Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Emigration to Save a Life or a Country??

Illegal migrants are caught fleeing Pakistan (photo source: Islamization)

Sunday's Times paper also had a great article about how young Afghanis are leaving their country in droves, seeking asylum wherever they can.

I have actually found that emigration, particularly brain-drain, is the single biggest way of doing international development. India, China, and Vietnam's current growth, I believe, is a result of the massive emigration and brain-drain that both those countries experienced in the 60's and 70's. Frustrated by the lack of opportunities, the best and the brightest bailed in hordes, moving to the West and bringing with them their hopes and dreams.

In those days, the countries cursed their fleeing citizens. It left their economies debilitated.  But interestingly, it was the single best thing that could have happened for their long term growth.

These same generations are now older and retiring, and long for the idea of the homes they knew as children. Having fulfilled their dreams materially, many of my parents' generation are moving back home, taking their savings, their new values and their new ways of living back with them to invest in their own countries. They've known a better way of living, of thinking, of behaving, of dignity and treating people with decency and human rights. And slowly the situation is changing. 

Even years before as young men and women, many of these same people had pushed for open markets. And once this happened, many of my parents' generation rushed to take advantage of the cheap labor and the familiarity of the land and culture. They invested in businesses and had a large part to play in the export boom that has since revitalized many of these once dormant economies.

So, can this mass migration of Afghanis be the single best thing that we can do to help their countries grow in the long term?? I think so. Take the best, train them and then let them go back voluntarily. Just as this man has done...

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