Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Brain gain or Brain circulation?

There’s been a lot of talk of India’s “brain gain” lately – the reverse phenomenon to brain drain. A lot of articles have started to talk about Indian brain that had settled – marinated, in their words - temporarily in countries like US returning back to India and participating in the growth story here.
For much of the last century India suffered a "brain drain". Generations of Indians set off in search of a better life in other countries. Today, an estimated 25 million people of Indian origin live overseas.

"The Indian private sector facilities are at a par, and dare I say it, in some cases better than what is available in the West," she says.

"In the last six years I would say that from a trickle at first there is now a constant flow of people wanting to relocate back home."

It’s reported that about 35000 people have relocated back to India. I’m not sure if its really a significant figure since there are still millions who’d flock to US given the first chance.
"There's something for everyone here," she says.

"And because you have a luxurious lifestyle you can enjoy yourself more."

It is an attraction some find hard to resist. The yawning gap between the new rich and the old poor means the wealthy in India have a very high standard of living.

I think the media sometimes makes it sound so good. I wonder if lifestyle in India is anywhere comparable to the western standards. Of course, you could afford a servant or two in India (which is not possible in western countries), and settling in the home country is great, but does that make quality lifestyle?

This home-coming has also been referred to as “brain circulation”.
… immigrants from Taiwan, China, India and Israel who were trained in the United States as engineers moved to Silicon Valley in the 1980s and 1990s and then back to their respective homes to cross-pollinate cultures and industries.

… It's really opened up for peripheral economies like China and India because rather than simply losing their best and brightest--the old idea of brain drain--now those people come home to connect places like India and China to a global technology production network.
Whatever the terminology, I’m not sure if the reversal amounts to anything compared to the brain drain and the ever-increasing number of applicants to GRE and the like. Nonetheless, it’s good news that highly educated people have started contemplating about settling down in India – an option that wasn’t available 10 years ago.


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