Saturday, August 29, 2009

Plugging The Brain Drain Is Wrong

Attempts to stop brain drain are a waste of resources. Worse, it does harm to citizens. Tightening up the borders of the labor market robs workers of power and puts more money in the pockets of ownership. If you follow the travails of the foreign born, then the disadvantages of captive labor are obvious:

Commission chairman Jordan Arrazola told capital daily Milenio in an interview published Friday that the recruiters involved in the scam are members of the CTM, one of Mexico’s most powerful labor unions.

“They make them (the workers) believe they are in the United States and don’t let them go out, they practically have them locked up,” Arrazola said.

“The foremen threaten to report them to ‘la migra’ (U.S. immigration authorities) to get them deported,” the official said.

Even legal channels for immigrant talent put workers at a considerable disadvantage. Capricious policy squabbles leave many in limbo, as this horror story from Canada highlights. Anything short of full citizenship is fraught with peril. This doesn't do domestic labor any favors since it can depress wages and displace tenured employees.

From the perspective of individual talent, geographic mobility is a good thing. Pittsburghers who decry newcomers or the loss of young adults are bizarrely ironic: Fundamentally anti-labor. You want to help "The Man"? Stop brain drain.

1 comment:

aothman said...

The mimetic "stopping brain drain" only makes sense if you're sure there's never a reason for a talented young person not from your region to move to your city, so that the only interaction you could have with the outside world would be a negative one.