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 P.O. Box 1177, Mumbai 400 057
                                       June 17, 2000

          The Editor,



           Mr. Gary Endelman’s article entitled “Immigration and Geopolitics in the Digital age” (June 15) aptly summarizes the present day social compulsions and the economic competition among the developed countries which shape their immigration policies and how these policies would or should change in tune with the challenges posed by the digital age. Mr. Endelman concludes that such economic competition “will inevitably seek political expression” in the legislative bodies of the developed nations who are ultimately responsible to evolve their nations’ immigration policies.

           But Mr. Endelman seems to ignore totally the political expectations, in addition to the economic aspirations, of the high tech immigrants from countries such as India and China when they decide on their preference for a particular developed country to immigrate. A computer savvy hardware engineer or a digital trained software programmer or an Internet expert web developer, as a potential immigrant from these nations cannot be compared to the starving, illiterate Mexican who enters the United States illegally by crossing the border, nor with the poorly-paid, semi-skilled Indian craftsman who migrates to the Middle Eastern countries to seek greener pastures. A knowledgeable specialist of the Digital Age is not only intelligent, he is also an intellectual. He knows that it is ultimately the Man’s mind and not his muscles which produce the wealth. Mind functions to its potential in an environment of freedom – freedom of thought and expression. Such an intellectual person aspires to work and produce wealth in a country where his right to such intellectual property is guaranteed and protected from parasites who want to grab such wealth by blind imitation.


          Among the over two billion people of China and India, such freedom loving intellectuals constitute only a microscopic minority, but they are the potential immigrants and the immigration policies of the developed nations should be aimed to lure them. In spite of the recent free market experimentation in China, and policies of liberalization and globalization in India, the die-hard communists still rule the Chinese politics and altruistic socialists still run the Indian government who refuse to give up their faith in the controlled, regulated economies. The experts of the Digital Age in these countries not only seek to better their economic careers, but more importantly, they want to immigrate where they can breathe freely. While Mr. Endelman has analyzed the trends of immigration policies of the developed countries like the US, Germany, Canada, Japan and others, he has not brought out the fundamental fact that none of these countries, including the US takes cognizance of the political compulsions of these high tech people. They are not politically persecuted persons who may seek asylum in your country but intellectually depressed people who cannot stomach their country’s enslaving politico-economic systems.


          People from India in particular and from the Indian sub-continent in general are generally at ease in immigrating to USA, Canada, U.K. or Australia, because proficiency in English language is their one single advantage. But they still prefer USA. Why? Similarly all these countries are equally good or bad for a Chinese person because of his limited exposure to English. And yet he also prefers to immigrate to USA. Why? Precisely because your country offers freedoms and recognizes individual rights. But what is upsetting is the slow shifting and drifting towards altruism and socialism by your political leaders and political institutions in the recent decades. When your founding fathers wrote your constitution, they explicitly asserted that a free man’s life is his own. His own happiness is the be-all and end-all purpose of his life. He neither works for others, nor does he expect any body else to work for him. He is neither a slave nor does he enslave. He loves his freedom, and in turn he respects the freedom of his fellow beings. But all these honourable principles have been increasingly consigned to oblivion. Your laws today speak of minimum wage, fair wage, equality of opportunities etc., disregarding the basic corollary of the fundamental rights that all these wage structures are a matter of volitional contracts between two consenting parties and no third party has any right to interfere or legislate. Similarly, your laws provide for doles in the form of unemployment allowances, thus asserting the right of a parasitic bum to enslave a producing genius. Why, even an attorney like Mr. Endelman seems to assert the rights of senior citizens to government benefits, on the grounds that they are organized and that they vote. But your constitution never implied that the Man’s rights are a matter of voting, of public opinions, of popularity contests or a matter of legislative competence. A constitutional republic essentially means restrictions on legislative powers to enact laws which may violate rights and freedom of Man.


          Similarly disquieting are the recent incidents of the measures to clip the wings of private enterprises like Microsoft and Master Credit Cards on the name of alleged monopoly and legally ordered competition. There might have been some justification in breaking up AT & T, because it was to a certain extent a government protected monopoly, but it is as much wrong to break up Microsoft or Master Card as it was to divide the Standard Oil. There can be no malignant monopoly in a free society, except through a legislative act or through an executive fiat.


          What is important from the point of view of the high brow immigrants of the digital age is whether and which developed country fulfill their political expectations of human rights and freedom, where they can pursue their hi-tech careers without any favour or fear of the State. In short if the USA, which is to day the freest country in the world, is going to attract the best brains from the third world countries like India, China, Korea and others, it should not only concern itself with the Geopolitics of the other developed countries as rightly analyzed by Mr. Endelman, but should keep in view the geopolitics of the immigrants’ native lands also.


          Very Truly Yours,


          Sameer Kumar