Friday, October 07, 2011

Exodus Exposed

I'm noticing a deluge of "brain drain" stories today. It's a coincidence, but a lot of good reads nonetheless. I feel like I'm watching California implode in slow motion as one mesofact after another melts into the past. The fear of exodus sets in:

A possible consequence of this reality would be a unique brand of brain drain — the state’s college-degree wielding youth choosing to seek employment elsewhere once they face the realities of the state’s financial situation post-graduation. If such an exodus were to occur, it would further serve to undermine our already struggling industries and economy. Without college graduates, our state will lose talented citizens who could be helping to fuel the economy and pioneer new enterprises.

California has been losing a large amount of talented citizens for decades. That isn't a problem as long as college graduates from elsewhere continue to move to Los Angeles or San Francisco. Those two metros (along with San Diego) continue to act as immigrant gateways for likely entrepreneurs. That legacy migration has made California soft.

California is a magnet for talent. As a result, the state has ignored local investment in human capital. Colorado is on the same path and will experience the same problems in due time. Both states must figure out how to leverage outmigration for purposes of economic development. It might be too late for California.

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