“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” – Oscar Wilde
America is a uniquely attractive place to live: a lifestyle superpower.
Because America is so big and diverse, immigrants have an incredible array of choices. The proportion of Americans who are foreign-born, at 13%, is higher than the rich-country average of 8.4%. In absolute terms, the gulf is much wider. America’s foreign-born population of 38m is nearly four times larger than those of Russia or Germany, the nearest contenders. It dwarfs the number of migrants in Japan (below 2m) or China (under 1m). The recession has dramatically slowed the influx of immigrants and prompted quite a few to move back to Mexico. But the economy will eventually recover and the influx will resume.
Economic growth depends on productivity, and the most productive people are often the most mobile. A quarter of America’s engineering and technology firms founded between 1995 and 2005 had an immigrant founder…
Foreign-born residents made up just 12.5% of the U.S. population in 2008. But nearly 40% of technology company founders and 52% of founders of companies in Silicon Valley.
The U.S. remains one of the most attractive countries for entrepreneurs. It has a culture of risk taking, capital formation, and an economic dynamism that is the envy of the world. This gives us a competitive edge that we should not let slip through our fingers.