American idiocracy

Mr.Conley

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http://www.economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8892559
The Economist said:
ONE OF the many memorable scenes in “The Namesake”, an excellent new film based on Jhumpa Lahiri's book and directed by Mira Nair of “Monsoon Wedding” fame, deals with a young Bengali bride and a bowl of Rice Krispies. The young woman has swapped her happy life and extended family in Calcutta for an arranged marriage and a lonely apartment in New York. When her husband, Ashoke Ganguli, leaves home early to work on his PhD thesis, she is left alone to grapple with the mystery of the American breakfast. She fills a bowl with Rice Krispies—and then covers them with curry powder and peanuts.

“The Namesake” is a moving study of the human side of immigration. But it is also a success story. Mr Ganguli snags an academic job, fathers two perfect children, moves to the suburbs and acquires an entourage of Bengali friends. His son, who is lumbered with the name Gogol Ganguli, studies architecture at Yale and acquires an All-American girlfriend, rich, blonde and well-connected.

Mr Ganguli is part of a huge army of immigrants who have brought their brains and enthusiasm to the United States—not just Indians and Pakistanis but also Chinese, Koreans and Europeans. America's high-tech industries are powered by foreign brains. Almost a third of Silicon Valley start-ups since 1995 were founded by Indians or Chinese. They also power America's great universities, particularly the science departments. About 40% of people earning PhDs in computer science and engineering are foreign-born.

You might imagine that America would welcome such talented people. But the national debate on immigration has recently acquired a bilious tone, focused overwhelmingly on the threat of illegal immigration. A country that has been built on immigrant labour is now building fences and demonising foreigners, almost as if it did not need them.

America also makes life difficult for them. Since the mid-1960s the immigration system has been skewed to uniting families rather than to attracting talent. And in recent years it has been driven by a combination of fear of terrorism and rising protectionism. In 2003 Congress reduced the number of H1B visas (temporary visas for highly skilled workers) from about 200,000—well below the number needed—to 65,000.

Potential graduate students and high-tech workers tell nightmare stories of waiting for months for the right bits of paper. And high-tech companies relentlessly complain about not being able to get visas for some of the world's best brains. A few attempts have been made to fix the system. Bill Gates and other high-tech barons have lobbied Congress to create a more flexible process and make it easier for foreign students to stay in America on graduation. But so far all attempts to sort out legal immigration have been swamped by Congress's inability to deal with the illegal kind.

America's legal immigration system is falling apart at just the time when talented foreigners have more choice than ever. Many other countries—including Australia, Canada, Britain, Germany and even France—are bending over backwards to attract talented people. European companies can easily draw on the skills of an entire continent, thanks to the free movement of labour there. At the same time the Indian and Chinese economies are booming. Indian companies such as Infosys and Wipro have California-style campuses, state-of-the-art equipment and generous pay packets (which, incidentally, allow employees to afford a house full of servants). American multinationals such as Microsoft are establishing research and development facilities across the developing world. Indians and Chinese were once willing to put up with any humiliation for a chance of a career in the United States. Now they have more and more choices back home.
Missing two worlds

This raises once again the main theme of “The Namesake”—the human side of immigration. The film reminds its audience that immigration is a traumatic experience as well as a liberating one. This is not just because leaving the rest of your family half a world away is hard. It is also because it poses difficult questions of identity.

Mr Ganguli and his wife find their children becoming strangers to them—revelling in American pop culture and embarrassed by the Bengali community's idiosyncratic ways. But the children also endure a hidden war between their Bengali and American selves. Gogol at first turns his back on his immigrant family, finding it much more glamorous to hang out with his girlfriend's family in Manhattan and Oyster Bay, before rediscovering his Bengali roots when his father dies. His mother returns to Calcutta with an immigrant's lament: she has spent the past 25 years missing India and will spend the next 25 missing America.

There are still good reasons for immigrants to put themselves through all this. America has the world's greatest universities and biggest opportunities for the truly talented. But American officialdom needs to stop thinking that people will tolerate any humiliation to work there. Uprooting yourself from your native culture is difficult enough, without having to deal with unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. America also needs to realise what will happen if the immigrants stop coming. University departments will grind to a halt. High-tech companies will be starved of personnel. New York could find itself eclipsed by London as the world's financial hub.

“The Namesake” is worth watching for many reasons. It is a compelling study of personal identity. It features some of the most talented Indian actors in the business. But it is also an excuse for a thought experiment: imagine how much poorer America would be without the likes of Mr Ganguli.
 

ScreamingEagle

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Knowledge workers no longer need to live in America to work as they can now work from almost anywhere. America keeps giving away its IT knowledge to immigrants, just as it has given away its manufacturing jobs and its agricultural information. Many today do not stay in America as they can now leave and find great paying jobs in their homelands. Foreigners who attend our universities today leave with our expertise and take away with them our jobs. The uneducated poor, however, come here and stay for the welfare, social services, and social security even as our top jobs depart. America is being milked dry.

Immigrants In, IT Jobs Out
By Paul Craig Roberts

Do you remember those Information Technology (IT) jobs that were going to take the place in the “new economy” of those outsourced manufacturing jobs? Don’t bother to retrain. The IT jobs are leaving, too.

Knowledge work can be done anywhere there are educated people. These days that’s just about everywhere: the Philippines, India, China, Russia, Eastern Europe, Costa Rica, and South Africa. Outsourcing of “new economy” jobs is exploding.

A recent article in Business Week (“The New Global Job Shift” Feb. 3) describes “dazzling new technology parks” on the outskirts of India’s major cities where U.S. companies such as Bank of America, Texas Instruments, pharmaceutical companies, Intel, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Hewlett Packard, American Express, Dell Computer, Eastman Kodak, IBM, GE, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Fluor Corp, Electronic Data Services, Citibank, Boeing, mortgage lenders, Massachusetts General Hospital, and even architectural firms hire Indians to do knowledge jobs that Americans did three years ago.

In Bangalore Indian radiologists interpret CT scans for Massachusetts General Hospital, and Indian engineers design third-generation mobile-phone chips for Texas Instruments. Other Indians process claims for major U.S. insurance companies and home loans for U.S. mortgage companies. Indian molecular biologists conduct research for pharmaceutical companies. Indians analyze financial data for Wall Street, conduct R&D for U.S. high tech companies, and design software for Microsoft.

The competition for U.S. knowledge workers is tough. India has 520,000 IT engineers, and starting salaries are $5,000. Five years from now, Indian service exports will add $57 billion annually to the U.S. and European trade deficits, and four million IT jobs will have been moved to India.

The same thing is happening in China, a country with which the U.S. is expected to have a $125 billion trade deficit this year due largely to outsourcing. Microsoft alone is spending $1,150,000,000 for R&D and outsourcing in India and China over the next three years. In Microsoft’s Beijing research facility, one-third of the Chinese programmers have PhDs from U.S. universities at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.

Filipinos prepare Proctor & Gamble’s tax returns and crunch numbers for audits conducted by U.S. accounting firms. Architectural work ranging from home design to multibillion dollar petrochemical plants is outsourced to Hungary, India, and the Philippines.

The U.S. gave away its agricultural knowledge, its education, its technology, its manufacturing jobs and is now giving away its IT jobs. The displaced manufacturing workers did not move to the promised greener pastures. What reason is there to believe that the displaced engineers, Wall Street analysts, accountants, scientists, and other knowledge workers will do any better when their careers are outsourced?

Business Week asked Harvard University globalist advocate Robert Lawrence what happens if America loses its knowledge jobs on top of its manufacturing jobs. His answer was not reassuring. He has no evidence--just faith--that globalization will make us better off.

What is going on when American policymakers and elites gamble with the livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans on faith? Business Week is correct when it says “economists haven’t begun to fathom the implications” for America of globalization. But it is already obvious who the winners and losers are.

The winners are the foreigners with IT educations who live in countries where both the standard and cost of living are very low. The losers are IT employees in the U.S. where both the standard and cost of living is very high. Filipino engineers working for American firms at salaries of $3,000 annually, and Chinese and Indians working for $5,000 to $10,000 annually are unbeatable competition. For American university students struggling to prepare for high tech careers, the good times are over before they begin.

While jobs leave America and incomes fall, the eligibility of illegal aliens for U.S. Social Security and Medicaid benefits is a powerful magnet pulling in poor foreigners by the droves. The 1996 Welfare Reform Act did not end benefits for PRUCOL aliens, those who entered illegally and “permanently reside under color of law.” People collect benefits who have never paid in. And it is American citizens, downsized and outsourced, who are saddled with the burden.

As most everyone knows, Social Security is in dire straits. But its funding problem has not deterred the Bush administration from drafting a treaty with Mexico that will give the Mexican government $345 billion in Social Security payments for Mexicans who have worked legally and illegally in the U.S.

Let’s hope that the Bush administration is correct and that we are not starting a 30-year war in the Middle East by invading Iraq. Otherwise, the combination of war, job and income loss, unprecedented trade deficits, and the creation of Social Security entitlements for foreign nationals will break the U.S. long before another generation passes.

Before the U.S. can reconstruct the world, it must cease deconstructing itself. For that task, the country will need a champion.

http://www.vdare.com/roberts/it_jobs.htm
 
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M

Mr.Conley

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Knowledge workers no longer need to live in America to work as they can now work from almost anywhere. America keeps giving away its IT knowledge to immigrants, just as it has given away its manufacturing jobs and its agricultural information. Many today do not stay in America as they can now leave and find great paying jobs in their homelands. Foreigners who attend our universities today leave with our expertise and take away with them our jobs. The uneducated poor, however, come here and stay for the welfare, social services, and social security even as our top jobs depart. America is being milked dry.
That's why we need to encourage them to stay. The visa process as is only promotes the idea of returning.
 

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