Thursday, November 04, 2004

How much will that be?

A lot has been written about the how the intellectual coterie of this country, among others, chooses to go away. It could be a small percentage compared to that of people who stay back, out of choice or otherwise; but its sizeable number, nevertheless. Various reasons contribute to this, not the least of which is the lure of opportunity. There is strong case for those who complain that their passions and drives cannot be fueled here, that it will be gross injustice to them personally & the vocations or sciences they pursue, should they stay back.

Frequently, opposition to such migration fights the case of nationalism, patriotism & the like. Needless to say, however, that there is no morally right behaviour that can be "taught" beyond a certain age, if it is not already perceived by the individual. And these "...isms" are innately divisive tactics used mostly by knaves who refuse to stand to reason and swallow the bitter pill of the legitimacy of the complaints of the migrants. And suddenly when a Kalpana Chawla climbs on the spaceship Columbia, its a matter of national pride.

I think I fancy a more economic approach to this matter.

The per capita government spend is not really a very difficult figure to arrive at. It can also be progressively adjusted for inflation to arrive at nice, fat figure as of current date. There are a few adjustments to be made for the public services in general versus special grants, for example to the IITs, which the government spends on. But all in all, it is possible to approximate a figure.

The bone of contention really is, to my mind, about the value of these services as opposed to the price. Paying the price back is a small matter compared to the potential earning a person will make abroad which is in direct correlation to the value of these government spends. An IIT graduate earning in India will generate more money for the country working here, not just in taxes paid but also in terms of businesses and investments such talents attract, than just the sum she has to pay the government back should she decide to go away.

We could look at the average earnings of people with similar backgrounds who have stayed back to get a feel of the value of such spending.

Once we have a price & a value, inflation adjusted, we can let those guys go.

Fair, do you think?

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