Go East, Young Man

In the same week that President Obama traveled to India on an economic mission, we heard this intriguing Public Radio International story about American workers moving to India to take advantage of that nation’s boom economy and to escape the relentless joblessness in the United States.

The radio story wouldn’t have surprised Peter Drucker, who believed that in an increasingly knowledge-driven economy, workers would move fluidly across borders. “Knowledge workers are highly mobile,” Drucker wrote in a 2001 article for The Economist. “They think nothing of moving from one university, one company or one country to another, as long as they stay within the same field of knowledge.”

[EXPAND More]As India grows (along with China) and more Americans look to live abroad, it is tempting to suggest that the U.S. might be on the verge of a new brain drain. Indeed, Drucker asserted in a 2003 lecture that India and China “are rapidly becoming counterforces to American economic dominance,” and he cited India, in particular, as “a knowledge center.”

We’d be remiss, however, if we didn’t also point to David Brooks’s latest op-ed column in The New York Times about America’s future prospects. Brooks optimistically argues that nations poised to thrive in future economies will be those that serve as hubs of global connectivity. And America’s unique history and diverse population, he maintains, positions it at the center of the global crossroads.

What do you think: Does the U.S. still have a place as the center of the world’s economy, or is gravity pulling us all toward India and China?[/EXPAND]