Shaping globalization: Braindrain in times of globalization

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The old version of the text which includes all discussion (with peer review) is available at Shaping globalization: migration in times of globalization

Introduction - what is globalisation?

Globalization is a very far-reaching concept. It is defined differently by people around the world. People from the area of policy define it differently than people from the industry. Fact is, therefore, that globalization affects everyone. Globalization brings benefits and disadvantages for everyone. Mezricky described globalization as "an uncontrolled process." (Václav Mezricky. The nature of globalization. Global actors and driving forces. 2006). An important step towards globalization was the regulation for the conversion of other currencies to the dollar from 1971-1973. Companies now could trade easier over the borders of their countries to other countries. It emerged multinational corporations. (Václav Mezricky. The nature of globalization. Global actors and driving forces. 2006). International organizations were founded. Furthermore the loosening of borders between countries could be seen in the context of globalization. Almost free travel was now offered internationally. The developing of communication technology makes it possible to exchange information rapidly. Globalization involves four types of activities: development, stretching, intensification, speeding up and growing Extensity. These four areas influence each other, the developments in communication technology influence the expansion or the growing Extensity of global organizations. (Held, McGrew, 2008, p. 2) If, according to Held affect all areas of globalization, then it could be that globalization also brings disadvantages.

Globalization in its current speed overwhelms the adaptability of many people. In the western industrialized countries, many workers are facing unemployment or have been affected. For older workers, it is difficult to adapt to the new situation. A whole generation of workers thus falls into a deep crisis.

In developing countries, many people feel that they can’t prosper. In those countries, although come to something, but this is unevenly distributed. There are extremely rich man on the other hand, many very poor people living in slums. In the coming years we will recognize where the globalization will lead us. Economic crisis will bring us to other ways that we previously believed not to go.

Migration in general

The word migration comes from the Latin word "migrare" and means walking. Migration is a social process, which always has existed in human history. The reasons for people to migrate aren’t be the same anytime, but are subject to social change. The modern capitalist societies try to regulate migration to national interests. Today’s migration will be met with government immigration policies. When people decide to migrate then they usually migrate to areas with which they associate something: eg Most people begin migrating to regions nearby or neighboring countries because they trust them and are easily accessible. Many North-Africans go to France because they speak French in fact of the French colonial history; Central Americans migrate into the U.S. because this is the strongest economic partner, and thus are present everywhere in Central America. Turks coming to Germany because there is a long history of political and economic relations between both countries and now many personal and / or family contacts are available, on getting more organized immigration. There are many reasons for people to migrate to live somewhere else: the desire for a better education than is available at the source, adventure, hope for a better paying job, love, hunger, political persecution ...

…reasons for migration:

wars, economic hardship, political and religious persecution, individual motives, social reasons

In the following text the braindrain as part of economic hardship and social reason, will be discussed. Reasons and impacts will be shown.


Developed countries use migration to gain advantage in the globalized economy. But the developing countries can also benefit from the migration. In the history people always been made their way to live in another place as where they are born and this not required globalization. The fact that they do it in such large numbers as in the second half of the nineteenth and the beginning of this century, may simply be related to the number of people on this planet has grown so rapidly. The percentage of migrants in the world's population increased only slightly from 2.1% (1975) to 2.9% (2000). (Philip L. Martin: Migration and development: Towards sustainable solutions, International Institute for Labour Studies DP/153/2004.) Earlier dungeons many people need to escape from their homeland because of war and famine to create a new livelihood. Today the developed countries use the migration more than one way to take an competitive advantage in the globalized economy. It is more and more important for developing countries to win over selectively immigrants who can make an important contribution to the development of its own economy.

The battle for the best brains

A study from 2004 drawn up by the OECD, which summarizes the results of the census of 2000, for the first time supplies comprehensive statistics on the number of migrants, including those whose level of training. Following table shows the percentage of inhabitants of the degree of the home Australian and the immigrants.

Table 1. Percentage of inhabitants of the degree in respective countries. (OECD, 2004)

Country percentage of degrees of the inhabitants percentage of degrees of the immigrants
Australia 42,9% 38,6%
Canada 38% 31,5%
USA 25,9% 26,9%

The figures show that the typical immigration countries promoting a selective immigration. They derive a significant economic gain. Germany for example has a hard time to participate in this competition. To find qualified employees abroad and lead them to Germany. The half-hearted attempt at recruiting IT professionals, the so-called green card, came at a time when the IT boom was almost over. The terms of this program were hardly compare with those of the American green card. The duration of work permit restrictions on work permits for family members reflected that it was not for such a program comes to proving a boon to immigrants how can this possibly be seen with civil war refugees or asylum seekers, but to participate in a contest the most attractive location will decide for themselves. The Problem of Braindrain exist also in Germany, the following part of an article from Tony Paterson from Berlin will show us: "For a nation that invented the term "guest worker" for its immigrant labourers, Germany is facing the sobering fact that record numbers of its own often highly-qualified citizens are fleeing the country to work abroad in the biggest mass exodus for 60 years. Figures released by Germany's Federal Statistics Office showed that the number of Germans emigrating rose to 155,290 last year - the highest number since the country's reunification in 1990 - which equaled levels last experienced in the 1940s during the chaotic aftermath of the Second World War." (Paterson, Tony; German brain drain at highest level since 1940s; The Independent, 01.06.2007)

Developing and transition countries on the losing side?

If even Germany seems to stand in this fight for the best brains tend to lose out, how should then developing countries consist in this fight? In fact, as already mentioned above, the OECD statistics show steadily increased the migration of highly educated specifically from the developing and transition countries. This emigration takes place more frequently in connection with the study. Thus, the number of students from developing countries increased dramatically in the U.S. In the year 1999 were awarded after a study by the National Academy of Science for more than 50% of all doctoral scholarships in engineering to foreigners. Most of them had previously studied at one of the elite universities in their home country. Many of these students stay in the USA after her graduation. This migration has always been viewed as a loss of the developing countries. Already in the sixties and seventies, the so-called "brain drain" was a topic of countless conferences. The call for administrative restrictions or financial compensation remained utterly inconsequential. The right of emigration is now regarded as a human right. The demographic development and the growing awareness of almost all the economic advantages of a selective immigration policy let's assume that the pull factors will be more and more important.

The Diaspora as a resource in globalization.

The experience of many Asian countries with the emigration of highly skilled workers, rather suggests, to focus more on how to use the migrant communities for the development of countries. In fact, the "diaspora" (this designation has been introduced for the migrant communities), especially in a globalized world, gained an important significance for the countries of origin. This phenomenon was demonstrated for the first time very clearly on the migration of IT professionals from India, mainly in the United States. First of all, almost 500 000 IT professionals left the country, mostly to the United States, often borrowed at first only in the short term for certain programming tasks, the so-called "body-shopping", then often as employees of IT companies and later more often than independent contractors . Very soon, these entrepreneurs discovered that certain types of work in India were cheaper and established companies in India. Some of them even returned. They were, whether in the U.S. or in India, living beachheads in this rapidly growing industry. Recently a study demonstrated that the Indian diaspora in California recently has played the central role for the development of the IT industry in India. Uwe Hunger: Indian IT-Entrepreneurs in the US and in India. (An Illustration of the „Brain Gain Hypothesis“, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, August 2004, S. 99–109.) Similar trends were also seen in other Southeast Asian countries, especially in South Korea, Taiwan, but also in China. This example shows that it is not always the case that immigration will damage the development of a country. The loss may begin occurring human resources more than offset by activities of diaspora communities, whether through the return of skilled entrepreneurs or professionals, either through the commercial activities of contractors who would remain in the host country, whether through scientific or charitable activities. Thus, these positive effects occur in particular in the commercial sector, however, some conditions must be met in the home:

  • A good education system that produces an excess amount of our own needs for training graduates;
  • A migration of the highly skilled in areas that are suitable for the creation of business opportunities between the participating countries;
  • Economic and political environment which gives a sufficiently good investment climate;
  • The continuation of the personal ties of migrants to their homeland.

If these conditions are met, then the Diaspora community is predestined to be an engine for economic development of their country of origin.


Creative Commons Author: Fabian Siggemann. This article was published under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. How to cite the article: Fabian Siggemann. (29. 09. 2022). Shaping globalization: Braindrain in times of globalization. VCSEWiki. Retrieved 04:11 29. 09. 2022) from: <>.