Feature

The land of limited opportunity

The week's news at a glance.

Germany

Julia Bonstein and Alexander Jung
Der Spiegel

Brain drains are supposed to afflict only poor and backward countries, said Julia Bonstein and Alexander Jung in the national magazine Der Spiegel. Yet it’s happening to Germany. Our “educated, experienced, middle-class people” are turning their backs on their homeland to seek their fortunes “somewhere where a brighter future beckons—such as the Third World.” Fed up with high taxes and stifled by an overregulated economy, creative 30-somethings are fleeing Germany. Last year, for the first time in a generation, more Germans left the country than came back. Many of them moved to faraway new homes in India, Africa, Canada, and the U.S. Most, though, settled in German-speaking lands such as Austria and Switzerland. The loss of these doctors, lawyers, and engineers wouldn’t be so tough to bear if Germany took in similar people from other countries. But our barriers to immigrants—even highly qualified, Western immigrants—are so high that the border crossings have become one-way streets. And the flow may quickly increase. “When good people succeed abroad, word spreads. Those left behind begin to get itchy.”

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