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Why Do Brazil, China, And India Get All The Entrepreneurs These Days?

Publication Date: 
October 02, 2012
The Atlantic
Tim Fernholz


Rock Center Fellow Vivek Wadhwa spoke with The Atlantic's Tim Fernholz about America's Immigration Policy and how it's benefitting other countries around the world. 

Vivek Wadhwa is an Indian-American academic and entrepreneur whose new book, The Immigrant Exodus: Why America is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent, comes out today. He spoke to Quartz about his critique of American immigration policy. An edited version of the conversation follows.

You're an immigrant yourself; how did you end up in the US?

I came here [from Australia] in 1980. From the beginning of the process, it was 18 months. It was easy as anything. I defined myself as an American, I started giving back to this country from the minute I became a resident. If I had come today, it would take me a decade or longer to get a green card, I would be sitting here biting my finger nails for the best part of my life. The U.S. is going to lose its competitiveness. We're going to have Silicon Valleys in other countries and wonder, how did we let this happen? What were we thinking? What were we smoking, in 2012, when we let this happen? How can we be so stupid?

America's loss is going to benefit other countries around the world, including India.

The rest of the world has a huge silver lining. We're boosting the economies of India, China, Brazil, Chile, Australia, you name it, we're giving the foreign aid we never imagined we would give. We would never willingly give them tens of billions of dollars of economic aid, we're doing it without realizing it. From the Indian perspective, you have Vivek Wadhwa ... talking about why we shouldn't be sending entrepreneurs back to India, he's unpatriotic. I'm not kidding, even on Twitter I get angry messages from Indians, why are you being such an American stooge? You get used to it.