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Moving Out, Needed In

By Rip Ritchie

    My experience in India enlightened me about a form of migration that I could not see with my own eyes.  It had to do with an out-migration of Indian citizens to highly developed countries such as those in North America, Europe and Australia.  Many highly trained individuals from India are moving to these places in order to seek out employment and fill openings that are in high demand in these places.  I talked to several people while I was there who mentioned this “brain drain” issue and referred to it as being a very serious problem. 
   In learning about migration in India, the most significant man that I talked to was named Ahmad whose son had traveled to the United States after finishing his medical training atsnake man the university.  He found a job and was doing very well for himself there.  Ahmad said that this is very common and that several of his friends also have children that have followed similar paths.  Stephen Castles and Mark Miller refer to this phenomenon known as “brain drain” in their book, The Age of Migration.  They discuss the trend for highly skilled workers to move from India and other developing countries to industrial nations in the last few decades.  They acquire a good education in their homeland and then move because they can receive better wages abroad.  Ahmad was disenchanted with this process because he was worried about what it is doing to his country.  There is a serious lack of doctors and other professionals in India precisely for this reason.  In Ahmad’s views, it is not good that a country can support the education, but the economy cannot support the employment.  His son has married a woman in the United States and has started to break with many of the Hindu traditions.  This worries Ahmad because he wants the Indian culture to live on in his children.  Furthermore, he knows that his son is a good doctor and wants him to provide services for his own people.  If the highly educated and trained individuals leave the country, how can India provide good services to its citizens?
    I also talked to a young professional named Giuna in New Delhi.  He works for a technology firm and designs new chemicals and medicines to be put on the market.  His company is a United States based company and he is paid well for Indian standards.  His concern with the company is that many of the new products are being exported back to the United States and patents are being obtained there.  India is not receiving the intellectual property and the resulting profits.  It is a new form of “brain drain”, and almost equally as serious.  Western countries are taking the good things from these less developed countries and profiting off of them without giving much back to the host country.
   The brain drain can be a very serious issue for the countries that are being “drained”.  They are losing valuable assets that they could use to build up their economies and become cowmore developed.  The Western countries are using these things to support their dominance in the technology and highly skilled sector and not letting the benefits spread around the globe.  In a sense it is keeping the less developed countries less developed and maintaining the high development in the Western, industrialized countries.  It is a different form of migration, but it has become a very serious issue.  It involves not only the people migrating from the country, but also the skills and the intellectual property they produce.  These are people, skills and ideas that could benefit the host country immensely.  They are not unskilled workers that have little potential for their host country; they are assets that need to be utilized in ordercow2 to strengthen the economies and societies of developing countries.  Ahmad and Giuna have very serious concerns and something must be done so that their country can start benefiting from the wonderful potential of their educated citizens. 

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