November 23, 2003

Inverse Brain Drain Josef Joffe

Inverse Brain Drain

Josef Joffe is wondering whether the post 9/11 security climate in the U.S. is leading to a worrisome reduction in smart students/immigrants willing (or able) to come to the U.S. His fears are likely somewhat overwrought (the decline in issuance of student visas as between 2001 and 2003 is not quite as dramatic as he portrays) but the issue probably merits wider attention.

Sample grafs:

"That resource is neither coal nor oil but brains. Alas, brains come with bodies attached, and it is those millions of bodies (previously known as "tired, huddled masses") that have catapulted the United States to the top of the Nobel Prize roster and turned Harvard et al. into the world's greatest universities. Or take Silicon Valley. At the height of the bubble, executives of Chinese and Indian descent were running one-quarter of the Valley's high-tech firms; these accounted for $17 billion in sales and almost 60,000 jobs.

Why didn't these Asian whiz kids go to Munich or Madrid? Because only in America does "where do you come from?" matter less than "where did your get your degree in electrical engineering?" If it was the top school in Bombay or Shanghai, you're in, and the sky is the limit. Before Sept. 11, nobody hauled you in for questioning ("Why did you fly to China six times in the last eight months? What about these 86 telephone calls across the Pacific?")"

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