The Chinese Brain Drain

I wonder what Tom Friedman would say to this report about China from StrategyPage:

Thousands of the smartest people in the country still go off each year to attend graduate school in the West and do not return. Many of the graduate students from the 1970s and 80s have returned and many have founded hugely successful businesses. But now a third of China’s most successful businessmen (and some women) are moving their families and fortunes overseas. Many of these economic refugees are obtaining dual citizenship wherever they can. Many are sending their wives to give birth in the United States, so that some of their children will be United States citizens. These refugees already have moved over half a trillion dollars in assets out of China and at current rates that will double in the next three years.

These wealthy refugees fear the pollution and corruption in China and are losing faith in the current government (a dictatorship run by the Chinese Communist Party) to set things right before the country collapses into another period of civil strife and economic collapse. There is little faith in the armed forces, who are seen as just another bunch of corrupt government bureaucrats.

Of course, we’ve reached the point here where record numbers of Americans are renouncing their citizenship in order to avoid Uncle Sam’s extremely sticky fingers. That’s not nearly as bad as China’s problem, which reveals a deeper and more systemic level of corruption. Plus, democracies are inherently more resilient than other forms of government. We always have a chance coming up to throw out our bums.

But at a certain point you do have to wonder if the new bums will be any better than the old bums, or if the overbearing bureaucracy has effectively neutralized election results.