Doug Saunders’s first book, “Arrival City,” reads like a special issue of The Economist, that estimable weekly, in ways that are mostly good but sometimes not. You can envision its subtitle stamped in 18-point type on the magazine’s cover: “How the Largest Migration in History Is Reshaping Our World.”
He presents these fringe worlds not as fetid ghettos or pots of simmering radicalism. Instead, he argues, they are kilns of reverberating energy and optimism where the world’s rural downtrodden seek a foothold in the modern world. These people — losers to too many of us, though not to themselves or to those they left behind in small villages — wish to receive the developed world’s simplest yet most grace-filled benediction: a chance, through hard work, to enter the flowing middle class. We frustrate their desires at our economic, social and moral peril.