Don't Blame India

Thomas Friedman had an article in New York Times expressed “his concern”: that America is losing its competitive edge to countries like China and India.
bq. First, one of America’s greatest assets, its ability to skim the cream off the first-round intellectual draft choices from around the world and bring them to our shores to innovate, will be diminished, and that in turn will shrink our talent pool. And second, we could lose a whole generation of foreigners who would normally come here to study, and then would take American ideas and American relationships back home. In a decade we will feel that loss in America’s standing around the world.
But now American Universities too are alarmed by the “reducing number of foreign students”:,4386,248461,00.html.
bq. This year, foreign applications to graduate schools in the United States have fallen by 32 per cent with applications from China, India and western Europe showing a dramatic drop. The decline is raising concerns that the US could lose a longtime source of competitive advantage in research, science and engineering. The danger, some argue, is also that the US is forfeiting its successful tradition of educating and befriending the world’s brightest students and probable future leaders.
Intel CEO Andy Grove is also “expressing concerns”: on this and explains that people should not surprised outsourcing is happening
bq. We have to fix our education system. We have to invest more in R&D. And we have to be more consistent about our infrastructure if we want to be competitive. If you have a worse education, a worse infrastructure, and you spend less of your gross domestic product on R&D, what makes you think you should be in a pre-eminent position?
In countries which are now offering competition to United States, education is considered very important. These countries also offer an economic advantage in terms of reduced expenses and the natural outcome of this is outsourcing of not just call centers and software development, but also of R&D. If United States has to address this issue, it has to look deeper and find the cause of the problem and not waste energy by “blaming India”:

2 thoughts on “Don't Blame India

  1. Good post. I agree that unless the visa regime is streamlined, the United States will be put at an economic disadvantage.
    Nevertheless, the United States remains the number one destination for graduate and post-graduate studies– visa problems aside. In addition, many European scientists are still flocking to the United States to do their work.
    I agree with Andy Grove that primary education remains a problem, and it must be fixed less the United States rely exclusively on foreigners. But I disagree with Grove on spending money on R&D. No doubt as percent of GDP spending on R&D is down, but given how big the United States economy is, it is not a pittance. Billions of dollars are still being spent on basic research at the federal level, billions more on university level, and billions more on the corporate level.

  2. Right now, in US it is cool to be stupid or ignorant. Unless that attitude changes, US will continue to lose its competitive edge if number of foreign students keeps declining.

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