14 June 2020

Nationalism vs. Economic Excellence

It still boggles my mind that nationalism has any support.

Here are two pie charts. It shows that the US has 3X as many top-tier AI researchers as it has produced. 

There is no country where mothers' wombs magically enable their children to excel at AI. These children are randomly born around the world. Of late, those babies tend to grow up to come work in the US. Our anti-immigrant, anti-trade policies are reversing that. It's nonsense.

Over the last decade, the US has led in the number of Nobel Prize winners: half of whom were born in other countries.

The US gets so many perks for being the place people come to work and research. The ripple effect of this is so great and goes in so many directions. Short-term, it creates jobs for American restaurant workers, dry cleaners, teachers, nurses ... Long-term, it creates new knowledge, technology, products, companies and industries.

My experience is that the more demanding the field, the greater the percentage of foreigners. It is about as hard for a product development team to be among the best in the world without immigrants as it is for a basketball, baseball or football team to play championship games without any players of color. Among their many evils, racism and nationalism lower levels of performance by creating artificial barriers to contribution and collaboration.

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