From Asia with money

The emigration of the wealthy

Authored by: Gracia Liu-Farrer

Routledge Handbook of Asian Migrations

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  January  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138959859
eBook ISBN: 9781315660493
Adobe ISBN:


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The international migration of wealthy individuals was historically usually associated with political purges and displacements during regime changes. Recently, there is a visible trend of out-migration of the rich from developing Asian economies such as China and India. This chapter explores these contemporary trends of rich migration out of Asia and analyses the social meanings of such practices. The chapter points out that, although many practical reasons exist for rich citizens to emigrate, the capacity to move, in a world where citizenship and residency have increasingly become commodified, constitutes an important element in the cultural formation of global elites. Within this cultural frame, physical mobility is seen as a form of capital itself, and is conducive to the accumulation of other forms of capital – economic, cultural or social – immediately or inter-generationally. However, this form of migration is premised on a regression of gender roles. Moreover, while globalisation has already created many challenges to nation-state citizenship, the migration of the wealthy adds further question marks to the meaning of citizenship.

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