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美国欢迎你……?

(2010-05-03 07:24:34)
标签:

美国移民

economist

lexington

财经

分类: 中西文化
熟悉美国的人都知道,不论政治竞选、媒体评论,还是坊间闲聊,“移民”在美国都是个不小的话题。四月22日的The Economist杂志上刊登了一篇Lexington blog(美国政治专栏博客)的文章,题为<The hub nation>。这篇文章主要讨论美国移民搭建的社会关系给美国带来的好处,观点明明白白,写的干净利落,读了之后很有启发。试着翻译如下:

“我家大门常打开”的移民政策让美国矗立于覆盖全球的社会关系网的中心。为啥不把门开得更大,让移民变得更容易呢?

美国欢迎你……?

美国因来自各地的移民而得益,因为他们学习用功、工作勤恳、天天向上。这个论调是“挺移民派”通常的出发点,也是大实话。要知道,离开故土不是闹着玩的。不难想象,“背起包袱走四方”需要相当的一股闯劲,因此移民身上往往有着惊人的开拓进取精神。然而大规模接受移民给美国带来的另一个好处可能并没有这么显而易见:那就是这些人都保持着和故土的联系,所以正是这些移民帮美国置身于一个覆盖全球的巨大人际网络。

很多人已经留意到移居海外的中国人和印度人给他们祖国带来的好处。这些侨民加速了信息的流动:比如一个在印尼经商的中国人一旦发现了商机,可能会立刻和他在广东开工厂的表兄弟通气。血缘、宗族、乡音的种种联系能确保彼此信任,所以决策相当迅速:有时候一个电话,可能几百万的一笔买卖就拍板了。美国不同于中国、印度,因为美国没有大量居住在海外的侨民(生在美利坚的土地,谁吃饱撑了往外跑啊)。然而美国国内有着当今世界上最大的移民“存储量”,基本上来自世界上每个国家的人都能抓出一把。这些人一般都很快融入美国社会,但是并不会切断和自己本国的联系。

举个例子:企业家Angres Ruzo描述自己是“生在秘鲁怨爹妈,混在德州靠自己”。他19岁移居美国,读了工科之后在Dallas附近开了一个电信公司。生意还挺红火,于是前不久他寻思着往拉丁美洲扩展,需要找合作伙伴。他通过神父介绍认识了一个也很虔诚的IT企业家Vladimir Vargas Esquivel。此人在哥斯达黎加做买卖,正想找机会往美国扩展生意,于是两人一拍即合。他们的认识方式(经过双方都很尊敬的神父介绍)使他们彼此信得过。他们的生意现在已经扩展到了10个国家,每年销售额上千万美元。Ruzo给公司取名ITS Infocom,他希望自己的公司能走向世界,所以虽然他和Vargas Esquivel之间拿西班牙语唠嗑,但他们坚持把英语定为公司的工作语言。

彼此信任至关重要。固然,现代科技让人们能便捷、廉价地实现沟通。但是即便谁都能随便拨打长途,不是每个人都知道该打给谁,或者该信谁的。族裔的网络解决了这个问题。比如,Sanjaya Kumar是一个印度医生。他1992年登陆美国,之后把兴趣投向了一个防止医疗差错的软件。这个问题不可小觑,据美国医学研究所估计每年大概10万美国人死于可避免的医疗事故。Kumar医生需要资金和营业方面的支持,来商业推广自己的软件。他把目光投向了一个叫TIE的印度裔企业家的圈子。他遇到了印度裔美国风险投资家Vish Mishra并得到了他的出手支持。如今,他的公司Quantros2300家美国医院提供服务,而且已经开始向印度拓展。合作的伙伴,是Kumar公司的另一位印度裔美国高管的老同窗开的公司。

基于族裔的人脉网络也有缺陷:如果成了排剂“外人”的手段,可能就适得其反了。然而这种网络确实能加快信息的流动。比如,尼加拉瓜裔雇员能帮地处Miami的公司搞定Managua(尼加拉瓜首都)的买主。咨询公司的印度裔雇员能帮着公司在Bangalore搜罗人才。由此带来的益处到底有多大,很难测定。不过哈佛商学院的William Kerr给出了一个大致的证据:他通过看专利记录上的姓名来进行统计。比如如果发明者姓Wang那么估计应该是华裔,而如果某人叫Martinez那八九不离十是拉美裔。他发现,美国以外的研究人员引用身在美国的相同族裔的研究人员的次数比正常情况高了30%50%。所谓“正常情况”是基于族裔纽带没有影响的估计,比如一个北京的科研人员恰巧引用了身在美国的华人写的论文。所以,实际的情况很有可能是华裔美国科学家会通知他在北京的老同学自己在美国实验室做的研究。

 

“人脉效应”

UC BerkeleyAnnaLee Saxenian教授统计,硅谷的华裔和印度裔科学家、工程师中超过一半会和自己本国的同胞共享技术或者商机方面的信息。不少美国人担心中国和印度会由此搞到美国的高科技而压倒美国,但是这种担心其实没必要,因为知识的流动是双向的。随着这些构成新兴市场的国家加强创新(这已然以惊人的速度发生着),美国拥有的一大批能深入了解中国、印度最新科研动向的公民绝对是大有裨益。这些移民还能帮助美国公司在他们的祖国大展拳脚。例如,Kerr的研究发现雇有大量华人科学家的公司更有可能在中国投资,并且更有可能通过独资子公司的形式来打入市场,从而避免组建合资企业的累赘。也就是说,公司拥有的本土知识降低了运营的成本。

这些成千上万的移民成了为美国服务的民间大使、经纪人、招聘人员和推广者。移民并不只是带着聪明才智登陆美国,他们也提供了把美国式思维和理想播撒到他们祖国的渠道,从而增强了美国的软实力。

这一切看起来都应驱动美国赶紧改善笨重的移民法规。无奈的是奥巴马上任以来在履行他竞选诺言方面没什么建树。国内失业率将近10%的情况下,作为政客鼓励外国人来抢美国人的饭碗也的确是一步没人敢走的险棋。

【英文原文】

 The hub nation

Immigration places America at the centre of a web of global networks. So why not make it easier?

Apr 22nd 2010 | From The Economist print edition

 

IMMIGRANTS benefit America because they study and work hard. That is the standard argument in favour of immigration, and it is correct. Leaving your homeland is a big deal. By definition, it takes get-up-and-go to get up and go, which is why immigrants are abnormally entrepreneurial. But there is another, less obvious benefit of immigration. Because they maintain links with the places they came from, immigrants help America plug into a vast web of global networks.

Many people have observed how the networks of overseas Chinese and Indians benefit their respective motherlands. Diasporas speed the flow of information: an ethnic Chinese trader in Indonesia who spots a commercial opportunity will quickly alert his cousin who runs a factory in Guangdong. And ties of kin, clan or dialect ensure a high level of trust. This allows decisions to be made swiftly: multimillion-dollar deals can sometimes be sealed with a single phone call. America is linked to the world in a different way. It does not have much of a diaspora, since native-born Americans seldom emigrate permanently. But it has by far the world’s largest stock of immigrants, including significant numbers from just about every country on earth. Most assimilate quickly, but few sever all ties with their former homelands.

Consider Andres Ruzo, an entrepreneur who describes himself as “Peruvian by birth; Texan by choice”. He moved to America when he was 19. After studying engineering, he founded a telecoms firm near Dallas. It prospered, and before long he was looking to expand into Latin America. He needed a partner. He stumbled on one through a priest, who introduced him to another devout IT entrepreneur, Vladimir Vargas Esquivel, who was based in Costa Rica and looking to expand northward. It was a perfect fit. And because of the way they were introduced—by a priest they both respected—they felt they could trust each other. Their firm now operates in ten countries and generates tens of millions of dollars in annual sales. Mr Ruzo wants the firm, which is called ITS Infocom, to go global. So although he and Mr Vargas Esquivel natter to each other in Spanish, they insist that the firm’s official language must be English.

Trust matters. Modern technology allows instant, cheap communication. Yet although anyone can place a long-distance call, not everyone knows whom to call, or whom to trust. Ethnic networks can address this problem. For example, Sanjaya Kumar, an Indian doctor, arrived in America in 1992. He developed an interest in software that helps to prevent medical errors. This is not a small problem. Perhaps 100,000 Americans die each year because of preventable medical mistakes, according to the Institute of Medicine. Dr Kumar needed cash and business advice to commercialise his ideas, so he turned to a network of ethnic Indian entrepreneurs called Tie. He met, and was backed by, an Indian-American venture capitalist, Vish Mishra. His firm, Quantros, now sells its services to 2,300 American hospitals. And it is starting to expand into India, having linked up with a software firm there which is run by an old school chum of one of Dr Kumar’s Indian-American executives.

Ethnic networks have drawbacks. If they are a means of excluding outsiders, they can be stultifying. But they accelerate the flow of information. Nicaraguan-Americans put buyers in Miami in touch with sellers in Managua. Indian-American employees help American consulting firms scout for talent in Bangalore. The benefits are hard to measure, but William Kerr of the Harvard Business School has found some suggestive evidence. He looked at the names on patent records, reasoning that an inventor called Wang was probably of Chinese origin, while some called Martinez was probably Hispanic. He found that foreign researchers cite American-based researchers of their own ethnicity 30-50% more often than you would expect if ethnic ties made no difference. It is not just that a Chinese boffin in Beijing reads papers written by Chinese boffins in America. A Chinese boffin in America may alert his old classmate in Beijing to cool research being done at the lab across the road.

Network effects

In Silicon Valley more than half of Chinese and Indian immigrant scientists and engineers report sharing information about technology or business opportunities with people in their home countries, according to AnnaLee Saxenian of the University of California, Berkeley. Some Americans fret that China and India are using American know-how to out-compete America. But knowledge flows both ways. As people in emerging markets innovate—which they are already doing at a prodigious clip—America will find it ever more useful to have so many citizens who can tap into the latest brainwaves from Mumbai and Shanghai. Immigrants can also help their American employers do business in their homelands. Firms that employ many ethnic Chinese scientists, for example, are more likely to invest in China and more likely to do so through a wholly owned subsidiary, rather than seeking the crutch of a joint venture, finds Mr Kerr. In other words, local knowledge reduces the cost of doing business.

Immigration provides America with legions of unofficial ambassadors, deal-brokers, recruiters and boosters. Immigrants not only bring the best ideas from around the world to American shores; they are also a conduit for spreading American ideas and ideals back to their homelands, thus increasing their adoptive country’s soft power.

All of which makes the task of fixing America’s cumbersome immigration rules rather urgent. Alas, Barack Obama has done little to fulfil his campaign pledge to do so. With unemployment still at nearly 10%, few politicians are brave enough to be seen encouraging foreigners to compete for American jobs.


【原文链接】http://www.economist.com/world/united-states/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15954498

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