Migration and Brain Drain - Part IIWritten by Sam Vaknin
Politicians in some countries decry this trend and deride those emigrating. In a famous interview on state TV, late prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, described them as "a fallout of jaded". But in many impoverished countries, local kleptocracies welcome brain drain as it also drains country of potential political adversaries.
Emigration also tends to decrease competitiveness. It increase salaries at home by reducing supply in labour market (and reduces salaries at receiving end, especially for unskilled workers). Illegal migration has an even stronger downward effect on wages in recipient country - illegal aliens tend to earn less than their legal compatriots. The countries of origin, whose intellectual elites are depleted by brain drain, are often forced to resort to hiring (expensive) foreigners. African countries spend more than $4 billion annually on foreign experts, managers, scientists, programmers, and teachers.
Still, remittances by immigrants to their relatives back home constitute up to 10% of GDP of certain countries - and up to 40% of national foreign exchange revenues. The World Bank estimates that Latin American and Caribbean nationals received $15 billion in remittances in 2000 - ten times 1980 figure. This may well be a gross underestimate. Mexicans alone remitted $6.7 billion in first 9 months of 2001 (though job losses and reduced hours may have since adversely affected remittances). The IADB thinks that remittances will total $300 billion in next decade (Latin American immigrants send home c. 15% of their wages).
Official remittances (many go through unmonitored money transfer channels, such as Asian Hawala network) are larger than all foreign aid combined. "The Economist" calculates that workers' remittances in Latin America and Caribbean are three times as large as aggregate foreign aid and larger than export proceeds. Yet, this pecuniary flood is mostly used to finance consumption of basics: staple foods, shelter, maintenance, clothing. It is non-productive capital.
Only a tiny part of money ends up as investment. Countries - from Mexico to Israel, and from Macedonia to Guatemala - are trying to tap into considerable wealth of their diasporas by issuing remittance-bonds, by offering tax holidays, one-stop-shop facilities, business incubators, and direct access to decision makers - as well as matching investment funds.
Migrant associations are sprouting all over Western world, often at behest of municipal authorities back home. The UNDP, International Organization of Migration (IOM), as well as many governments (e.g., Israel, China, Venezuela, Uruguay, Ethiopia), encourage expatriates to share their skills with their counterparts in their country of origin. The thriving hi-tech industries in Israel, India, Ireland, Taiwan, and South Korea were founded by returning migrants who brought with them not only capital to invest and contacts - but also entrepreneurial skills and cutting edge technologies.
Entrepreneurship and Workaholism - Part IIWritten by Sam Vaknin
This is part of a much larger wave of in-house corporate innovation dubbed "intrapreneurship". The most famous example is "Post-It" which was developed, in-house, by a 3M employee and funded by company. But all major and medium American firms encourage institutionalized intrapreneurship.
Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are often associated with another American phenomenon - workaholic. Bryan Robinson in his 1998 tome, "Chained to Desk", identifies four types of workaholism (or "work addiction"):
The Bulimic Workaholic Style - "Either I do it perfectly or not at all"; The Relentless Workaholic Style - "It has to be finished yesterday"; Attention-Deficit Workaholic Style - adrenaline junkies who use work as a focusing device; Savouring Workaholic Style - slow, methodical, and overly scrupulous workers. Workaholism is confused by most Americans with "hard work", a pillar of Protestant work ethic, by now an American ethos. Employers demand long work hours from their employees. Dedication to one's work results in higher financial rewards and faster promotion. Technology fosters a "work everywhere, work anytime" environment.
Even before introduction of 35 hours week in France, Americans worked 5 weekly hours more than French, according to a 1998 study by Families and Work Institute. Americans also out-worked industrious Germans by 4 hours and British by 1 hour. The average American work week has increased by 10% (to 44 weekly hours) between 1977-98.
One third of all American bring work home, yet another increase of 10% over same period. According to Economic Policy Institute, Germans (and Italians) took 42 days of vacation a year in 1998 - compared to 19 days taken by Americans. This figure may have since deteriorated to 13 annual vacation days. Even Japanese take 25 days a year.
In a survey conducted by Oxford Health Plans, 34 percent of all respondents described their jobs as "pressing and with no downtime". Thirty two percent never left building during working day and had lunch at their desk. Management promotes only people who work late, believed a full one seventh.
Most Europeans - with notable exception of British - regard their leisure and vacation times as well as time dedicated to family and friends as important components in a balanced life - no less important than time they spend at work. They keep these realms strictly demarcated.
Work addiction is gradually encroaching on European work scene as well. But many Europeans still find American - and, increasingly British - obsession with work to be a distasteful part of much derided "Anglo-Saxon" model of capitalism. They point at severe health problems suffered by workaholics - three times as many heart failures as their non-addicted peers.