One thing about the Russian brain drain that surprised me is the level of "internal brain drain" where scientists remain in Russia but give up their vocation to pursue other careers. More productive careers, I'd say. Consider: Russia had too many scientists. Emigration restrictions and low opportunity cost for becoming educated created one of the most impressive cadres of scientists in the world. A lot of good it did the USSR, right?
Many foreign and domestic companies employ fleets of scientists and technology experts in Russia, and most are Russians. The biggest brain drain problems are in wonderful academia, where soviet dinosaurs lecture on obscure topics to young Russians still getting a highly subsidized education. What happens to a good portion of academia when there is no government funding? Its worthless. Take away a good portion of the subsidies from any country's academic sector and look at the number of academic jobs. Multiply this by a few magnitudes and you have what has happened in Russia. Many of the scientists that remain in Russia are working for productive local corporations and multinationals, or under funding from foreign organizations. My point is, why would we want to stop this "brain drain," especially the internal variety? That said, certainly the large subsidies for science education should be eliminated. The worst thing they can do: "In 2000, funding for science increased by almost 39 percent, and Russia now spends some $1.3 billion on science annually. The numbers are expected to increase even further in the 2003 budget." One good thing: they rent some of their huge lab space out as office space to corporations in order to fund their research. Also, for DC-metro area readers, some Moscow scientists now use their otherwise useless military equipment and laser technology expertise to make very beautiful pieces of art, reasonably priced at the "Russian Laser Art" store upstairs at Tysons Corner. Bryan Caplan wrote: > But the main thing you hear about post-Communist Russia is the awful explosion of > inequality, blah, blah, blah. Certainly, a good portion of the brain drain is due to the inability for scientists doing productive work to make their market wage. I'd say the bigger problem in this case is highly subsidized education, though. > The slogan shouldn't be "equality" but "riches for the most productive" or perhaps > "better inequality." I looked at this from an advertising or public relations perspective, and decided that they would only work in an Ayn Rand novel. -- Zac Gochenour [EMAIL PROTECTED] "Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that 'freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license'; and they will define and define freedom out of existence." -- Voltarine de Cleyre