Is Donald pricing talent?

Lauren Peebles Period 5 The rapid rise of emerging countries such as China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and others means new challenges and new opportunities for the United States. So how will America, with its new president, perform in global competition? In many ways, the United States is the wealthiest, most advanced power in history. What’s more, America has abundant natural resources and other advantages, huge supplies of oil, coal, and natural gas; the greatest technical colleges and universities in the world and a large and growing population. No other country today has all of these resources like our nation. We might be the best country in the world right now, however recently we as a country have been in a huge crisis. With much debate, Donald Trump is now president. His outrageous ideas and policies have set many people, including countries, on edge. The election has drifted people’s attention from what should really be our main priority: Human Capital.

Human capital includes an individual’s skills, education, talents, habits, viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organization or country. In his book Naked Economics, Charles Wheelan addresses this topic by comparing different people to Bill Gates. He brings up the question “Why do some people have indoor trampolines and private jets while others sleep in bus station bathrooms?”[1] He explains that people aren’t poor because of Bill gates or Steve Jobs but because of their own self: lack of skill. The United States is fortunate to have a huge advantage over other nations when it comes to attracting and developing human capital. America features the best science, engineering, and technical colleges on the planet, including MIT, Caltech, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, University of Texas, Purdue, University of Maryland, and dozens more[2]. Year after year, these schools turn out some of the greatest undergraduate and graduate students. What is more, they act as magnets for foreign talent as the brightest and most ambitious foreign students want to come to the United States to study, learn, and develop their human capital. Yet, in recent months, a worrisome development has arisen. In Donald Trump’s strict plan for immigration, many believe it will lead to the decrease in the amount of human capital in the US.[3]  According to the Migration Policy Institute,10.5 million immigrants have a college degree or higher, representing about 29 percent of the total 36.7 million foreign-born population ages 25 and over.[4] Trump’s policy, which calls for all land, air and sea ports to have a biometric entry-exit visa tracking system to ensure the whereabouts of immigrants in the US, will definitely decrease the amount of human capital in the US. [5] Another disadvantage from Trump’s policy, is that with the recent development of technology, foreign universities have been able to flourish allowing citizens to grow their capital in other countries which will take away capital from the US. For generations, skilled immigrants who came to study in the United States often wanted to stay here, to work in American companies, or to start companies of their own. The United States was rightly seen as the best. Now the mood among many skilled immigrants is changing with significant consequences for American economic and technological leadership. America is no longing their only choice.

[1] Wheelan, Charles J., and Burton Gordon Malkiel. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science. New York: W.W. Norton, 2010.

[2] “The Best Engineering Schools in America, Ranked.” Best Engineering School Rankings | Engineering Program Rankings | US News. Accessed November 29, 2016.

[3] “PolitiFact Sheet: Trump’s Immigration Plan.” PolitiFact. Accessed November 29, 2016.

[4] “College-Educated Immigrants in the United States.” 2016. Accessed December 1, 2016.



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