"The United States would not be remotely dominant in high-technology industries without immigrants," flatly declares writer George Gilder, who chronicles international competition along the information superhighway. "We are now utterly dominant in all key information technology domains. And at every important high-tech company in America, the crucial players, half of them or more, are immigrants.
Consider the history of a single company: Intel, the $10-billion Silicon Valley company that is the world's largest producer of semiconductors. It offers a striking example of the creative forces unleashed by bringing together talented, ambitious people from all over the world (including the United States) and allowing them to share ideas in an open, entrepreneurial economy.
1968: The company is founded by two Americans who are quickly joined by Andrew Grove, a 31-year-old Hungarian engineer who fled his country 12 years earlier as Soviet tanks poured in. Grove, who left Hungary with $20 in his pocket, will eventually rise to be Intel's CEO.
1969: Intel scores its first big success with the MOS chip, which becomes the semiconductor industry's favorite technology. The team that develops the chip is spearheaded by Les Vadasz, a Hungarian who will eventually become an Intel vice president.
1970: Intel introduces the DRAM chip, which will soon be one of the fundamental building blocks of virtually all computers. Les Vadasz plays a key role on the development team.
1971: Dov Frohman, an Intel engineer from Israel, invents the EPROM chip, which retains its memory even when the power is turned off. It quickly becomes indispensable in everything from telecommunications equipment to automobiles.
1974: Intel unveils the 8080, the first general-purpose microprocessor. Of the three top people on the development team, one (Federico Faggin) is Italian and one (Masatoshi Shima) is Japanese.
1979: The company produces the 8086 chip, which, with slight modification, will become the brains of the first IBM personal computer. The team that engineers the chip is headed by Jean-Claude Cornet, a French immigrant.
1993: Intel introduces the state-of-the-art Pentium chip. The Pentium project is managed by Vinod Dham of India. And one of the chip's two principal architects is another Indian, Avtar Saini.
Entäs mitäpä, jos USA sulkisi rajansa?
"You exclude immigrants from our high-tech industries and what you get is Europe, where they have no important computer or semiconductor company now after 20 years of focusing on information technologies. There's been a steady stream of heavily funded European economic community industrial policies focused on semiconductors and computers, and Europe has ended this period without a single important computer or semiconductor company....In fact, many of the key contributors to the U.S. industry came here from Europe: Eastern Europe, Italy, Belgium, Britain, France. Where would we be if we hadn't welcomed them?"Glenn Garvin kertoo myös hauskan anekdootin siitä, kuinka vu0nna 1980 Fidel raotti työläisten paratiisin ovia, ja laadukkaasta terveydenhuollosta huolimatta parissa kuukaudessa 125 000 kuubalaista oli etsinyt itselleen uuden kodin Miamista. Tilastoja tutkinut David Card huomasi työvoiman kasvaneen 7% - toki markkinat reagoivat niin hitaasti, että vähintään väliaikaisesti oli huomattavaa työttömyyttä? Ei, ei mitään - työttömyys ei kasvanut edes lyhyellä aikavälillä tipan tippaa. Jotenkin ne työmarkkinat vain tuntuvat toimivan teorioiden mukaan, vaikkei se irrationaalinen ihmisluonto muuttujiin ja kaavoihin mukamas taivukaan. (Toki pitää huomauttaa, että hyvä osa kuubalaisten työllistymisestä oli myös luonteeltaan epävirallista, eikä rattaissa ollut sääntelyn hiekkaa tämän takia.)