Tuesday, March 3, 2009

America's Loss Is India's Gain

Every Indian who reads my blog should also read this paper by Harvard researchers Vivek Wadhwa and Richard B. Freeman.


"Immigrants have historically provided one of America's greatest competitive advantages. They have come to the United States largely to work and have played a major role in the country's recent growth. Between 1990 and 2007, the proportion of immigrants in the U.S. labor force increased from 9.3 percent to 15.7 percent.

Approximately 45 percent of the growth of the work force over this period consisted of immigrants. Moreover, a large and growing proportion of immigrants come with high levels of education and skill.

They have contributed disproportionately in the most dynamic part of the U.S. economy - the high-tech sector. Immigrants have co-founded firms such as Google, Intel, eBay, and Yahoo.
And immigrant inventors contributed to more than a quarter of U.S. global patent applications.

Since even before the 2008 financial and economic crisis, some observers have noted that a substantial number of highly skilled immigrants have started returning to their home countries, including persons from low-income countries like India and China who have historically tended to stay permanently in the United States. These returnees contributed to the tech boom in those countries and arguably spurred the growth of outsourcing of back-office processes as well as of research and development."

While I really wish America and Europe very well, I think it is hard to deny that the current turn inwards and against skilled immigration will only serve to accelerate the inevitable. The next 50 years of entrepreneurial innovation will belong to India. The Silent Revolution about which I have written before is well underway.