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Once America had an unassailable advantage, an economic flywheel that spun off innovation and Fortune 500 companies like a perpetual-motion machine. Bring in the best, brightest, and most driven from around the world; educate them or their children at its universities; then watch them start companies, succeed wildly, give back to their alma maters, and recruit new talent as the virtuous cycle began again.
It hardly mattered whether these immigrants came in as students (think Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, and Steve Jobs’ father Abdul Fattah Jandali) or with their families (Sergey Brin and Jerry Yang) or as refugees (eg Alexis Ohanian’s father’s family) or as undocumented immigrants (eg Ohanian’s mother.) Meanwhile, the UK, thanks to its Commonwealth connections and universities like Oxbridge and Imperial College, did much the same on a smaller scale. It was a self-sustaining wealth-generation and nation-strengthening machine of gigantic proportions, and it would take colossal idiocy to want to interfere with it.
Enter - Brexit - Enter - Donald - Trump
Enter Brexit. Enter Donald Trump. Enter their implicit and explicit rejections of immigration, including serious barriers to and discouragement of legal and skilled immigration, such as H-1B visa holders and international students — along with the general sense of “you’re not welcome here” that they’re clearly doing their damnedest to convey.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, that other great immigrant nation, France, has been working overtime for the last four years to open both its economy and its borders to tech startups. I was skeptical of these efforts a couple of years ago, but two days ago I sat down with former Cisco CEO John Chambers and Accel partner Joe Schoendorf to talk tech in France, and they’ve convinced me that under President Macron, “everything has changed.”
Macron - Reforms - France - Labor - Costs
It’s not just that Macron’s reforms have made it far easier to hire and fire in France, making labor costs far more...
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