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Published:October 12th, 2011 12:42 EST
Brain Drain, a Dilemma

Brain Drain, a Dilemma

By Syed Talal Hassan Bukhari

Brain drain or human capital flight is a large emigration of individuals with technical skills or knowledge, normally due to conflict, lack of opportunity, political instability, or health risks. Brain drain is usually regarded as an economic cost, since emigrants usually take with them the fraction of value of their training sponsored by the government. It is a parallel of capital flight which refers to the same movement of financial capital. The term brain drain was coined by the spokesmen of the Royal Society of London to describe the outflow of scientists and technologists to the United States and Canada in the early 1950s. The converse phenomenon is brain gain, which occurs when another country gains a large number of professional and technical manpower from different foreign countries.

The global opportunities have provided many doors for skilled workers and professionals all over the world. The compensation presented by the developed countries is very inviting. Many workers from the third world country are leaving their home to look for greener pastures. No one can really blame them. They would rather sweat it out in a nation that promises reward, than stay where they are, work as much, and earn way too little. But it has severe effects upon the situation of developing countries where there is an increasing deficiency of talented manpower. Before addressing the effects of brain drain it is necessary to explore the major reasons of brain drain.

As described in the definition of brain drain, one of the major causes is conflict of highly educated and brilliant people with the governmental system. They want to change the system but after facing failure in their objective they dishearten and decide to go abroad where they found system to be better than their own country.

Another factor influencing brain drain is lack of opportunities. In fact it is a major reason responsible for this phenomenon. When deserving people do not get their rights they seek their place in another country. It is obvious that when doctors, engineers, professors and scientists are not acknowledged in their in their own countries they will go abroad to show their strength and capabilities and to receive their reward. We can observe from interviews that have been taken from highly skilled people living abroad that they are willing to serve their country but the main obstacle is lack of opportunities. As a matter of fact, this problem is directly linked with the correction of system.

Among various problems, political instability is a problem responsible for brain drain. It leads to uncertain conditions, financial and security problems. Lack of leadership is responsible for corrupt system and undirected policies.

Lack of justice and security is the basic cause of brain drain. In fact it is a basic cause of every problem. Justice is the back bone of any society. In developing countries, the judicial and law enforcement institutions are not enough strong to fulfill their duties. As a consequence many people who cannot resist this situation prefer to leave their country for better future.

If we take a look at effects of brain drain, we will come to know about the reality and the gravity of situation that what is really happening to the countries from where migration occurs.

It is good to note that many developed countries are opening its doors for talented people from all over the world. However, this has also caused threatening situations in some portion of the world. Many nurses and doctors are leaving their country to wear their landaus scrubs in a more prosperous land. Engineers, pilots and other professionals are doing the same thing. If the governments of these developing countries do not do something about it, they will lose their prized assets. According to Dr. Fitzhugh Mullen of George Washington University every doctor who leaves a poor nation leaves a hole that cannot be filled. He says, "That creates enormous problems for the source country and the educational and health leaders in the country who are attempting to provide healers`.

Engineers, pilots, and other professionals are leaving their countries to try their luck in developed countries as well. Although this is good for personal development, this is bad news for the local businesses. Local businesses want to keep their best assets, they cannot. This is simply because local businesses could not match the compensation offered in the developed countries. An employee who wishes to provide a good future for his family would opt to work overseas where his income is six times greater than what he is earning in his country.

In Pakistan this problem is becoming more threatening than other ones. According to a report in the "The Observer`, London,` Pakistan is facing a massive brain drain as record numbers of people desperate to leave their politically unstable, economically chaotic country swamp foreign embassies with visa applications "The biggest number of applications for British visas are from Pakistan. Doctors, lawyers and IT professional and leading the exodus, but laborers and farmhands are joining the queues of malnourished people who gather daily outside the US embassy in Islamabad`.

The greatest effect of brain drain on any country is what is seen in Pakistan today; rampant corruption, poor administrations, lack of motivation and a fast diminishing nationalism. Unless there is nationalism there can be no collective progress and poverty and crime will continue to increase under the umbrella of plethoric apathy. Whatever the solution it needs to come fast and it needs to be come now otherwise "when the educated are away, the uneducated will play` as they are playing at the moment.

The question is how to control this terrible situation? Although it not possible completely to stop brain drain as a research shows that at 20 countries export more than 10 percent of their physician work force to richer nations with nearly no reciprocation as the US exports less than one-tenth of 1 percent of its doctors. Economic factor is primarily responsible for this mass migration.

If economic conditions of brain drain suffering countries get improvement then this situation can be improved. Because improved economic conditions create opportunities. And it is evident that economic conditions can be improved by improving political conditions through a sincere leadership and by reforming the judicial system which is the back bone of society. Law enforcement is very important to improve economic conditions. People should feel a sense of security in their homeland instead of foreign countries.