Monday, July 26, 2004

Outlawing brain drain 

I've been long interested in the idea of brain drain, a rather perjorative metaphor for smart people in other countries taking their smarts to countries that offer them greater opportunities to turn them into a good life and produce good things for others. Precinct 333 notes that Former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad wants to claim that intellect.
�It costs the Government a lot of money to send our students overseas. The foreign countries choose the best among our overseas graduates to work in their land.

"They should pay us for having taken away our graduates to work, since by right, their training and knowledge should be called intellectual property and we had paid for it.�
I had a few friends in graduate school who had been sent by their governments to the States to study and who were obligated by their home countries to return; the visas are usually created such that there is no way to get another one without coming home first.

Now it would seem only right that if the graduates were financed by the government and wanted now to escape the contract that they should repay the money used in their studies. But that option is actually very seldom provided. Perhaps countries like Mahathir's should investigate why they don't have incentives enough for their talented citizens to remain in their home countries and produce?