Sunday, May 27, 2007

Brain drain

Referring to (sorry, in Bahasa Indonesia), Indonesian students in Australia National University (ANU) lamented the difference in treatment given by companies in Indonesia to local and foreign graduates. Foreigners seem to be paid higher than Indonesians despite having the same skill and qualifications regardless of whether the Indonesians graduate overseas or from local University.

The brain drain phenomenon is fairly common to happen in developing countries. Those countries suffer to make their infrastructure works. No budget of course could much be put into the education. The situation is made worse by the menial political bickering that could easily blow up into non related issues such as race, religion, etc. Other developed countries seem to enjoy these events since it should keep the developing countries as continuously developing.

Even Singapore is having brain drain to a certain degree. Some of its scholars are happily taking up residence and even citizenship overseas, creating war of words (read: thesis) from opponent and proponent. Well, intellectuals like to be challenged. Humans like to be valued. If the value proposition and the environment do not support human development, brain drain naturally runs the course to the perceived better countries. The amount of immigrants (successful and unsuccessful) in US is one clear example. The unreigned freedom in US has enticed so many people to seek for better opportunity there.

Unless developing countries start to invest on their human resources to the fullest, it'd be hard for those countries to progress. Even for resource-rich countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and middle eastern countries, unless capable local human resources are there to utilize those resources effectively, no progress could be foreseen. The adventure of PT. Freeport Indonesia in Papua portion of Indonesia is one example. Papua has been under Indonesia since 1969. It is resources rich both in valuables like metals and species rich ecosystem. However, despite freeport being able to give an individual under the company up to 150,000 USD in 2005, Papua population remains one the most illiterate in Indonesia. Reports (, for ease of reference) released by Freeport has shown that it pays Indonesia army to watch over their camps. I'd say this is the direct result of having foreign companies taking over the resource management indirectly. It's not surprising considering the corruptions prevalent in Indonesia.

Well, in short corruption elimination and human resources proper valuation is extremely crucial for development.

No comments: