We’ll leave the lights on for you

Posted by lex, on February 24, 2008

The UK is experiencing yet another of its episodic waves of “brain drain“:

Record numbers of Britons are leaving – many of them doctors, teachers and engineers – in the biggest exodus for almost 50 years.

There are now 3.247 million British-born people living abroad, of whom more than 1.1 million are highly-skilled university graduates, say the researchers.

More than three quarters of these professionals have settled abroad for more than 10 years, according to the study by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

No other nation is losing so many qualified people, it points out. Britain has now lost more than one in 10 of its most skilled citizens, while overall only Mexico has had more people emigrate.

Bad enough in itself, but there is also a strange kind of optimism:

The emigration was leading to a rapid change in British society as large numbers of highly-skilled immigrants moved to this country to replace those leaving, (a British migration expert) said.

“Britain has been lucky – although it has lost substantial numbers of people, it has attracted more than a million skilled immigrants to replace them. If they stop coming then that would be a problem.”

Well, from the point of view of cultural self-preservation, applauding the influx of aliens to supplant a restive native elite is certainly looking for a pony at the bottom of the pile of s***. To what shall we attribute this de-Britainization of Britain?

Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, said: “Ten years of Labour has re-created the brain drain. High taxes and Government interference are driving people away…”

Prof David Coleman, of St John’s, Oxford, said the brain drain was “to do with quality of life, laws and bureaucracy, tax and all the rest of it”.

Surprising they should choose to leave, I know, what with all the free health care. But we live in a global economy where barriers to the exchange of ideas, goods and services are very low. It appears that successful, hard working, healthy and educated elites prefer working where their services are valuable in their own right rather than places that see them as pocketbooks to plunder.

File this one under the category of “Taxes have consequences.”

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Politics and Culture

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