Monday, September 27, 2010

From the no-brainer department. “We should staple a green card to PhDs in science and technology,” West says with a sigh. “They’d like to stay here!”

"Because when we have the best talent, we have the best innovations. That’s how we landed Google, Intel and the atomic bomb. Immigrants are about twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a small business, and they’re 30 percent more likely to apply for a patent."

In the short-term, it's great for educated Americans like me if most of our competitors are kept out of the country. In the long term, it's better for me and my descendents if more talented people live and work here (and advanced degrees are a proxy for talent, however imperfect). The talented don't capture the total value of their work in their income. A lot of the value is captured by other people that to do business with them (i.e., gains from trade) and/or live under the same government as them (i.e., government redistribution). These the facts are indisputable.

Now for some more speculative remarks: I think having a slightly larger fraction of talented people in the population will slightly improve the quality of the aggregrate decisions of voters and the average quality of our burearucrats. Also, mere open immigration for the talented involves very different head-counts than actual open borders. Thus, fears of cultural and linguistic change should be relatively muted.

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