December 09, 2005

Brain Gain

An article in the Economist takes note of the significant brain drain underway from eastern Europe to Britain. It's important, they say, "to consider why people are leaving. Low pay in the public sector is one reason; rigid or corrupt institutions may be another. Revealingly, many central Europeans say they are especially attracted by the relatively flexible and unbureaucratic British way of life—such as a one-page quarterly tax return for small firms."

I'm reminded of an article from a few months back, entitled America Still Beckons, in which Joel Kotkin described the ongoing if quiet brain drain from Europe to America, also driven by economic opportunity rather than political distress back home.

Anglospheric economic flexibility strikes again.

Posted by Peter Saint-Andre at December 9, 2005 08:52 PM

Anglospheric economic flexibility strikes again.

Which is why you won't see many Latvians burning cars in London.

I'm Romanian and pretty much everyone I know has worked or has a relative who works in Western Europe. I'm not pesimistic about the brain drain. It's the brawn drain that's having a profound effect on our economy, bringing in billions of euros in cash and slowly altering the social and political landscape. We've still got a long way ahead of us, but the mini economic boom we're experiencing means we get to keep some of our best and brightest employed in a market that can't go anywhere but up while simultaneously keeping millions out of unemployment.

It's interesting, to say the least, that it is Britain who gets slammed for its selfishness on the budget and its stuborn refusal to join in the "ever closer union", while France and all those paragons of a superstate EU are busy shoring up their less-than-stelar economies against the hordes of Polish plumbers.

Posted by: Felicia at December 9, 2005 10:01 PM

Kotkin's article explains why Eruope is so anti-American - because all the Eruopeans who like America move here!

Posted by: name at December 10, 2005 05:04 AM

Just for future reference, here's a related article about the "Irish Dream", which is a reality for most of the 120,000 Polish people living and working in Ireland (out of a population of only 4 million!). The biggest challenge is the lack of English-language skills among the immigrants. Even so, the Poles in Ireland are thriving. My favorite line is quote from the co-founder of a Polish-language weekly newspaper in Ireland: "Here, we can do the impossible in one day. For miracles though, it can take longer -- two to three days." :-)

Posted by: Peter Saint-Andre at December 29, 2005 11:08 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?