I am at that age when people try to postpone adulthood (or what is generally conceived as such). This is a time when, if one comes from a developed country, has a lot of money or is educated enough, one has many opportunities to define one’s life. I am from a poor country that suffers from chronic lack of security, spurts of hideous violence and many structural problems, but am educated enough (proof being that I can formulate this question in English, not my mother tongue) to have many opportunities when it comes to my personal/professional development. Among these different opportunities is whether or not I want to reside, and thus work, in my country of origin. Moving away would definitely lead to a richer, easier – though not necessarily happier- life, I am quite sure of it.
The problem is I feel an ethical duty to work and live in and for my country. I feel that if every educated person leaves my country, we will be doing a disservice to the place where we and our loved ones are from. Brain drain and the migration of able bodied people to more developed nations are both problems my nation faces.
Do I have a duty to stay? Am I irredeemably modern in my concern for my country? I sometimes think I am not postmodern enough, in that I feel more keenly aware and obliged to resolve my country’s problems than the problems other places and people have, despite the fact that (as we are all tired of hearing) globalization is a defining feature of the world. There is nothing essential about being from a place, right? It is a contingent fact that I was born where I was born, but does it mean anything ethically? Is this ethical anxiety really about modernity? If so, should modernity weigh less upon us? Can it be eluded or tricked or must we still dance to its tune?