Mail Call; Trading in Talent

Newsweek International, May 3, 2004 | Go to article overview

Mail Call; Trading in Talent


Some readers of our March 8 report on the migration of the brightest minds didn't agree that this trend is all that beneficial. "A free-market economy drives migration," writes one; "it doesn't create equality."

One's Gain Is Another's Drain

Your March 8 special report, "Brain Gain," says, "South Africa boasts one of the world's most active diaspora networks." True, but I think it is not fair to ignore the fact that South Africa also has one of the highest HIV rates in the world. Coming from New Zealand as I do, I could perhaps be excused for thinking that South Africa has 42 million white medical professionals. I traveled there last year and saw the truth. When I spent four months in an HIV orphanage, it became obvious that these people in the "diaspora" are desperately needed in their own countries, where people are starved of resources and professionals--resources and professionals that are fleeing the country. "For many countries, diaspora talent is the key to their success," you say. Possibly. And for the individual South African doctor welcomed in a safer, more profitable country, it is a personal success story, but I would not like to explain that "success" to any of the 5 million South African individuals suffering from HIV.

Andrew Johnston

Chilanga, Zambia

Faced with rising crime in the 1980s, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation (such as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and the 1997 implementation of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act) to make it easier to deport immigrants. This resulted in a great increase in deportations to Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Many deportees are convicted criminals; some have been given early release from prison with the agreement that they will be deported. This policy has seen a decrease in murder rates in almost all U.S. cities--down to the lowest they have been in the past 20 years. By contrast, in many other countries in the region there has been an increase in violent crime, and murder rates began to increase at about the same time the deportations started in 1994. In the meantime, the United States, Canada and Britain are actively recruiting our most educated people--university graduates, nurses and teachers. While the "brain gain" may be good for these rich countries, it is destabilizing our region, leading to more illegal immigration. These rich countries must keep and rehabilitate their criminals and at least help our universities in the training of our educated elite that they plan to entice.

Horace Fletcher

Kingston, Jamaica

Migration is such a mixed issue: prosperous nations need immigrants yet often view them as a threat. Nonprosperous nations cause people to leave on what is often a lonely and melancholy mission of seeking a better life, while benefiting from the money those emigrants send back to their native lands. The driving engine of this phenomenon is a free-market economy that, unfortunately, does not provide for equality in the spread of prosperity.

Francis Chizoba Orajiuka

Brescia, Italy

The Essentials of Tea

I can't believe that your two-page article "The Art of Tea" (March 8) did not mention that tea has to be made with boiling water. …

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