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From philanthropy to impact investing

The case of Luxembourg

Shirlita Espinosa

English abstract: This article analyzes diaspora philanthropy by Filipino migrants in Luxembourg. It shows the evolution of migrant organizations’ established philanthropic practices as reflected in the history and profile of Filipino immigration to Luxembourg. Recently, however, direct remittances have been challenged by the philanthro-capitalist orientation of Meso Impact Finance, securing capital investment for small enterprises. Luxembourg’s impact investing in the Philippines is a result of intersecting social forces: dominance of migration-development discourse, ideological appeal of philanthro-capitalism, strong financial institutions in Luxembourg, and the tight-knit Filipino community. However, traditional philanthropy remains popular despite the undermining of direct, non-profit remittances of migrants as shortsighted, unsustainable development tool. It remains to be seen whether Meso Impact Finance will gain a stronger hold in the market and replace direct philanthropic remittances.

Spanish abstract: Este artículo analiza la filantropía de la diáspora realizada por inmigrantes filipinos en Luxemburgo. Usando métodos etnográficos se muestra la evolución de las prácticas filantrópicas establecidas por las organizaciones de migrantes y como éstas se reflejan en la historia y el perfil de la inmigración filipina a Luxemburgo. Recientemente, las remesas directas han sido cuestionadas por la orientación filantro-capitalista de meso impacto financiero, asegurando inversiones de capital para pequeñas empresas. No obstante, la filantropía tradicional sigue siendo popular a pesar del debilitamiento de las remesas directas y sin fines de lucro de los migrantes, como una herramienta de corta visión, insostenible e irracional. Queda por observarse si el meso impacto financiero obtendrá un mayor control en el mercado y reemplazará las remesas filantrópicas directas.

French abstract: Cet article présente des données ethnographiques et des analyses critiques liées à la philanthropie de la diaspora philippine au Luxembourg. Il montre que l’évolution des organisations migrantes établit des pratiques philanthropiques comme le reflètent l’histoire et le profil de l’immigration philippine au Luxembourg. Récemment cependant les transferts d’argent directs ont été concurrencés par l’orientation philantrocapitalistique de la mésofinance à impact social qui sécurise l’investissement de capitaux pour les petites entreprises. Pourtant, malgré l’ébranlement des transferts d’argent directs et non-lucratifs des migrants comme outil de développement à court terme et non pérenne la philanthropie traditionnelle reste populaire. Il reste à voir si la mésofinance à impact social gagnera un ancrage plus fort sur les marchés et si elle remplacera les transferts d’argent philanthropiques directs.

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Report. The World Social Forum on Migrations 2012

Consolidating efforts towards an equitable society

Shirlita Africa Espinosa

From the back alleys of Madrid to the financial capital of Singapore, the migration of peoples either to flee persecution or to pursue a high-stakes transnational job is a global phenomenon. One may even say that the one permanent presence these days is a temporary migrant. The mobility of workers—and the mobility that characterizes the social world in which they live—has always had an economic interpretation manifesting in the antagonism of locals against labor migrants. The issue of migration and the attendant discourses of citizenship, social cohesion, population, resource sharing, employment, criminality, and cultural differences, to mention a few, are a common specter often raised for political maneuvering. To use the migrant subject as a scapegoat for sundry social and economic ills of the “host” society—a term that perpetuates the stereotype of the migrant as parasitical, thus, creating a fitting formula for those who hold power—is integral to the production of their subjectivity as an unwanted sector of a society. Nevertheless, the centrality of migration today in the creation of wealth in advanced economies is very much tied to the role that migrants play in the development strategies of their own nations. Through the billions of dollars transferred through remi􀄴 ances, migration is regarded as the vehicle of development for countries in the South. But if exporting cheap and temporary labor remains inexpensive as it continues to support the growth of industrialized countries both in the manufacturing and service sectors, including the domestic and affective spheres of the home, then how does migration specifically drive the development of sending countries?