Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

Stopping the Brain Drain (?)

Economist Morton Marcus, retired director of the Indiana Business Research Center which, among other things, creates population estimates and projections for Indiana, made an interesting speech recently at Indiana State University in Terre Haute.

I don’t agree with everything Marcus says in his speech, but this blurb from the media coverage of it really caught my eye:

Marcus further noted that he is not concerned about a so-called “brain drain” from the Hoosier state, calling attempts to keep Indiana’s kids in the state a mistake. It is better to encourage young people to leave the state and attract new people from other areas to move here, he said. “We have an inadequacy of brain-inflow,” not a brain drain, Marcus said. “Too many people in Indiana have not seen the rest of the world.”

This is right on I think. It’s not that I think that cities should try to get rid of their young college grads, but having cities full of people who’ve never lived anywhere else breeds an insular attitude. It also makes it extremely difficult to change and break out of existing molds. When you don’t know what other people are doing, it’s hard to judge if you are doing well or not. And of course people as well as cities benefit from new and different experiences. Now I’ll be the first to admit that’s really a value statement, but it’s a value I’m glad to promote.

The other side of this around brain-inflow is also key. Places like San Francisco didn’t become hotbeds of skilled technical people by retaining their kids. They did it by hoovering up educated people from elsewhere. As I argue elsewhere, all too many of the smaller, aspirational cities I cover here are selling a commodity product that is not likely to appeal to young, ambitious, educated people. This makes attracting those brains from elsewhere difficult.

Comments Off
Topics: Talent Attraction
Cities: Indianapolis

Comments are closed.

The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

Telestrian Data Terminal

about

A production of the Urbanophile, Telestrian is the fastest, easiest, and best way to access public data about cities and regions, with totally unique features like the ability to create thematic maps with no technical knowledge and easy to use place to place migration data. It's a great way to support the Urbanophile, but more importantly it can save you tons of time and deliver huge value and capabilities to you and your organization.

Try It For 30 Days Free!

About the Urbanophile

about

Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.

Full Bio

Contact

Please email before connecting with me on LinkedIn if we don't already know each other.

 

Copyright © 2006-2014 Urbanophile, LLC, All Rights Reserved - Copyright Information