Encouraging the Brain Drain
Tom Friedman non-fan Matt Yglesias seconds Friedman’s notion that foreign-born students earning Ph.D.’s in the United States should have Green Cards stapled to their diplomas (presumably figuratively speaking) and be strongly encouraged to keep their talents here.
This strikes me as reasonable enough but sparks a spirited debate in Yglesias’ comments section. Aside from issues of whether it’s fair to the country from whence these people came, most of the discussion centered on whether Americans would be getting these degrees if going to school weren’t so dadgumed expensive and if the jobs in the sciences paid more.
Since Friedman’s piece is hidden behind a subscriber wall, all I’ve read is the excerpt Matt provides plus the precis’ at the link: “I think any foreign student who gets a Ph.D. in our country — in any subject — should be offered citizenship.” So, presumably, Friedman isn’t limiting his generosity to those in shortage areas.
Having earned a Ph.D. in political science and seen how hard it is to find tenure track jobs at decent schools, I find the idea that we need to import more rather dubious. I nonetheless agree with Friedman that we should let them stay and compete. The more highly educated, bright, motivated people we have, the better.