Monday, September 21, 2009

USA Today: More of World's Talented Workers Opt to Leave USA

Fascinating, if somewhat anecdotal, stories in USA Today. We noted early in the summer that global migration reversed for the first time in some 80 years [Jun 8, 2009: WSJ - Global Migration Reverses for First Time Since Great Depression]

The developed world, which for decades has offered a difficult but promising path to upward mobility, appears to be losing its allure. Unemployment is rising, and backlashes against foreign workers are mounting. The result is potentially the biggest turnaround in migration flows since the Great Depression, economists say.

High-skill immigrants are an important source of tax revenue in some cities, and their kids fill the classrooms of universities and private schools.

Now it has hit the States. I suppose on the plus side, in the short run as these high intellect workers leave the country that leaves job vacancies Americans can fill. Unfortunately, many of these people were creating some of the few real (non bubble) type of jobs in the small and medium sized business area. (aka not too big to fail, but too small to care about)

.... immigrant inventors contributed a quarter of global patent applications from the U.S. in 2006, while 52% of all Silicon Valley start-ups between 1995 and 2005 were started by immigrants.

Surely we don't want people like this in our country; instead we need more restaurants, Walmarts, law offices, and government offices. Frankly with all the money we are handing out left and right, I'd much prefer to take some of the money we are stealing from future generations and rather than give to Americans to spend on cars, homes and appliances... try something different. How about creating some luxurious tax advantages for any of these foreign top end minds who stay after university (or come from overseas) and can create actual businesses, with new jobs, that last at least 3 years. I'd be happy to shower them with money once they do that, since the long term halo effect would be far greater than handing people money to buy a depreciating asset the second it rolls off the lot. But I appear to be old school with the crazy thought that a country actually needs jobs, rather than government taking from 1 citizen to give to another, with a Fed running printing presses in the background to create "wealth". I have yet to learn the new paradigm economics. So my chances of being elected on such a platform would be zilch.

Therefore let's go with the alternative: MORE HANDOUTS it is! Free money! Elect me! :) Ben print more money from thin air! Create wealth for us all! Boo yah.
  • More skilled immigrants are giving up their American dreams to pursue careers back home, raising concerns that the U.S. may lose its competitive edge in science, technology and other fields. (science? math? pshaw - that's what Asians do. We'll always have humanities! Political science! And law!) "What was a trickle has become a flood," says Duke University's Vivek Wadhwa, who studies reverse immigration.
  • Wadhwa projects that in the next five years, 100,000 immigrants will go back to India and 100,000 to China, countries that have had rapid economic growth. "For the first time in American history, we are experiencing the brain drain that other countries experienced," he says.
  • "If the country is going to maintain the kind of economic well-being that we've enjoyed for many years, that requires having these incredibly gifted individuals who have been educated and trained by us," he says.
Nah, I say train 'em here, wrap 'em up, and send 'em back. They don't fit well in government offices with their... their... math aptitude.


Anecodotal example time:
  • It wasn't the U.S. economy that convinced Tao Guo to leave the USA. It was the Chinese economy. After 24 years in the United States, the 46-year-old naturalized citizen moved to Shanghai in December to take a high-level position at WuXi AppTec, which does research for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
  • "They see much more promise in the economic future of those countries," says Charles Hsu of Bay City Capital in San Francisco. "There's also a chance for them to move ahead much more rapidly in their careers." At WuXi, 80% to 90% of senior managers returned to China from other countries, mostly the USA, says Rich Soll, vice president of medicinal chemistry.
  • "I had a lot of enthusiasm and was very eager to work for this country. It's all fizzled out. It seems I'm not wanted," Dutta says. "In 10 to 15 years, I could be much better off in terms of position as well as money in India."

So what are the reasons for these this reversal?

[Breaking: *dogma alert*]

We pause this regularly scheduled posting to bring you dogma: I say we blame taxes in America. It's a very easy thing to do and fits in a 15 second sound bite I can play every 8 minutes to distract the peasants, and take attention away from true root causes that actually require thought, conversation, debate, and introspection. Perhaps even soul searching. Taxes as the sole cause it is!)

[End of *dogma alert*]
  • ... the exodus has less to do with the faltering U.S. economy than with other factors:
  • (1) Career opportunities. At NIIT, an information technology company based in New Delhi, about 10% of managers in India are returnees, mostly from the U.S., says CEO Vijay Thadani. Most go into mid- to senior management and make "excellent employees," he says. "They're Indian, so they understand India, and they have lived outside the country."
  • China's government entices some skilled workers to return with incentives such as financial assistance and housing, says Wang Baodong, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington. "China needs a lot of well-trained personnel" in fields such as finance and information technology, he says.
  • (2) Immigration delays. Multinational companies that belong to the American Council on International Personnel tell Executive Director Lynn Shotwell that skilled immigrants are discouraged by the immigration process, she says. Some can wait up to a decade for permanent residency, she says. "They're frustrated with having an uncertain immigration status," she says. "They're giving up."
  • (3) Quality of life and family ties. People return to India to reconnect with their families and culture, Dutia says. "They have a support system there, family and friends."
  • Purchasing power is greater, he says, which allows returnees to afford more luxuries than they did in the U.S. Dutia describes a complex of "magnificent homes" in Bangalore. In the club room, there were "all these Americans and Europeans and expats on the treadmills with iPhones, watching CNN and BBC," he says. "Things have changed."
--->>>>Breaking dogma alert redux: Just remember, in 10-15 years the economic textbook (yes this one I am waving around over my head) says the growing Chindian middle class will ascend to a point they will require a whole new class of products / services that will lead to a resurgence of US jobs. Why? Because they won't be able to (a) make those things domestically, or (b) provide those services in Chindia. Nope... that's what my textbook says, and I'm sticking to it. Rejoice America. Our day shall come as those people beg for our services / products.

Dogma - good for the soul and a convenient way to keep one's head under the sand. Root cause discussion would make me lose my chance at election... as Jack says "we can't handle the truth".

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