Monday, May 19, 2008

Brain Drain

It seems very dangerous to be a small country with large reserves of a natural resource in today's world. Quite swiftly, a media campaign painting the country's situation as requiring Western intervention is drummed up. Over a few years this builds up to the point where the country can be invaded, and its resources are signed away in order to "pay" for "rebuilding".

But India seems exempt, partially because it is a large country, and partially because there aren't many crucially important natural resources. The one really abundant resource in India is manpower. But India willingly gifts this resource to various rich countries; there is no need to invade.

This doesn't matter to a few Indians. But for many, those living in India and even some who have "gifted" themselves to the West but still care about India, this is a sad thing. India should do things to prevent it, they believe. But there is cause for despair, and little cause for celebration on this front. Rao's reforms of 1992 have brought a modicum of prosperity to India, but some governments don't seem to have learnt the positive lessons from those reforms.

People are important. All efforts should be made to keep the best people, by keeping them happy. Money spent on retaining good talent is repaid many times over. The presence of talent has a ripple effect, stimulating talent in other individuals. The loss of talent has exactly the opposite effect: the loss of talent is exacerbated by the loss of potential mentors for new talent.

Reports such as this one are especially wrenching.

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