Global Competition for Talent

Back in January of 2004, we looked at the issue of whether the balance of scientific power was shifting away from the U.S. The concern was (and remains) the discouragement of the worlds’ most gifted graduate students from coming to the United States.

Considering that the U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of intellect, potentially losing the battle for this talent would have profound implications for the nation’s long term economic health.

Now, a new book out takes an potentially direr look at the world’s hunt for intellectual firepower. Its by Richard Florida, and is titled The Flight of the Creative Class: New Global Competition for Talent. Florida’s prior book: The Rise of the Creative Class: How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life was well received.

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with the author:

Following up on The Rise of the Creative Class (2002), Florida argues that if America continues to make it harder for some of the world’s most talented students and workers to come here, they’ll go to other countries eager to tap into their creative capabilities. He argues that the loss of even a few geniuses can have tremendous impact, adding that the "overblown" economic threat posed by large nations such as China and India obscures all the little blows inflicted upon the U.S. by Canada, Scandinavia, New Zealand and other countries with more open political climates. Florida lays his case out well and devotes a significant portion of this polemical analysis to defending his earlier book’s argument regarding "technology, talent, and tolerance" (i.e. that together, they generate economic clout, so the U.S. should be more progressive on gay rights and government spending). Even when he drills down to less panoramic vistas, however, Florida remains an astute observer of what makes economic communities tick, and he’s sure to generate just as much public debate on this new twist on brain drain.

I have yet to read this, but the threatened brain drain is something I’ve been tracking.

Anyone who’s read this please feel free to comment below . . .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. royce commented on Jun 6

    What the U.S. offers that some of those other places don’t is lower taxes and less regulation. My unscientific impression of talented, entrepreneurial immigrants is that they love coming to a place where they can make lots of money without having to give it to less talented people.

    As someone who isn’t very talented and will never be wealthy, this annoys me. But that’s life in America and it isn’t likely to change any time soon.

  2. Bradley Andrews commented on Jun 6

    I read an article by Florida a couple years ago and he seems to be of the utopian planned community bent. The creative class thing was all about how great city parks and bike paths are at attracting the “creative” types that fueled the dot com boom. He seemed to think it was obvious, and therefore unnecessary to explain, that there was a connection between the flaky artiste set and the engine of prosperity. Obviously I don’t put much truck in his work…

  3. Andrés Vernon commented on Jun 6

    I think the U.S. shouldn’t worry too much about this, for now. Aspiring powers such as China and India are closed, xenophobic nations with a very low quality of life. I doubt many foreign scientists would like to live there (even Japan hasn’t managed to attract foreign talent). English-speaking and European nations will have trouble attracting top talent because their universities are seriously underfunded and state-run.

Posted Under