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Atlas isn’t shrugging in China

September 10, 2011

In no way do I intend to transition this blog into anything political. Nor do I claim to have any advanced opinion on economic issues. All cards on the table: I failed econ 101.

However, Obama’s Jobs Bill and the recent report that no new jobs have been created in a stalled and sluggish economy raises a significant amount of concern among History majors at liberal arts schools. Suddenly cramming for a bartending license and learning how to balance seven dirty plates on three fingers seems more worthwhile than that term paper that is due next week.

Just kidding. As far as I know, people aren’t opening any new bars or looking for wait staff.

This subject made it to my blog because if there are no jobs in the United States, where are all of us college grads going to go?

If we are paying more money in taxes to pay for entitlements that don’t apply to our income bracket, how long will we put up with it before going somewhere else? How long will our student discounts apply after college for a one way ticket out of here?

Because in the age of Facebook, Skype, and Travelocity, the world is much, much smaller. As my grandmother put it to me the other day, opportunity is no longer going to California like it was for her. Opportunity is conceptualized on a global scale.  There is no land of opportunity: opportunity lies in the next internet startup, the next silicon valley,  and securing venture capital for a new idea.  The point is my generation’s pursuits do not lie within the corporate world.  Our generation is focused on the individual rat race, and if that race cannot continue in America, the winners are going somewhere else, and no amount of patriotism or expat taxes is going to stop them.

Where are they going? Well it isn’t anywhere the euro is failing, so we can rule out any country in the EU.  They certainly aren’t going anywhere near the middle east; there are few stable areas to start a business, dubai’s economy is at a standstill, and let’s be honest, what female is going to put up with that kind of business culture? That leaves latin american countries that are constructed within a capitalistic economy and…..China.

And the only country that doesn’t seem to be aware of this impending brain drain is the United States. Because proposing a 400 billion dollar stimulis to “jumpstart the economy” and the jobs market does not sound like an attractive deal from a person about to head into the work force.

This history major is looking to more distant horizons. In the land of the rising sun.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate in Nashville permalink
    September 10, 2011 10:55 pm

    When we were looking for a home in Nashville TN 19 years ago the realator told us to pick and area of the city that meets your needs, then start narrowing your focus. If you are only thinking of the whole picture it becomes overwhelming; both in picking real estate and in choosing a career/job and a place to do it. The best business are started by people who have a passion/particular interest that motivates them. It is my view that the salary alone does not determine what you are passionate about; it’s the work itself and what you are hoping to accomplish. The U.S. is still a land of opportunity that far surpasses the majority of countries around the world. This is where the basic economics comes in to play. What is it that you want to provide (with a passion), that people want and will go out of their way to get. Then, make it happen.

  2. Rita permalink
    September 12, 2011 11:38 pm

    I am hoping that as a History major understand what is truly needed in this country to “jumpstart the economy” and that you and your generation don’t jump ship but rather rally together to elect people of a similar mindset. We need your generation active and involved to keep this the best country in the world (also something that everyone outside this country still recognizes but somehow we are forgetting). If setting up business in China were that easy why and it is such a great place to live, why are the Chinese still coming here in droves?

    • September 13, 2011 2:20 pm

      What kinds of workers are coming to America? Unspecialized laborers. Not only does america have serious limitations on the amount of educated immigrants/work visas but I am inclined to think that the demand to come be a professional here is greatly diminished. I think American’s are blinded by the long standing notion of ‘american exceptionalism’ that prevents us from seeing the consequences of our economic decisions on my generation. Brain drains happened across Europe in the 1980s when europe moved towards socialism. Ayn Rand may have had some important insight into psychology in her novel atlas shrugged. Rather than attempt to fight against the machine, entrepreneurial minded businessmen jumped ship. To stay in America when the government is working against your success would be altruistic, but not in our nature.

      • Rita permalink
        September 13, 2011 5:08 pm

        I agree we need to do something about our visa situation – there are still plenty jobs for skilled professionals and not enough qualified people to do them. We also need to do something our education system which is truly broken. And i don’t disagree that the government is working against your success. But again I say – you can build your future on the country with the greatest constitution and freedoms – even if the country is going through a rough patch. Or you can abandon the country and move on. Your choice – but know there will come a time when blonde-haired blue-eyed Americans will no longer be welcome in China and the fruits of your labor will simply be taken over by the Chinese government or given to a Chinese firm. What will you have then? Nothing… because America as we know it will have ceased to exist,while you were off staking your fortune somewhere else. Until the fundamentals over there change I believe it is a big risk for young folks to stake their future there. Short term – sure its a good plan but not very smart for the long haul unless you stay actively involved in returning the US to a business friendly country.

  3. September 13, 2011 2:36 pm

    I think that given the current economic environment, and the expected economic environment for the US in the near future, Gen is correct. There are more opportunities outside of the US than inside the US, and nearly all of them coincide with Asia or India or Latin America.

    Let’s examine some data and facts. US Immigration policy is horrible. PhD’s are finding more opportunity in their home lands than here, so they leave. With the US debt crisis, the home economic environment will continue to decline.

    Encouraging students to get involved in government is silly. They ought to be out taking risk and creating opportunities for themselves. Government is for hacks, or should be.

    Current tax policy in the US tells younger people to make their money outside the US as non-citizens. Since they graduate with little or no assets, they have an economic advantage becoming a citizen of a place like Singapore or Switzerland. People with assets have an artificially constructed fence created by the 2007 Congress that traps them here. Corporate tax policy also keeps you from repatriating overseas assets.

    The only way this changes is with a Republican President, and a 60 seat majority in the Senate. Further, the policy changes that come out of a hypothesized Republican super majority have to be sweeping in size and scope.

    What is the probability of that happening? Very slim I think.

    If I were an entrepreneurial American, I would fight hard against the socialists, but I would have an exit strategy.


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