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    29 november, 2012

    Fee for the freedom of choice

    Author: Iosif Diskin, no comments

    One of the key conclusions of the report on “The Global Crisis and Its Outcomes: a Civil Society Look” was that the basics of national competitiveness are currently in the process of changes. Prior to the crisis, developing countries provided for their fast growing at the account that countries with developed economy were using local cheap labor force and established their production facilities in such developing countries. Today, the factor of cheap labor force stopped being the factor of competitiveness; this is taking place due to automation of the production in the first place.

    In this situation, the price and quality of human capital ratio turns into the most important factor of national competitiveness. Not its absolute cheapness, but exactly the price and quality ratio. And the developing countries now are turning into donors of human capital for developed countries. Why is it happening this way? As the matter of fact, the quality of education in many developing countries is rather high. And it seriously exceeds potential salaries of such specialists which naturally lead to brain drain. And if relatively recently these were somewhat small losses, today this is a full-fledged process which has turned into a serious barrier for developing countries which have rather limited chances for fast developing in the modern conditions anyway.

    What could be done? It would have been right to establish an international compensation system and sign a global agreement on its major principles, similar to the system of international trade. Such an agreement would have sense only in case if signed if not by everybody, than the majority of countries.

    This agreement should establish obligations of those who receive state-funded education before their states. If people move, they should bear certain compensational obligations before their countries guaranteed by the state they are going to.

    With that it should be clear that nobody is proposing to restrict citizens’ rights for freedom of migration. However, this shall not relieve from economical liabilities. Any person has the right to move abroad, but there should be established an economic mechanism for compensation of those budget expenses which the country has spent on his/her education.

    I understand it only too well that we can see some indications of a conflict between individual freedom and economic responsibility. However, we should be doing this, because this is no good to make one citizens, i.e., pensioners and budget-paid employees, pay for the freedom of other people: ‘free education’ is paid for from the budget. We need to find a fair balance, because the global economy must be based on the principle of global fairness.

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