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The world is not so flat, God of Visas edition (pmarca.com)
14 points by nickb on Dec 31, 2007 | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

Praying to the Visa God is actually quite a bit more rational than current US immigration policy.

I think pmarca should stick to giant block quotations from the WSJ and other voice-of-the-elite rags, and away from attempts at wit. As for the Visa God worshippers, Ted Kennedy said this,

"The bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs." (U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization of the Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, D.C., Feb. 10, 1965. pp. 1-3.)

He might have added: It will not cause a rush of mentally touched Pagans into our high technology sectors.

If there are hundreds of thousands of educated Indians clamoring for engineering jobs, how aren't they taking over the world yet? What needs to be done to provide them the opportunity? Sounds like there is quite an opportunity for the provider as well as the providees...

I am indian, and though I have spent only a small portion of my life in India, I think there are several reasons "why they are not taking over the world". [Disclaimer - I too am an H1-B holder]

1. India is a country of over 1.3 billion people, and about half are illiterate. So, yes, there are many engineers clamoring, but the number relatively is not as high as it should be.

2. There is a fairly high degree of corruption, which in this case is the result of a lot of red-tape. Getting anything done means having the resources and or money or both to get anything done, which kills many enterprising ideas

3. The high population results in the infrastructure bursting at its seams, and often most places other than the big cities to be lacking. This makes places like the US seem extremely attractive alternatives. A lot of the people who graduate from the IITs (Indian Institute of technology), and many engineering school (almost all my friends) are abroad.

There are several other reasons but I hope this puts it in perspective. Though these days (from what I hear, I haven't been back in some time) times are a-changing. I hear a lot more about the startup scene in India, and with the influence of big corporations like Google, the government seeing that India has the potential to be a technical center in the world, the growth of indian firms like Wipro and infosys, the Ambani and Ispat group maybe this can be avoided.

Hope this puts some of this in perspective.

This is an off topic question, but what do you think of India's economic competitiveness compared to China's?

According to Fortune, China is supposed to be the big player for this century. If true, this is pretty bad since the Chinese elites view people as a means to the end of Chinese dominance. India, on the other hand, institutionally has a better respect for human dignity. Though the caste system is still alive and kicking, it is a religious institution, and not something the government is pushing on the people.

That is a tough question for me to answer, partly because I don't follow any world news... but my impression so far is that China is leaps and bounds ahead of India in terms of economic competitiveness. China has realized the potential of extremely cheap labor, and is fast becoming a black hole, that sucks in raw materials from around the world, and exchanges them for a lot of foreign currency, especially American dollars. India, on the other hand tends to be skewed towards leveraging its technical prowess, though attempting to do what China does (in terms of manufacturing) would definitely be a step in the right direction.

I think India has the potential to create great products at great prices, that can help both raise the standard of living in the country, and bring in foreign exchange. Looking at what the Reliance (and Ispat) group have done in the last 3 decades is a strong reminder of this fact. Over the last decade, India has done some good things, like open up its economy to international companies, which has had both a good and bad effect for the economy itself. On one side, more jobs are created, and the lowest common denominator becomes even lower, but on the other hand, without strict policies, large multinationals have the ability to kill the mom-and-pop businesses (of which there are lot, including the cottage industry within India).

I dont know if this answered your question... Let me know.

Thanks, yes that's a good answer.

So, even though India doesn't compete with China industrially, what do you think about it's intellectual competition? Some of the most innovative mathematicians have been Indian, whereas I don't know of any such Chinese innovators.

While industrialization is very important for turning good ideas into products; the good ideas, in my mind, are more important. As Al Queda is showing us, technology isn't the panacea we often think it is.

That does put it in perspective. Thanks for the insight.

Is it good or bad for India when brighter people leave to go to the U.S.? I suppose they send money home, as most of their extended family remains in India.

"Educated" folks praying to a "Visa God..." Mindblowing... Keeping the spirit of "plug and pray" alive!

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