the last decade, but the two-year stay rate moved back up to near 70 percent by 2007.43 The evidence of foreign-born members of the United States academic and industrial workforces returning to their native countries is still largely anecdotal, but focuses on particularly accomplished later-career individuals.

Perhaps the most disconcerting assessment comes from a United States Conference of State Legislatures report: Transforming Higher Education, which concludes that “The American higher education system (overall) is no longer the best in the world. Other countries outrank and outperform us.”44


Other nations are of course not immune to many of the adverse forces addressed herein; indeed, most already had additional serious challenges of their own before the recent economic downturn. Yet, many such nations do not face the task of sustaining the lifestyle which has come to be enjoyed—and expected—by America’s citizenry.

India is estimated to have 60 million children suffering from inadequate nutrition.45 The state-run China Daily reports that 150 million Chinese are internal migrant workers from rural areas, who face hardships due to being unregistered in the cities.46 Fully 2.5 billion of the world’s 6.8 billion citizens survive on two dollars per day or less.47 China’s per capita real GDP is one-twelfth that of the United States.48 As other nations begin to enjoy a higher standard of living their costs of doing business can be expected to rise as well. Indeed, labor costs in China for well educated individuals have increased sharply since the Gathering Storm report was conducted, but still fall well below those in the United States. However, due to the enormous labor surpluses in China and India it is unlikely that wages among unskilled workers in those countries will increase significantly in the foreseeable future.


M. Finn, Stay Rates of Foreign Doctorate Recipients from U.S. Universities, 2007. Available at: http://orise.


Transforming Higher Education, Recommendations of the National Conference of State Legislatures Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education, October 2006.


M. Gragnolati, M. Shekar, M. Gupta, C. Bredenkamp and Y. Lee, India’s Undernourished Children: A Call for Reform and Action, The World Bank, August 2005.


X. Dingding, More help for new migrant workers, China Daily, February 2, 2010; A. Scheineson, China’s Internal Migrants, Council on Foreign Relations, May 14, 2009.


S. Chen and M. Ravallion, The developing world is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty, World Bank, August 26, 2008.


U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook. See: and

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