I was thinking about Brain Drain phenomen. One major case of the brain drain happens when students from developing countries studying in the developed countries decide not to return home after their studies.
The brain drain is the large-scale emigration of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. It is normally due to conflict, lack of opportunity, political instability, or health risks. Although the term originally referred to technology workers leaving a nation, according to Webster dictionary the meaning has broadened into: “the departure of educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another, usually for better pay or living conditions”.
There is a reason I decided to write this post. I bumped into an article about so called Brain Drain problem in Georgia. I am glad there are some quality magazines in my country that pay attention to plenty of important issues like this. Article is in Georgian, so if you can read it go to this LINK of magazine Liberal. It reveals an interesting picture about a typical post-soviet country case were “brains flow away and never come back”. This article focuses on high percentage (over 70%) brain emigration in natural sciences and other vital fields. According to the article 70 percent of the emigrated Georgian population has higher university education.
There is a widely shared agreement that transition to democracy is an elite-driven process. I found extremely interesting research by my former professor and master thesis mentor at university of Bologna Andras Bozoki about this topic. “There was also a – less outspoken – agreement, particularly in the early 1990’s, that reliable democracy should not be made by the masses but be crafted by elites” (Bozoki 2002: 1). He assumes that if highly skilled persons and intellectuals are part of a political, diplomatic, scientific, cultural, managerial or military elite that is an invaluable driving force of social change in transition countries, the possibility of their emigration in large numbers will open new questions. In other words, if a large number of such elites emigrate, there will be severe hardships in implementing transitional reforms. This in turn would pose a significant problem to establishing competent and excellent governmental and professional elites. Some authors already claim that this type of so-called interactionist elite, which assures a more open, richer and diversified form of social co-existence, is missing in transition countries (Bozoki 2002: 16).
In other words VEDRAN HORVAT interprets this as most talent leaves a country because they belong to a parallel, invisible and unwanted intellectual elite whose perception of governance is based on meritocracy.
On the other hand, the present social elite in their domicile countries have emerged from the turbulence of transition often tainted with corruption and a wild, non-ethical capitalism which created an ‘oligarchic’ concept of state management that cannot be attractive. Under such circumstances, the reasons for emigration are primarily ethical. In this context, the brain drain phenomenon could be interpreted as avoidance of direct social conflict and some kind of silent revolution by those who want to be valued according to their merits and not ‘managerial’ capabilities that can be perceived as the base for implementing false-transition (Bozoki 2002: 14).
Another interesting point:
Their return to their domicile countries and (at least virtual) participation in the process of democratic transition—although perceived as a threat to the present elite—is necessary if further socio-economicdevelopment and democratic consolidation is the goal. Still, one can share the opinion that “governments are often pleased to see potential critics leave rather than having them as a source of local criticism” (Olesen 2002: 11).