Refugees, Development, Debt, Austerity: A Selected History
There is a consensus among global policymakers that the challenges facing refugees today arise, in no small part, from the treatment of forced displacement as predominately a short-term humanitarian problem and the consequent exclusion of refugees from long-term development assistance. This paper agrees that refugees — a majority of whom spend years, a large number decades, some lifetimes in exile — constitute a development challenge, not only a humanitarian one. But it departs from the prevailing consensus which has tended to underemphasize the historical role of certain development policies in contributing to the status quo of refugee poverty in the first place. The paper places particular emphasis in that regard on policies of austerity and of laissez-faire. In their stead, it argues in favor of approaches to development that are proactively egalitarian and redistributive.