka ik pa laikam paziņas sapazīstina mani ar kādu Latvijā, kam nepieciešams padoms par aizbraukšanas praktisko pusi – kā atrast dzīvesvietu, kādas formalitātes ar britu institūcijām veicamas, kā atrast darbu, kā noformēt CV, cik kas maksā utt.

Mani vienmēr mulsina tas sakāpinātais optimisms un tādas naivi romantiskas vīzijas par labo dzīvi lielajā metropolē. Ekonomiskā vide tik tiešām ir dinamiska, taču konkurence te ir milzīga un, piesakoties pat uz vienkāršu darbu kafeinīcā, jārēķinās, ka uz to pašu vietu konkurēsi ne vien tik ar desmitiem, bet pat simtiem citu kandidātu (viens stāstiņš iz dzīves iedvesmai šeit). 5 gadus atpakaļ, kad meklēju sev darbu pēc studiju pabeigšanas, viena no organizācijām, kurā pieteicos uz visai specifisku amatu, kuram, man šķita, tieši bija atbilstoša pieredze un izglītība, man atbildēja, sakot, ka saņēmuši vairāk nekā 400 pieteikumus (un nepārprotiet, tas bija amats ar Londonai ļoti pieticīgu atalgojumu).

Es necenšos atrunāt. Vienīgais veids, kā pārbaudīt sevi un uzzināt savu veiksmes potenciālu, ir izmēģināt. Bet, vienmēr iesaku apbruņoties ar ‘reālismu’ un pacietību un būt gatavībā grūtībām.

Vissatraucošākais gan ir tas, ka cilvēks, kuram patiesībā ir savam vecumam un izglītībai atbilstošs un stabils darbs Latvijā, atrauc – “c’mon, sliktāk jau nu kā tagad Latvijā nebūs”. Jā, varbūt tik tiešām, ja jāizdzīvo ar 340EUR mēnešalgu, no kuriem 140EUR aiziet mājoklim, ir grūti justies komfortabli par savu dzīvi un nākotnes perspektīvām.

Taču, tad kas ir tie cilvēki, kam Latvijā ir labi un ērti un droši? Un vai šie cilvēki spēs vilkt Latvijas attīstību tai virzienā, kas šo drošības sajūtu vairos arī citos? Jeb, varbūt pašreizējais Latvijas attīstības modelis spēj pastāvēt tikai ar ierobežotu drošumu un labumu ierobežotam elites lokam, kuru uztur visi tie pārējie, kas jūtas slikti un nedroši par dzīvi, bet kam nav drosmes doties ar čemodānu uz lidostu vai pietiekami spēka, lai paši iekļūtu šai elites lokā?

Kad man kāds atkal stāstīs par nodomu pamest Latviju, es necentīšos atrunāt. Vienīgais veids, kā izmērīt reālo 340EUR drošības sajūtas vērtību Latvijā, ir papelnot tos 340EUR kaut kur citur.

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Two surprises in Riga’s bookstores

When I am in Riga, bookstores are the ‘must have a look’ places. Bookstore is like a mirror of society’s mind and life, so it is interesting to see what’s on demand, what’s on offer.

I was positively surprised to see “Bad Samaritans” translated in Latvian. Ha-Joon Chang is one of the most popular critics of globalization and mainstream economic and political thinking, but as we know, public space of information and political/ economic ideas in Latvia for the last few decades has been dominated by (neo)liberal ideas. Thus, this book is a great contribution diversifying public debate in Latvia and challenging the dominant ideas and their supporters. To those who will enjoy Bad Samaritans, I also recommend his newest book – 23 things they dont tell you about capitalism which i bought after Chang’s lecture at LSE last year. One does not have to agree with everything, but will eventually admit that too many things are so wrong.

However, my greatest ‘discovery’ was a book “Rokasgrāmata aizbraucējiem uz Lielbritāniju” (Handbook for immigrants to United Kingdom) whose author, as i understand, has been living/working in UK herself and has written this book in response to a lack of concise information about moving to UK, all the practical and bureaucratic aspects of starting a new life in UK. From one side there is nothing extraordinary; however, if people are starting to write books on how to leave a country, it’s pretty scary and serious. Government may want to start writing a book on something like “100 reasons why Latvians living abroad should return to Latvia”…

Cameron does not like immigration. But what about causes??

British Prime Minster Cameron today has angered people especially his Coalition partners by re-opening the dabate on the sensitive issue of UK immigration policy. Tories unlike Lib Dem want to limit the immigration in order to avoid creation of a society where people are unable to speak English or unwilling to integrate thus making a “kind of discomfort and disjointedness”.

Indeed, on average about 1/3 of Londoners are born abroad and potentially many of them have difficulties to integrate in society due to lack of English language skills and their general ability to find a job and become an active members of community.There are thousands of them who depend on British social benefits and are clearly ‘takers’ rather than ‘givers’.

However, Cameron is hypocritical. Most likely, consciously. Why? The more competitive UK will be, the less competitive will be other countries, especially the ones, from where the non-English speaking poor immigrants are coming from. In a way UK governments acts, it is not a win-win game. It is a zero-sum game – the more someone is winning, the more someone else is losing. Moreover, if UK wants to win this game, it has to pay a price: if it wants to have the biggest and most successful business companies, the smartest students, the most advanced science, the most competitive tax system etc etc etc, it should understand that in such a way UK is not only getting richer, but it is also making some other countries poorer.

This redistribution of resources (financial, intellectual, human, economic, social) which is driven by wealthy countries results in having thousands, hundreds of thousands desperate, hopeless people leaving their home countries for UK or other wealthy countries to survive. If UK would do all it can to enable poorer countries to develop and provide decent, human social standards to their people, immigration would decrease. Tax policy (including disastrous tax havens’ system), aid policy, IMF (where UK has a relatively powerful voice), promotion of export in global South by depletion of their natural resources and privatization of profit by western multinationals, etc etc are just some of the areas which could make a huge difference.

Cameron should for once go and meet some immigrants and ask why they, first of all, have come to UK. He has to think a bit what are the causes. Why so many people leave their home countries? And, he will learn, that it is not about British weather, Big Ben, high prices or living in a different culture. For many this is escape, the only chance to stay alive, therefore he must understand that as one of the global leaders he is responsible for the causes of this problem partially created as well as maintained by UK. Dealing only with consequences will not stop immigration and all the side-effects Cameron is worried about. He should face the causes and see UK’s role in it.