50% of all wages paid in the United States, are paid by “knowledge based” industries, such as communications, I.T., high tech, and computer technology.
This area, “knowledge based industries” has been the fine edge that has given the United States economic competitive advantage, as well as military, and medical advantage. But politicians in America aren't talking about the great loss America is experiencing in this sector.
Two important thinkers, members of our “GLOBAL GENERATION” have recently written articles on this new crisis and economic loss in the United States. Richard Florida of John Mason University and Thomas Stewart of Harvard Business Review appeared on the Charlie Rose show yesterday, and stated their remarkable case…one of frightening conclusions and implications.
Since 9/11 the United States has seen a substantial loss of brilliant minds in “knowledge based” industries. It is estimated that over 100,000 researchers, and experts in this field have left the United States, to pursue their research and I.T. development in other nations such as Australia, Canada, Germany. Some researchers have left the USA for major cities in India. We would never have expected to see people leaving the United States to go to India, or Australia, but it is happening.
Richard Florida and Thomas Stewart said: “The normal scenario is that a progressive nation imports good people and exports good products. The United States is doing the opposite. Exporting good people, then being forced to import good products.”
They site immigration policy since 9/11 as the major culprit. “Consider a graduate student involved in a major research program. Now, when his visa expires, he has to return to his home nation to apply for a renewal. He can’t do it in the USA. When he goes home he finds that 90% of these visas are not being renewed. He is stuck in his home country, and the United States loses him as a research asset.”
Another problem is delays in getting visas of any kind. “We are seeing delays ranging from 6 to 20 months. Many of these people are saying ‘Forget America, lets go to Oxford, or Canada, or Australia instead…and these nations are accepting them as bonus gifts. Giving them encouragement, and sometimes even seed money to start new research projects.’ Said Richard Florida of John Mason University.
Thomas Steward, of Harvard Business Review wrote: “This is the greatest crisis, the greatest brain drain our nation has ever faced. Our Universities are losing enrollment and some of their best students, our industry is losing its best minds, and our economy is gradually becoming less competitive as a result.”
I have observed our strange and over zealous immigration restrictions first hand and know that immigration policy is a problem. Recently in Mongolia, a bank president wanted to take his family to the United States on a combination business and vacation trip to the USA. He was going to seek new investors for Mongolian projects and show his family America on a 4 week vacation. After weeks of preparation, and the inconvenience of having to wait for hours for an interview, he finally met the consul. The consul humiliated him and his family as he told them that they were denied because they were a “risk” and did not qualify. This family had purchased tickets, and had planned for years for their trip to America. This is happening all over the world, by immigration officers who are either afraid of making a mistake of letting a potential terrorist in, or who are influenced by the attitude of the Attorney General’s office that seems to suspect anyone who is not a White Anglo Saxon Protestant born in the United States.
The United States of America enjoyed growth during the industrial revolution, and learned then that it had to import talent and brains from Europe to compete. 30 years ago when we started the high tech revolution, our leaders initiated policies such as visas and funding to encourage the brightest and best minds of the world, to come to America to study and work.
In Tofler's book: FUTURE SHOCK he wrote that corporate value and wealth in the new age would be defined by knowledge. This has now come to pass and is the case in America. Now knowledge based industries are leading our economy. The more talent and intelligence, the more those companies are worth. Knowledge is money. Knowledge is power.
We know that open societies, those that have free flow of information, and ideas will be the societies that attract knowledge. We know that open societie that welcome brilliant people will be those societies that will enjoy the fruits and benefits of the work product of those brilliant people. Unfortunately, the United States is "closing" its society, at the risk of losing its "wealth" in the one area that brings us power and wealth. Knowledge based industry.