PHDs, Eligible women, Green cards?
Tom Friedman at the New York Times makes an interesting proposal.
The reason I had to laugh was because it seemed like every one of the newly minted Ph.D.’s at Rensselaer was foreign born. For a moment, as the foreign names kept coming — “Hong Lu, Xu Xie, Tao Yuan, Fu Tang” — I thought that the entire class of doctoral students in physics were going to be Chinese, until “Paul Shane Morrow” saved the day. It was such a caricature of what President Jackson herself calls “the quiet crisis” in high-end science education in this country that you could only laugh.Friedman's proposal to offer it to all PHD candidates I think is too broad. I do however think it would be to the benefit of the US to offer it to candidates in fields where are shortages. Science, Technology, and Engineering fields. Of course, who's to decide what fields we need candidates? Technology is always changing and a field that needs PHDs today, won't necessarily be as attractive say 10 or 20 years from now. Still I like Friedman's idea.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud that our country continues to build universities and a culture of learning that attract the world’s best minds. My complaint — why I also wanted to cry — was that there wasn’t someone from the Immigration and Naturalization Service standing next to President Jackson stapling green cards to the diplomas of each of these foreign-born Ph.D.’s. I want them all to stay, become Americans and do their research and innovation here. If we can’t educate enough of our own kids to compete at this level, we’d better make sure we can import someone else’s, otherwise we will not maintain our standard of living.
It is pure idiocy that Congress will not open our borders — as wide as possible — to attract and keep the world’s first-round intellectual draft choices in an age when everyone increasingly has the same innovation tools and the key differentiator is human talent. I’m serious. I think any foreign student who gets a Ph.D. in our country — in any subject — should be offered citizenship. I want them. The idea that we actually make it difficult for them to stay is crazy.
China is going to have a surplus of men and a shortage of eligible women in the not too far distant future. Why not try luring those smart enough to come here?
Hat tip- James Joyner at OTB
Linked to- Big Dog, Cao, Morewhat, Third World County, The World According to Carl,