How to prevent brain drain?

Moldova has a reasonable education system, but per capita income far below that of Mexico.  I don’t see any reason why that ought to change, moving forward.  Insofar as Moldova generates serious entrepreneurial talent, you would expect those individuals to leave for greener pastures, say London or even Vienna or Moscow.

(By the way, I wonder what the “new class of very poor white people” are going to be like in a generation or so, in terms of their political views, as liberalism becomes less internationally dominant.)

Sometimes I wonder which features of a country encourage the very smart people to stay there.

One possible candidate would be “very large and messy countries but with a unique ethos,” such as India or Nigeria.  If you are born in Latvia, having to migrate to and live in say Frankfurt or London just isn’t that much of a life disruption from the point of view of culture, and you can be at peace with what your breakfast likely will be.  It is perhaps harder to leave fufu or chapati behind.

Alternatively, Mexico would seem to be an example of a country where the most talented usually do not leave, and indeed we observe that Mexican migration to the United States is only of “average” human capital quality.  Many of the most talented Mexicans are keen to stay in Mexico, where they can earn relatively high incomes, have lots of servants, pursue a variety of life styles with impunity, and enjoy higher social status than they would receive in the States.  Yet perhaps those overall features — which induce the talented to stay — are also correlated with the economic, political, and social environment being somewhat dysfunctional?

Footnote: There are numerous very talented Mexican migrants from poor or possibly indigenous backgrounds.  But often they do not have the core educational conditions in their upbringing to be able to mobilize their ambitions to achieve maximum productivity potential.


Wish I knew more about these talented Mexicans that stay in MX but I have a strong suspicion they are members of that elite. Say what you want about Gates, Buffet, Bezos, etc but there is some old time stewardship among the US elites. Are Mexican elites similar in thinking?

I don't spend as much time in Mexico as I used to, but I think there is a pretty solid trades and middle class. A bit of a hipster thing.

Trivia .. they told a computer that the nicest places have mid-70s temperatures every day, rank world cities by that standard. Tijuana first, San Diego second.

Mexico has many very successful entrepreneurs. Unfortunately they are all drug kings and kill everyone who opposes them.

Ever had a Pacifico? Or for that matter a winter avocado?

That would make for a good tourism commerical. "Hey, I'm getting my head hacked off by a machete, but I did get to have some avocado toast for brunch this morning"

The most famous high achieving Mexicans might be the Three Amigos movie directors who win all the Oscars. How many of them live in Mexico? Cuaron lives in London and Guillermo Del Toro didn't set foot in Mexico for 15 years after his father was kidnapped and he had to borrow a million dollars from James Cameron to bail him out. He lived in the white flight Las Virgenes school district in the L.A. suburbs. I don't know where the third guy whose name I can't spell lives.

Del Toro, in particular, is a sensitive guy and the ugliness of Mexican life (e.g., kidnapping your dad) seemed to get him down. I can imagine a less sensitive rich guy enjoying the life of a rich Mexican guy, but it's probably not a good culture for somebody like poor Del Toro..

All this anti-Mexicanism is a little hard to take. If you took the top half (not the 1%) of the Mexican population by income, you'd have a very livable and exceptionally beautiful first world country, admittedly toward the bottom of the first-world income distribution (kind of like Portugal). What is wrong with Mexico is institutions and official tolerance of crime. Although the U.S. has mostly healthy institutions, if you're over 40 you can remember when official tolerance of crime was a serious problem in the U.S. It can be fixed.

To their credit, Mexico has a solid plan for realizing that very livable and exceptionally beautiful first-world country you speak of—they send the bottom half of the population by income to the US. The remittances make it a win-win proposition.

As far as tolerance of crime goes, it seems to be a pretty serious problem here today, if the reaction to yesterday's ICE raids (which were aimed at people who had already received final deportation orders and in many cases had committed further crimes in the US beyond illegal immigration) are any indication.

"What is wrong with Mexico is institutions and official tolerance of crime. "

What is wrong with Mexico is tolerance of and engaging in criminal activity is part of the culture.

The first act of those fleeing Mexico is to cheat by entering the country illegally, soon followed by using fake documents and making false statements on legitimate documents.

It's crime turtles all the way down.

It is us, here in the US, that tolerates and even encourages crime. In fact, we reward crime.

We are the suckers.

'or possibly'

You honestly think it is only possible that those from indigenous backgrounds could be among the very talented Mexican migrants?

Time to cue Steve Sailer, who undoubtedly can share links of his writing at unz or takimag or vdare.

Re; the flight of the entrepreneurs, how much does the presence of that small minority really drive economic growth? Compared go the general copying of advanced standards, by the population as a whole. Probably not very much.

There may be structural barriers to Moldovan convergence (are they converging or not?), but I doubt it would be the case that "Oh if the entrepreneurs just stayed" they would "get to Denmark".

" I don’t see any reason why that ought to change"

That's a funny word choice - I wonder if you mean "will" rather than "ought". Either it's wrong (it ought to change, because the situation in Moldova is a bad one, for various reasons, and should be improved), or else a sort of nihilist one, denying moral value. (Or, a weirdly moralistic one?) But, if we want to know whether it will change, we can look at Russian interference in the country - promoting separatists in Transdniestria, working to undermine one of the few industries in the country (wine making - Moldovan wine can be pretty good, and inexpensive) when the Russian imperial ambition is resisted with obvious BS trade sanctions, etc. If Russia would stop messing with Moldova, it would have a much easier, if not easy, path.

I wonder if Moldova is sustainable as an independent nation.

Its history - being in recent times both part of greater Romania and part of the USSR - plus its divisions post Soviet collapse, suggest it doesn't have defined national edges. The ease with which Moldovans can get Romanian passports means both that unskilled can work in Romania (itself suffering from a major labour shortage due to emigration), and those more aspirational with acquired Romanian passports can move across the EU, are worrying trends for it.

With the EU's Eastern Partnership stalling, there is some momentum in both Romania and Moldova for a "reunification" of the two. That likely represents Moldova's best chance for now of joining the EU and creating the conditions that might slow brain drain

Joining the EU is hardly a solution to demographic drain. In fact, by making migration easier, you end up losing everyone, not just the "brains". Particularly young people.

One example is Lithuania (Wikipedia graph), whose population has steadily declined since independence and now is at the same level as the early 1960s. Joining the EU did not alter the downward slope in the slightest. Latvia and Croatia are other examples.

Eastern Germany lost 18% of its population from the fall of the Berlin Wall to 2013, and the trend continues.

Meanwhile, Poland's population has at least remained flat over the past two decades (Wikipedia graph). They are losing "Polish plumbers" to the UK, but gaining migrants from Ukraine.

Ukraine's per-capita GDP is one-third that of Poland or Russia. Its population has also fallen to 1960s levels (Wikipedia graph), and that's even without taking into account the recent territorial issues.

'whose population has steadily declined since independence'

Not only because of the EU, since a certain group of non-Lithuanian language speakers have decided to return to their roots, so to speak. Whether that counts as brain drain is another subject, of course.

'Eastern Germany lost 18% of its population from the fall of the Berlin Wall to 2013, and the trend continues.'

Um, this has nothing to do with the EU, and would be the same as pointing out that in the U.S., there continues to be migration away from places which have done poorly economically for a generation or two to those places where the economy has done well. Or, if one wishes another perspective, socialism sucks, and has long term effects, especially when people become free to move away.

Unlike the other two Baltic states, Lithuania had only about 10% Russians in 1989. The decline in its ethnic Russian population accounts for less than a quarter of the total population loss. And a considerable number of those went to the EU as well rather than to Russia.

No need to quibble over technicalities, Eastern Germany joined the West just like the rest of the Warsaw Pact. Fundamentally the same forces are at work. Having the same language as Western Germany facilitated migration, but on the other hand, the willingness of the German government to invest vast sums surely mitigated it somewhat.

'The decline in its ethnic Russian population accounts for less than a quarter of the total population loss.'

An amount precisely equal to the amount that has nothing to do with the EU.

No need to quibble over technicalities, Germany re-united, after being divided in WWII. Especially the fact that the Germans did not merely share a language, they shared a single citizenship after reunification.

Ukraine is one of those under-rated countries in the sense of possible gentrification. The people there are pretty smart and the country has lots of resources, and Kiev is a very interesting city with lots of cool architecture. They are also developing a democratic tradition.

There is no Ukraine. The so-called "Ukraine" and the so-called "Poland" are historically part of Russia.

There is no Brazil. The so-called "South America" is historically part of Pangaea.

Make Lviv Polish Again!

Make boot polish again!

...and Jewish again. But I agree that Ukraine has a lot of potential and is doing better than the 1/3 of Poland/Russia GDP statistic suggests.

до свидания, жирный русский тролль

"Joining the EU is hardly a solution to demographic drain. In fact, by making migration easier, you end up losing everyone, not just the "brains". Particularly young people."

@Captain Slime My point is more that being admitted into the club helps to establish the country has a future - and comes with large amounts of structural funds. These help to turn around the narrative of the country.

I noted above that Romania is already taking unskilled Moldovans, and that access to Romanian passports skilled allows the more skilled especially to take advantage of full freedom of movement within the EU.

I agree there could be an acceleration of this trend were Moldova admitted to the EU either independently or by unification with Romania. Romania itself has suffered a major drain of its citizens particularly since accession (hence it has a labour deficit of around one million now), but short of EU entry it is more difficult for me to see how Moldova turns itself around.

"Meanwhile, Poland's population has at least remained flat over the past two decades (Wikipedia graph). They are losing "Polish plumbers" to the UK, but gaining migrants from Ukraine."

Poland is also an example of one time migrants returning to the country as its economy has strengthened and enriched - there are no longer the same drivers for people to leave the country.

For sure, Moldova is not in the same position as Poland, nor is it equivalent to the similarly small Baltic states. For this reason I think its best option now is accession via Romania.

There will be no reunification. The Romanian aggressor shall not pass.

Sr. Ribeiro
-yesterday cnn reported that Ms. Joy Villa was possessed by demons.
-a couple months ago cnn reported that yale medical school performs
demon exorcisms!
- looks like the next logical step is gonna be to get yale medical to do a
demon exorcism on Ms. Joy Devo
can you help make that happen?

It hurts me to be betrayed by you in this way, Thiago. I am your biggest fan, and the biggest fan of President Captain Bolsonaro.

The Republic of Moldova is one third of the medieval kingdom of Moldova whose later incarnation later founded modern Romania. Its place is with us, despite the significant sacrifice this will entail on our part, seeing as how our per capita GPD is six times higher than Moldova's and we have a pay as you go pension system, high public employment and single payer healthcare.

For a long time Romania was generally opposed to unification with Moldova, partly because Moldova was very poor (even compared to Romania) and so was seen as a drain, partly because Moldovans were seen as sort of hill-billy versions of Romanians, but mostly because of the ethnic Russian population that lives between the Romanian border and the rest of Moldova, a population put there intentionally as a buffer in Soviet times, and used (like similar populations) by Russia since then to harm and harass ex Soviet states. The situation has calmed down, but the experience of Georgia and Ukraine surely would give Romania some pause, even with being part of the EU, I'd think. (Would the EU fight a war w/ Russia if it invaded a "reunifying" Moldova to "protect" ethnic Russians? Probably we are better off not finding out.)

I suspect Moldova's fate is to be a buffer state, a little like Belgium. In contrast to Moldova, Belgium is in a historically rich part of Europe, but its merging two language nations for Great Power strategic reasons means it's government is more crooked and dysfunctional than other northwest European states. It's a good place to be a diamond thief, but it's a little embarrassing for its classy neighborhood.

You are probably right. Moldova hit the news in 2014 when 15% of country GDP (ca 1 billion USD) was stolen from three of the country's banks.
Good place to be a bankster

How exactly is Belgium a buffer state? The whole point of merging it with the Netherlands in 1815 was to make the new Kingdom of the Netherlands a buffer state against France. Belgium becoming independent 15 years later was a French foreign policy triumph exactly because it removed the buffer. I'm not sure how Belgium has acted as a buffer since.

My take on it, and I am ambivalent about the whole thing, is that the Moldovans are the wary ones, because of the cultural and demographic legacy of the USSR, which also involved the demonization of Romania and time spent within Greater Romania, as well as the means of the unification. The economic divergence since the fall of the USSR would have changed this, but the mobility achieved by Moldovans either through the former USSR space or through the EU space, via Romania, means that you can have your cake and eat it too - have a supposedly independent Moldova, but gain external benefits. Let us remember that the country had the second largest percentage of GDP in remittances in the world, after Tajikistan. Many of the most anti-Romanian pols in Moldova, the kind who say they speak Moldovan and pine for the USSR, have Romanian passports, maintain residences in Romania and generally conduct their European business through it.

Romanians, while cognizant of the poverty of the place, have a sentimental view of unification, which increases the older they are. The youngsters are much more sanguine, but it is the Moldovan youngsters who are the most in favor of unification as a way to solve some of the problems.

It would solve some problems, but create others, and they would likely not find peace of mind in Romania, since it would just given them a larger forum to air grievances on public spending, corruption, pensions etc. Romanian Moldova has also seen the least infrastructure development in recent years, as it is off the beaten track for strategic development (involving areas closer to Hungary and its infrastructure, or connectors to inner Romania, Bucharest and the Black Sea coast). The country would also face a fiscal problem with the new retirees and government officials, plus special pensions to be paid etc.

The issue of Transnistria would also have to be solved, along with its small extension on the other side of the Dniester River, which makes the border less defensible. Gagauzia is also a problem, as the formerly pro-Romanian Gagauz have been brainwashed into being very pro-USSR and pro-Russia.

Lastly, I fear the intrusion of the Ukrainian, Moldovan and Russian crime syndicates into Romania. Our mobsters are inefficient and uncompetitive compared to them and it has been a recurring theory in the public space that the country's intelligence services are in league with the Romanian organized crime elements to keep former USSR mobsters from encroaching on their turf and bringing their special brand of disruptiveness to a country that does not really see bombs, assassinations of journalists and others and people shooting each other on the highway.

Dammit, I wanted to reply to @Matt above

"as liberalism becomes less internationally dominant"

explain in detail, thanks

Well, the core of liberalism is individuals are unequal only in terms of skills and knowledge from investment in individuals, something all individuals should get.

The debate among liberals is how investment in individualss is done. Jefferson stated that the success of the Republic was based on informed individuals, and he then invested his dwindling wealth in schools for the masses. In contrast to the masses of immigrants who built communities taxing themselves to build a public school, or elites who taxed the masses to build schools producing the workers they needed for their businesses.

The Soviet system identified education as the key to beating the US.

In contrast we have Mao's China which created individual equality by eliminating teachers and forcing the educcated to be unskilled farm labor, based on Mao's view farmers are unskilled and ignorant. Mao was much like the MBAs I saw in the 80s who considered both factory workers and engineers as equal, thus interchangeable, parts that can be discarded and then bought at cheaper prices with no impact to production. Castro was a great post 1980 MBA, maybe the model for MBA programs.

The alternative is the ideology that comes out of Saudi Arabia to promote its unequal status of individuals, which is in extreme manifest in Boko Haram, which is basically "no education". Not limited to Islam, because Lord's Resistance Army is based on Christian ideology.

Trump is an example of illiberal movement in that he wants only educated by others allowed in to fill jobs because he doesn't think US born citizens can be educated to fill the jobs.

Or perhaps, Trump wants US born citizens to be uneducated so they do the unskilled jobs, while Trump picks white males who were educated by socialists to make America white again like 300 years of open borders made America white for the first time.

Trump sees that past century as bad because labor shortages in wars required women doing the work of men, which like US women's soccer has most recently demonstrated they can do at least as well as men. And Obama demonstrated a black man can equal white men, and Trump will perhaps play a role in showing a woman can as well. Trump has made the immigration problem worse by loudly advertising "illegals get welfare and jobs in the US because of liberals".

Conservatives made the shortt term migrant labor benefit into a long term migrant "problem" by making the thhousands of years of open borders into increasingly closed borders since the 60s. To change immigrantion law to be more liberal in 1965, Democrats made American natives (Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, etc) equal to Europeans made equal to Africans, Asians. Thus what was legal in 1965 has become increasingly illegal with migrant labor staying decades instead of 6-10 months at a time.

Depopulation of rural America by eliminating the labor force is driven by conservative ideology that says individuals are unequal. Whites superior to non- whites, men superior to women. Trump is the Boko Haram of conservativism.

Regarding the other propositions of the post, it seems strange not to begin with the Roy Model formalised by Borjas, predicting high skilled migration from more>less income compressed economies, average incomes equal.

In addition to real (PPP) absolute premium at all levels of the skill distribution, this seems sufficient to explain Mexican migration from low US/average Mexico skill levels.

Start with what is explained then look at explaining the residual.

"Sometimes I wonder which features of a country encourage the very smart people to stay there."

Rabid nationalism? Without a hefty dose of amor patriae, why would the smart people return to tend to the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods? Well that or -- as you point out -- the chance to lord immense wealth and power over an army of impoverished servants. That's a lifestyle that the combination of minimum wage laws and immigration controls have basically rendered economically impossible in most of the Western countries.

'Rabid nationalism?'

Well, Putin appears to be trying it, but when it comes to young third generation Aussiedler that have grown up in Germany to return to Russia and become Russian citizens, it fails miserably.

Europe is funny when it comes to blood defining citizenship - the Germans encouraged people whose great parents settled in places like the Volga to return to Germany and become German citizens, while today, the Russians are attempting to do the same with what are now considered Russians born in Germany. (European racism is just as flexible as the American version when it needs to be, obviously.)

One possible candidate would be “very large and messy countries but with a unique ethos,” such as India or Nigeria

Those would seem to me to be countries that do lose their best and brightest, at least comparing Indians overseas to the average human quality of Indians in India. My impression of Nigeria is similar.

Mexican elites have fairly easy access to the best of the US when they need it, so perhaps don't feel the need to actually move to the US.

'elites have fairly easy access to the best of the US when they need it'

Pretty much describes the elites of all of South America.

Which is why the term elite might be misleading. Eastern Europe and Russia have always placed considerable value on education, and fostered an educated group of people who are considered part of the elite, even when they do not have the sort of wealth and power that marks the elites of various South American countries.

To put it a bit differently, South Americans have not seen much reason for fostering an intelligentsia. Or a Bildungsbürgertum , for that matter. (Broad subject, Argentina is not Paraguay, etc.)

Yet, Brazil has a great intelligentsia, who freed the slaves without a war, invented the airplane, invented the radio, invented the typewriter, discovered the pion, invented abreugaphy, never waged a war of aggression, etc.

One factor might be the cohesion of families and communities. Is there a strong moral norm for you to stay and look after your family? In that case family size matters too, in Ireland the younger siblings left. What is the relationship between variance in family happiness and tendency to leave? Perhaps unhappy families (or communities) produce more low and high outliers, with the result that societies with more unhappy families produce more very talented emigrants. In my experience it feels like it is not those who feel too talented or not talented enough for their society who leave, it's those who feel like they don't belong.

You're overthinking this. Economic opportunity is the main draw. Who doesn't want to earn several times their current salary?

And many of the barriers that existed historically are now less of a factor: ease of plane travel for regular visits to the home country, ease of keeping in touch with those left behind, greater acquisition of lingua francas especially English and especially among the young, greater international cultural homogenization within Europe resulting in much less culture shock.

Also it's far easier to use the Internet now to find jobs in advance and to research everything about your destination country, including dozens of how-to videos in your native language by your countrymen who already made the move.

Moldova is an interesting choice. In his book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong, Eric Baker devotes a chapter to Moldova and how the cultural lack of trust hinders development.

Something's inhibiting it. Real income levels are as low as India's. India's had quite a menu of accomplishments in recent decades, but it remains so that 30% of the adult population there is illiterate and over 40% practice open defecation.

I feel I am qualified to comment because I am a citizen and a resident of Moldova, I am also quite good software engineer, I worked in 5 companies in 4 countries. I had my own business for a while.

So why I am still in Moldova? First of all it’s convenience, I built a great house in great location which would cost millions of dollars in any of the western countries. I paid 10 times less for it. I enjoy being able to hire a gardener and other domestic help.
I was able to buy a few rental properties for passive income. I used to worry about losing a job and not being able to find a replacement, but as many western companies open branches in Moldova I worry no more.
I routinely get interview invitation from companies in UK, NL, DE, I pass interviews from time to time just to know that I am able to get offers but I see absolutely no point of moving, I won’t get the same convenience level in the West even if they give me twice more money than I have, which is unlikely.

Great comment, by the way.

I have a question- do you have children? If the answer is yes, then did you have them before or after you had the skills that could have allowed you to easily immigrate to the West?

I have 2 children and we don't plan to have more.
We got children after I acquired all the necessary skills, and after having already built a nice house being totally debt free.

I am content with the thought that my kids will have to immigrate, and we are trying our best to give them the best education to succeed anywhere. But of course I'll be happy if they find a lucrative career in Moldova just like I did.

Thank you for the response!

Is there evidence that brain drain is actually damaging to developing countries? As I see it, many of the developing countries that have experienced the most brain drain (Eastern European EU members like Poland, and many Asian countries like India, China, Taiwan, and South Korea) have also experienced significant growth convergence. Seems to be that the benefits of having a diaspora building business connections and skills in the West, not to mention the remittances and incentive effects, outweigh the negative effects of brain drain.

I agree the brain drain is not necessarily bad for the reasons you describe, also if people see other people getting good jobs overseas, it encourages them to get more educated to have a chance at the same jobs. It also increases wages for professionals who do stay, again encouraging others to invest in themselves. Finally people from overseas can communicate back to the home country good practices either in governance or in technical/commercial matters.

I am not sure this is the case, because more frequently than not I saw people taking the jobs abroad that are actually below there educational level, but still pay more than anything they could get at home.
Maybe it is true for younger cohort which got their education in the West and start their careers there too. They get a chance to be exposed to good practices.

Serghei - I was thinking more of places like the Philippines, where a lot of people train as nurses because there is a huge international demand. I think the cases of countries coming out of communism, like in Moldova, is perhaps a bit unique and not a steady state equilibrium. People were trained in one economic system, but then everything changes and their skills and competencies no longer were needed.

By the way, thanks for showing up and commenting on this blog, it is always better when someone who is has first hand knowledge comments. We get a lot of people offering strong opinions of countries actual conditions based on some very filtered news. My take is very similar to yours by the way, most people prefer to live in their own country because that is their culture, they have their friends there and so on. If you move to another country yes there is chance of a bigger salary, but generally speaking the cost of living is higher, and you don't have the personal network, either in business or in personal life. We have had a nice natural experiment on this with the EU freedom of movement, sure there was a lot of people who moved from the poorer countries to the richer ones, but the vast majority preferred to stay at home.

Well, think it as a metaphor for rural to urban migration.

I think the rust belt takes it hard.

Rustbelt problems are mostly that lots of industries no longer viable there.

Losing a bunch of wannabee cosmopolitan hipster yuppie wankers and their aspiring coke habits? Not high on the list of problems.

No but losing the tax base of hipster yuppies is pretty high on the list. Bloated rust belt pensions aren't free, you know.

The country has metrics of educational attainment that look like those of the U.S. ca. 1975. Compare Moldova to other small countries with unhappy histories (e.g. Bosnia, Albania, and Kosovo). It is economically behind all of them. Something is very wrong there.

Neither the moderator nor any of the commenters (bar one) have alluded to another weird anomaly: Moldova's per capita income is just 30% of that of neighboring Roumania. (It is 16% below that of war-wracked Ukraine, which itself has had a generation's worth of terrible economic performance).

Provided the eligibility criteria of the Roumanian welfare system do not encourage retreat from the labor market by the able bodied and working aged, one might suppose that incorporation into Roumania would be the thing to do and would induce some convergence of wage rates. The employment-to-population ratio in Moldova is wretched (about 0.40), so the people there would benefit from a larger field in which to seek work.

Many of the numbers you quote are simply untrue because they are based on Moldova's statistics which is plain unreliable.

Just few days ago they revised population number to around 2.6 million, which is 30% lower than previous number. So this instantly makes all economic indicators look 30% better. I am not sure though that other countries in the region have better statistics.

Many of the numbers you quote are simply untrue because they are based on Moldova's statistics which is plain unreliable.

The statistics are from the World Bank. And even adding 30% leaves them behind everyone but the Ukraine.

Do you think World Bank independently collects statistics for every country of the world? In most cases no, they just take data from each country's statistics agency.

In case of Moldova I know it for sure because WB data are exactly the same as Moldova government's. Watch out for dramatic economic performance increase in Moldova when the data for 2019 comes out :-)

I dont think that incorporation into Romania changes much. Wages in Chisinau are about 25% lower than wages the nearest Romanian city Iasi, and about 35% lower than in Romania's capital.
Given that the price level in Chisinau is lower too, real earnings are not dramatically different.

Get back to me when you've digested the concept of 'real income'.

If only someone knew how to calculate "real income" more or less precisely. Especially if someone cared to do it for such holes as Romania and Moldova.

There's always the Big Mac index.

I find Numbeo web site gives better information than Big Mac Index. I wonder when they gonna make a synthetic index out of all the info they have.

Definitely related to Trump's most directly racist tweet-thread of all time:

US Congnress members are not really American, and should "go back" to where they came from.

The reason this doesn't apply to Melania, or Donald himself, should be obvious to the reader. It is white nationalism stated directly.

Just wow. We got from "it's all TDS," to here.

Melania doesn't hate the country that welcomed her, or at least if she does, she's smart enough to be quiet about it.

In any case I'd love to know why, if America is such an *-ist hellhole, all of these "real Americans" elected to come here anyway.

Land of opportunity, indeed.

Thanks for that report from the front, Pepe.

By the way, to clear up any confusion, if there was confusion: Ayanna Pressley (born in Chicago), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (born in NYC), and Rashida Tlaib (born in Detroit) were all born in the USA.

Cool story bro. You might have been born in a whorehouse but that doesn't make you a companion.

He specified those three specifically?

Or is this just blatant misinformation...

It's anonymous. He's only critical of data that's in opposition to his world view.

Of course, the easiest way to prevent brain drain would be for Western nations to restrict immigration.

It seems ironic that the hivemind wishing to throw open the gates to the West in order to help the "refugees" from the third world to prove their humanitarian virtue may in fact be hurting those who stay behind. (Not that I'm implying that all or even many of the immigrants are particularly intelligent. After all, they aren't sending their best.)

I have a feeling that the drones haven't thought this out very much, but perhaps their endgame is simply to relocate all seven-billion-plus people into North America and Europe, so that everyone can benefit from the magic dirt that makes the West so successful. Or maybe they would rather submit to a world government that puts all brains under one metaphorical roof.

As it stands, it seems that all of those people who proclaim unrestricted immigration to be on the right side of history may in fact be causing more harm than good. As long as your Facebook friends think you're a good person, though, I'm not sure this matters much.

In any case, irrespective of a person's intelligence or entreprenurialism, immigration is an inherently r-selected behavior, which means that brain drain is ultimately a net positive for the third world, and a net detriment for the West. Better to have a nation full of dumb patriots than one full of smart mercenaries.

There were four nationalities sharing a taxi, French, Cuban, Mexican and American......

Is liberalism becoming less internationally dominant? What?

Liberalism has never been as dominant as in the present moment. Even the fortresses of anti-Liberalism, Russia and China are several times more liberal today than they were 30 years ago. It is true that there are some point setbacks, for instance, in Putin's consolidation of power over the past 15 years and Xi's supressing the little institutional elements present in the Communist Party of China. However, liberalism is advancing in spades in India, Brazil and many other major developing countries. While economic growth is decreasing in authoritarian states (serious estimates of Chinese growth rate made by international specialists in national accounts estimate growth rates from 2013 to 2018 at 3.5%, while Russian growth was near zero).

Exactly. Brazil is implementing the most radical free market reforms since the Perestroika. I can't understand why Brazilian leaders don't get credti for that!!

"Liberalism has never been as dominant as in the present moment."

Yes, that's an odd remark. Leftism may not be as dominant, but Classic Liberalism has been on a clear ascendancy for decades. China is probably the only exception.

It is also perhaps easier to obtain a work visa in the UK if you are from Latvia than from Nigeria.

If you are Latvian, you do not need (currently) a work visa in the UK at all.

Moldova and Mexico don’t seem particularly analogous. Mexico for one does have a very large, cosmopolitan place called Mexico City for its elites to flock to. Also, the sheer demand of Mexicans wanting to come to the US means that well off Mexicans looking to legally migrate have to jump through hoops to get into a satisfactory visa category. Also, add in that while many *can* speak English, Mexico is I think overwhelmingly Spanish in day-to-day terms (at least outside of the tourism industry) so the language hurdle is non-zero.

Add it up and the elite Mexican would probably stay home in Mexico or go to another Spanish speaking country with some opportunity.

Just a guess..but still I don’t know that any of that applies to Moldova.

Virtually any Moldovan able to work has Romanian passport, which opens access to job markets of any EU country, including UK as long as they are still technically part of EU.
So while language barrier certainly exist, there is no visa barrier.

Even Mexico's second and third cities, Guadalajara and Monterrey, have a flourishing elite. Each city has its own "Beverly Hills," good air service to the U.S. and to the rest of Latin America, and amenities comparable to similarly sized European cities. I don't think Moldova has second and third cities that are in anyway comparable (although I haven't been there so I don't really know.)

"It is perhaps harder to leave fufu or chapati behind."

Written like a true Bobo. I suppose fufu and chapati don't immigrate, too.

So, President Trump knows how to prevent brain drain - “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run”

Oh wait, does that mean he wants Americans born in America to stay in the U.S. to help fix a complete and total catastrophe? As always with Trump, you never know where the buffoonery stops and the unaware idiocy starts.

Being born in America doesn't make you American any more than being born in an ambulance on the way to the hospital makes you an EMT.

There are people here whose families have invested centuries of blood, sweat, and tears to turn a continent of wilderness into the world's superpower.

It should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of critical thinking skills that these people have much more of a stake in the well-being and the future of this country than the one who showed up (or whose parents showed up) a few years ago after all of the hard work was done. This plays out when you look at who is trying the hardest to fundamentally change the country and/or extract the maximum amount of profit from it, e.g., the so-called democratic socialists who want free stuff someone else created and their leftist handlers who want to import a new people to create their own banana republic to lord over. They'd just as soon turn America into another third-world hellhole because they don't care about it and/or they're too stupid to realize their policies are why they wanted to leave where they came from.

Just like not all men are created equal, not all people born in a country are equally citizens of that country. Claiming otherwise is like saying that HRH Queen Elizabeth II is no more English than the Polish plumber who arrived on the last Eurostar and anyone who insists on this obvious falsehood is either engaging in obfuscation for the benefit of the traitors who wish to destroy the West or is too stupid and/or gullible to be allowed credence.

'Being born in America doesn't make you American'

Of course it does, with rare exceptions such as being a the child born in the U.S. to an accredited diplomat.

'There are people here whose families have invested centuries of blood, sweat, and tears to turn a continent of wilderness into the world's superpower.'

Well, that would seem to exclude our current president from being an American, which is absurd (Even more absurd would be claiming that the president's children born to that president's immigrant wives are not American either). After all, Trump's mother was not born in the U.S., and neither of his father's parents were born in the U.S. either. (Oddly enough, Trump's grandfather returned to Germany, married a German, and was subsequently kicked out of Germany after returning a second time because of his leaving to avoid military service, according to the Bavarian government.)

'(or whose parents showed up) a few years ago after all of the hard work was done.'

You really should not be so critical of our current president's mother, or two of his three wives, or their children.

'This plays out when you look at who is trying the hardest to fundamentally change the country and/or extract the maximum amount of profit from it'

OK, that is a fair criticism of Trump.

'Just like not all men are created equal'

Yet all Americans are created equal, and they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

'Claiming otherwise is like saying that HRH Queen Elizabeth II is no more English than the Polish plumber'

Well, maybe that Polish plumber can trace his lineage directly to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha or Hanover too, like Queen Elizabeth's?

'for the benefit of the traitors who wish to destroy the West'

Poe's Law likely applies, since one hopes you are not seriously claiming President Trump is a traitor bent on destroying the West simply because his mother and current wife are immigrants to the U.S. (And just for fun, when did the Poles become dedicated to destroying the West? Was it before or after a Pole was selected as pope?)

Since you don't have anything to say about my actual argument and decided to waste both your and my time with pedantry instead you shouldn't mind telling me which of these phrases exist in the Constitution:

a) "For ourselves and our posterity"; or

b) "For ourselves and our posterity, plus anyone who wants to make a quick buck in the world's richest welfare state".

' to say about my actual argument'

Well since saying that people born in American are not necessarily American citizens, which of course is utterly wrong, you have no argument.

But let me quote the relevant part of the Constitution - 'All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.'

And honestly, there is no reason to insult our First Lady by suggesting that all she wants is to make a quick buck in the world's richest welfare state.

Oh right! The Fourteenth Amendment! How could I forget? You try to clarify the status of freed slaves one time and you end up with millions of anchor babies.

Let me clarify for your sake and that of others who don't have a response other than deliberate obtusion that while these people may have a US passport, they are not Americans in the sense that:

a) they don't belong to the historic American nation, i.e., the people who have been involved and whose ancestors have been involved in creating this nation from scratch;

b) they have no connection to America other than a desire to benefit economically from it, and will leave for greener pastures the moment America ceases to be useful to them in that regard; and

c) they wish to fundamentally transform this country to destructive ends either to spite a) or to further b) if not both.

It's clear that you are in favor of or at least apathetic to this arrangement although regrettably instead of being forthright and saying it directly you've decided to waste our time with pedantry.

If you are one of the non-Americans as described above, best of luck to you in your endeavor; if you happen to be one of the historical Americans who have decided either through ignorance, cowardice, or greed to aid and abet what is functionally an invasion then you should remember:

a) how most societies have historically dealt with traitors and enemy collaborators; and

b) if you come at the king, you better not miss.

Many of those anchor babies from over a hundred years ago became the "real" Americans that you praise. Some even sacrificed more than the average native. America's approach to immigration and integration is a source of its strength, something that China and Russia cannot replicate. Something to remember as the game of global geopolitics approaches the end of the first quarter of the 21 century.

Right, and some of the immigrants arriving today are patriots demonstrating great family values when they aren't hard at work Doing The Jobs Americans Just Won't Do™. So let 'em all in! Diversity is our strength.

The quality of human capital entering this country is directly linked to its level of development. This exists in a continuum from its founding through the Ellis Island era on to today. When it consisted of nothing but wilderness and hostile Indians the only people willing to come here were the ones who wanted the opportunity and the adventure of building a nation. When it was expanding across the continent it attracted those who wanted to make their own way in a new society. Today it has the highest standard of living in the world, aided by a robust welfare state, and a near-constant clamoring for even more handouts, from health care to college, some of which are explicitly intended to benefit immigrants, especially illegal immigrants. What sort of people are you going to attract when you advertise easy living and free benefits?

We don't have a hundred years to see if today's immigrants pan out to be a net benefit for the welfare of the country. We already see what their children (the paper Americans) are doing; the DNC's Facebook Four are a prime example. They aren't sacrificing anything; they are some of the loudest voices for remaking this country into another socialist paradise. Just like China and Russia!

'Oh right! The Fourteenth Amendment! How could I forget? '

Willful ignorance comes straight to mind, as it demonstrates how utterly incorrect your original statement is - 'Being born in America doesn't make you American.'

And there is no need to clarify for anyone's sake that you are obviously, and let us be polite, one of those fine fellows likely to be chanting 'blood and soil' while parading with torchlights.

'they have no connection to America other than a desire to benefit economically from it'

Amazing how you cannot stop from insulting the First Lady, or the mother of our current President. Which is your right, of course - plus it is quite entertaining.

Do you have anything at all to offer other than dull textualism? One wonders if you follow this philosophy elsewhere; for example, the right to bear arms.

And do you have anything to offer other than boringly retreaded and thinly cloaked racism? Which is entertaining when juxtaposed against the circumstances of the current occupant of the White House.

After all, you are clearly, and broadly, impugning the patriotism of the children of recent immigrants, such as our current president, or his son, borne by the current First Lady, who did not grow up in the U.S. speaking English.

But don't worry, there are plenty of other fetid pools for you to hop into, where people will welcome your insulting our president, his current wife, and his youngest son merely because they only showed up (or whose parents showed up) a few years ago after all of the hard work was done.

Oh, you can call people racist too! And here I thought you were a one-trick pony.

'you can call people racist too'

Well, when you make it so easy, why not? Besides, you could try to be a proud boy, instead of merely decrying what some stranger on the Internet calls you.

Of course, you are also clearly a Trump hater, with all your talk of those who support recent immigrants being involved in aiding and abetting what is functionally an invasion.

No one cares who or what you think is racist. A racist is just anyone who doesn't toe the line from a progressive's point of view. If this plus your prior pedantry is the best response you have to offer then you should stop wasting your time and admit you have nothing in defense of your seditious behavior.

I think that whoever debated and passed the 14th Amendment was well aware that there were Germans, Irishmen, Jews, and so forth arriving in the United States daily, and they must have known that the amendment would grant their children citizenship. Either that or they were idiots. I don't remember Charles Sumner, Salmon Chase, etc. being idiots.

My own ancestors started to arrive immediately after the 14th Amendment was passed. I'm glad their children, including my grandfather who passed away in 1991 at the age of 103, were considered citizens in a way that was beyond dispute.

The 14th Amendment, then, may have been partly about slavery but it was not only about slavery.

They were already considered citizens "in a way that was beyond dispute"—their parents became citizens when they arrived at the ports of entry.

Remember that this was happening en masse before 14A as well, for better or for worse; you will have difficulty finding any documentation, contemporary or not, making a legal distinction between second-generation German/Irish/Jewish immigrants born before or after its ratification.

Again, this amendment came about in a time when large-scale government-sponsored benefits were unfathomable and anyone arriving in America was expected to assimilate. It's hard to imagine that Howard et al. would have foreseen a future in which millions of anchor babies are born to illegal immigrants who have no allegiance to this country besides what they can extract from it. I don't know about idiots, but does the law of unintended consequences mean anything to you?

"Insofar as Moldova generates serious entrepreneurial talent, you would expect those individuals to leave for greener pastures, say London or even Vienna or Moscow."

Are you sating that it is wrong to increase living costs in Moldova, or that it is impossible to increase living costs in Moldova to create fhe economic opportunity to build enterprises to increase GDP?

The only way to have an "Adam Smith" increased GDP per capita is by increasing living costs.

Adam Smith was writing in reaction to pillage and plunder mercantilism, eg, a colonial power extracting oil from Saudi Arabia which is recorded as high GDP per capita with all the extraction profit going to the colonial power. That the House of Saud is the colonial power is merely a cheap way to maintain the colonial extraction without the moral responsibility.

If alternatives to fossil fuels exist in 2030, Saudi Arabia will be like Moldova in terms of GDP per capita, but with the cost of living of the US structure likely leading to regional war.

Iranians want higher costs of living and understand they need higher GDP so they build industry. Eg, while the US has shutdown facctories producing insulin analogues, Iran has in the past decade built a factory in partnership with Novo Nordisk, such that Iran can treat diabetics much cheaper than even Europe, if it can get the factory inputs, whether chemical plant outputs or vials, injectors to package the drugs, commodities with ample global producers.

The typical development model for Moldova is Novo Nordisk builds a factory with debt from say the World Bank on land supplied by the Moldova government, training and hiring Moldovans paying prevailing wages to prevent raising living costs, and then exporting diabetic products with costs 50% of Iran due to Moldova living costs being lower than in Iran, and then selling the products in Europe at twice the price in Iran. That will provide the profits to pay bribes to the powerful in Moldova. This will be hyper dependent on a supply chain controlled by Novo Nordisk so it can't be nationalized like OPEC nationalized the oil field pillage and plunder.

I find it interesting how economists have tried to argue lower GDP per capita of the bottomm 50% means the bottom 50% are better off because the product they can no longer afford, but must have, is worth a price twice as high as the price they can not afford on their slashed wages from slashing costs, which are always labor costs, never profits and economic rents.

Moldova follows the Milton Friedman model of "shareholder profit" priority and slashing costs, not the model used by China and Iran, Keynes:
"I feel sure that the demand for capital is strictly limited in the sense that it would not be difficult to increase the stock of capital up to a point where its marginal efficiency had fallen to a very low figure. This would not mean that the use of capital instruments would cost almost nothing, but only that the return from them would have to cover little more than their exhaustion by wastage and obsolescence together with some margin to cover risk and the exercise of skill and judgment. In short, the aggregate return from durable goods in the course of their life would, as in the case of short-lived goods, just cover their labour costs of production plus an allowance for risk and the costs of skill and supervision."

Moldovans need to leave the Moldovan mercantile Milton Friedman economic system for one closer to the Adam Smith and Keynes ideal, where living costs rise to pay a growing GDP per capita.

That's exactly what's happening, various EU companies start to open factories in Moldova despite the corruption. This country path is not that different from Romania, it's on right track.

>Moldova follows the Milton Friedman model of "shareholder profit" priority and slashing costs, not the model used by China and Iran, Keynes:

The sound I just heard was Lord Keynes rolling over in his grave.

"Brain drain", popular poetic verbiage with little actual meaning, like "road rage" or "flip-flop" or "boob-tube", that becomes an element of the unimaginative lexicon. Why would anyone other than a spouse or relative care if an individual moves about for any particular reason? Isn't freedom of movement seen by the enlightened West as a requirement? Isn't that the biggest reason that the fall of the Berlin Wall was so celebrated?

Why should a spouse or relative care? Isn't that the logical conclusion of individualism? Everyone is their own person, so who are you to offer anything but support for their decisions?

Canada has experienced a significant 'brain drain' to the U.S., especially a couple of decades ago when our standard of living was significantly lower and our taxes and regulations higher. The result has been a chronic shortage of certain specialties. In Alberta, we have had a severe shortage of rural doctors, for example. So now we're scouring the world and hiring doctors away from other countries who are poorer or less stable than we are. For example, we've had an influx of doctors fleeing South Africa, to make up for our own brain drain.

South Africa is a perfect example of why a 'brain drain' matters. Since 1995, the number of professionals who have left South Africa for high income countries has gone up by a factor of 2.4. In that same period, South Africa's per-capita GDP has plummeted.

On the one hand, I'm glad that people facing persecution can get out the country persecuting them. On the other hand, this seems to me to be a factor that will accelerate damages that bad policies inflict on countries. And it's always the smartest and wealthiest and most risk-taking people who will be the first to flee when a country goes bad, making it that much harder for the rest of the people in that country to live decent lives or to make changes required to restore sanity.

But according to chuck, those people who are fleeing don't have any obligation to the rest of the people in that country. Why should they? After all, those people are just fellow workers in an arbitrary economic zone.

Ergo, someone that moves from rural Arkansas to Chicago is "fleeing" the Razorback State, not going to the Second City for a particular job or because they have friends there. If they're true patriots they should stay in Mudville, employment or no. You don't have much of a mind to be out of.

This is your brain on libertarian globalism, my friend. Maybe you should stop thinking about nations as places where people happen to be and start thinking about them as collections of people with a shared lineage, culture, and system of values. Then the idea of a member of that nation leaving for a foreign land to pursue personal gain (or, as some people here will undoubtedly frame it, a wealthier nation enticing them to leave) starts to become less about an expression of individualist entreprenurialism and more about someone selling out their family.

There are people here whose families have invested centuries of blood, sweat, and tears to turn a continent of wilderness into the world's superpower.

It wasn't actually a continent of wilderness, unless you're the type that gets lost in Central Park. It was the home of millions, most of whom knew their way around the local scene, exploited agriculture and lived the normal life of a neolithic. The blood, sweat and tears were a failed investment by the 15th century inhabitants, whose few descendants have been either murdered or marginalized to the least hospitable parts of the continent.

With all due respect to the neolithics, there aren't one and a half billion people worldwide who want to emigrate to the US because of what the Indians built.

On the other hand, if we lived a more primitive life we'd have less of the riff-raff clamoring to get here and we'd probably be happier to boot.

South Africa's per capita GDP has doubled since 1995. It's a disappointing result, but very different from plummeted. Maybe you are thinking of falls in the rand against the dollar?

South Africa's per capita GDP was:

1995 - $4,800
2016 - $6,000

So, while it hasn't doubled, it's clearly grow substantially.

However, recently it's fallen from:

2011 - $8,000

Perhaps, that's what the original poster is thinking of.

Australia has a "brain drain" to Melbourne and Sydney, but this isn't considered a problem because people are only crossing dotted lines, not solid ones. The smaller population centers end up with lower incomes but also lower living costs, a more relaxed lifestyle, and 15 minute commutes. It's considered okay. The problem is, old people left behind in Adelaide can benefit from taxes paid by young people in Sydney. So perhaps Moldova should encourage remittances from citizens who emigrate. Some kind of convoluted student loan system system maybe?

Oh, by the way, it's quite normal now in Australia for businesses to have people in Moldovia and other places working for them. Even quite small businesses. I'm not sure this is the case in America. But the US appears to have high compliance costs when it comes to paying for services from overseas.

The quality of Mexican migrants depends on the country migrant selectivity FracHi. For Mexico the brain drain of graduates is about 7% for year 2010, but on average Mexico is getting slightly smarter by exporting more of those less smart, it is negative brain drain.

DegDrainNdx: ratio of number of immigrant with deg over number of graduates in country
MAGIQ: estimated Migrant Average Group IQ (estimated from bell-curves of migrants and national pop)
UniA: fraction of national population with degrees (from OECD data)
FracHi: fraction of migrants with degrees (from the respective hosts' census)
ENIQMA: Estimated National IQ from Multi-Attributes of graduates

Host DegDrainNdx MAGIQ IQLynn UniA FracHi ENIQMA Country
AU: 0.00 118.3 88 0.162 0.85 102.8 MEX
UK: 0.03 117.3 88 0.162 0.834 102.8 MEX
FR: 0.02 113.0 88 0.162 0.752 102.8 MEX
CA: 0.14 105.5 88 0.162 0.572 102.8 MEX
DE: 0.01 98.2 88 0.162 0.381 102.8 MEX
US: 6.31 86.7 88 0.162 0.142 102.8 MEX

The DegDrainNdx shows the host migrant selectivity. The smaller the number the more selective they can be. For most countries the MAGIQ of Mexican migrants on average are smarter than those in Mexico with IQlynn=88, except for USA where on average they are less smart with MAGIQ=86.7. The ENIQMA is estimated with respect to IQLynn and UniA, from the bell-curve the higher the graduate percentage UniA of population the less intelligent they are.

For India the brain drain of graduates is about 2.5%. The relative brain drain is positive but small, there are more new graduates replacing those migrated.

Host DegDrainNdx MAGIQ IQLynn UniA FracHi ENIQMA Country
US: 1.59 119.5 82 0.056 0.82 105.8 IND
AU: 0.10 117.3 82 0.056 0.779 105.8 IND
CA: 0.40 111.7 82 0.056 0.652 105.8 IND
UK: 0.33 104.1 82 0.056 0.456 105.8 IND
DE: 0.02 98.6 82 0.056 0.315 105.8 IND
FR: 0.01 96.8 82 0.056 0.274 105.8 IND

For Brazil the brain drain is tiny.

Host DegDrainNdx MAGIQ IQLynn UniA FracHi ENIQMA Country
AU: 0.02 117.7 87 0.116 0.802 104.9 BRA
CA: 0.06 116.5 87 0.116 0.781 104.9 BRA
UK: 0.05 113.2 87 0.116 0.709 104.9 BRA
US: 0.60 105.6 87 0.116 0.519 104.9 BRA
DE: 0.05 103.0 87 0.116 0.448 104.9 BRA
FR: 0.04 96.6 87 0.116 0.289 104.9 BRA

Interesting! Can you do one for Romania?

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