Why the refugee problem won’t go away

It is often useful to think about organisational and social problems in terms of the  language of stocks and flows which work rather like a bathtub with inflows ( the tap), accumulations  (the bath tub) and outflows (the plug hole).

If we apply this thinking to the refugee situation we have a very simple diagram shown below.

 Here, refugees arrive ( the inflow), they remain in detention (the accumulation) and they are processed (the outflow). The increase in refugees in detention is a result of the arrivals outstripping those that are processed. There are two ways around this: decrease the rate of arrivals or increase the  processing. Both of these will lead to a decrease in the numbers of refugees in detention.

Both solutions have inherent problems. The difficulty in stopping the boats has been outlined in the press recently. It is highly likely that the Indonesian government would not cooperate with this policy. Increasing the rate at which refugees are processed  also has inherent difficulties because of the feedback that exists between processing and arrivals. This feedback is shown by the red arrow.

News about the increased processing is fed into the  network and increases the arrival rate.

The solution does not lie in changes that can make be made to this particular  structure.

The solution lies somewhere else and is shown in the third diagram

This diagram adds the legal entry process for refugees. News about these applicants has a feedback effect to the arrivals of the so-called illegal immigrants. If the rate at which legitimate applicants are processed increases, then we can expect the rate at which the illegal immigrants seek to arrive by boat to decrease with a consequent decrease in the numbers of people held in offshore detention centres.

This solution will not decrease in the refugees coming to  by boat but it will decrease the refugees held in detention centres.

 

6 thoughts on “Why the refugee problem won’t go away

  1. Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any points for novice blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.
    whooping cough

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