Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mobility Paradox Redux

El Paso residents respond to the plan to cultivate cool:

If you want to increase the graduation rate in our high schools, EPCC and UTEP, we would set up an "export brain" office to help our kids find good jobs in larger cities; we should reward their graduation with a airline ticket to any larger city in the U.S.. This would give them hope that they will not wind up an overeducated call center customer representative; they would get a chance to see how the other world does it (doesn't); earned some good money and perhaps one day return with more worldly ideas (and tolerant of medicrocity); perhaps that is what El Paso needs. We should care about our kids getting a better deal; it is sadistic to want them to stay on the plantation.

Promoting geographic mobility is a useful policy for economic development. Create West Virginia grapples with this issue and El Paso has a working diaspora project aimed at enhancing brain circulation. The difficulty is aligning individual and regional interests. But there is no doubt that it is better to be mobile than stuck (my favorite Richard Florida policy framework).

China is the best example of intentionally exporting human capital. While I'm attempting my own boomerang back to Cleveburgh, I'm lukewarm on brain circulation. I think the greater value of the Pittsburgh or Kalamazoo Promise is the attraction of non-natives interested in providing their children or themselves the best leg up in the global economy.

No comments: