Feb 122017
 

Don’t miss the excellent piece on the importance of immigrants to Silicon Valley in the New York Times February 9, 2017. Some highlights:

“Silicon Valley is unlikely, as a phenomenon — it is not the default state of the world,” said John Collison, an immigrant from Ireland who is a co-founder of Stripe, a six-year-old payments start-up based in San Francisco.
One important reason Silicon Valley can exist at all, he said, is that it is welcoming to people from far outside its borders. “I go all across the world, and every other place is asking, ‘How do we replicate Silicon Valley where we are — in London, in Paris, in Singapore, in Australia?’”
The reason those places have so far failed to create their own indomitable tech hubs is that everyone there wants to come here.
“The U.S. is sucking up all the talent from all across the world,” Mr. Collison said. “Look at all the leading technology companies globally, and look at how overrepresented the United States is. That’s not a normal state of affairs. That’s because we have managed to create this engine where the best and the brightest from around the world are coming to Silicon Valley.”

Writer Farhad Manjoo, almost certainly a recent immigrant or progeny of one, reminds us that Apple founder Steve Jobs was the son of a Syrian immigrant. And:

One of Google’s founders is an immigrant from Russia, and its current chief executive is an immigrant from India. Microsoft’s chief executive is also from India. EBay and Yahoo were started by immigrants. Facebook’s largest subsidiaries, Instagram and WhatsApp, were both co-founded by immigrants.

And here’s some extremely important food for thought from the article:

Last year, researchers at the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonpartisan think tank, studied the 87 privately held American start-ups that were then valued at $1 billion or more. They discovered something amazing: More than half of them were founded by one or more people from outside the United States. And 71 percent of them employed immigrants in crucial executive roles.
Collectively, these companies, which include householdish names like Uber, Tesla and Palantir, had created thousands of jobs and added billions of dollars to the American economy. Their founders came from all over the world — India, Britain, Canada, Israel and China, among lots and lots of other points around the globe.

For another take on the benefits of immigration, check out Eduardo Porter’s Economic Scene column in the New York Times February 8, 2017. An excerpt:

Consider the report on immigration released last fall by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. It concluded that immigration to the United States from 1990 to 2010, both legal and illegal, produced net benefits worth $50 billion a year to the native population.
This might seem insignificant in an $18 trillion economy. But it packs more than meets the eye. It is more than the government’s estimate of what the country would have gained from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the grand deal with 11 other countries around the Pacific Rim negotiated over eight years by the Obama administration but abandoned by Mr. Trump.

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