Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Import Brains to Stimulate the Economy

I don't usually talk about the economy but I just have to put this here because ... well ... it's Thomas Friedman. I do like economics but I didn't create this blog because I needed to vent on economic issues.

Before I talk further about Friedman's article, I want to make a few comments on the man. Friedman is perhaps the most influential writer on my foreign policy and economic views. We are both interested about the Middle East, Economics, and Green Technology (or just innovative technology in general). A lot of people think that he is writing about subjects that he has no expertise about. Perhaps, he's not an economist, a foreign policy maker, or a businessman. But he is a journalist and the greatest tool he has which many of us lack is insight. When he writes about something, he goes there. Whether it is about the West Bank or India, he is there to talk with experts in their respective fields. He is not afraid to talk to people. He understands what drives people. If you haven't read From Beirut to Jerusalem yet, do it.

Here are a few excerpts from his latest column with my comments in between -
“All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans,” said Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express newspaper. “We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”
Indians and Asians in general truly are some of the hardest people. They've seen the slums. Those that make it to America know how lucky they are to be here. They have the drive and ambition to help the American economic wheels working. There are plenty of engineers and PhDs in Asia that would love to come to America and achieve the American Dream. They just don't have the visas to do so.

Perhaps new immigrants would make the melting pot better money managers.
“Dear America, please remember how you got to be the wealthiest country in history. It wasn’t through protectionism, or state-owned banks or fearing free trade. No, the formula was very simple: build this really flexible, really open economy, tolerate creative destruction so dead capital is quickly redeployed to better ideas and companies, pour into it the most diverse, smart and energetic immigrants from every corner of the world and then stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat.”
What put America ahead of Europe? In America, the will of your heat and sweat and the merit of your cause. It was a land of opportunities where immigrants could help themselves and help America at the same time. It was and still can be for many generations to come.

In conclusion, if you want a more innovative work force, there are two ways of going about. Either raise it (educating children to become engineers and the like) or import it (educated immigrants).

I just took a couple snippets from the column. To read the rest, go here.

No comments: