Silicon Valley Decline - Pacific Standard

Silicon Valley Decline

Entire regional economies depend on the influx of talent. Without immigration, even the home to the world's largest technology companies would be suffering.
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Downtown San Jose as seen with uplit palms. (PHOTO: MICHAEL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Downtown San Jose as seen with uplit palms. (PHOTO: MICHAEL/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

Without immigration, Silicon Valley is dying. Without immigration, a lot of cities are dying, including New York. Mesofacts aside, migration is ephemeral, particularly international migration. Here today, gone tomorrow. Entire regional economies depend on the influx of talent. There are exceptions to this rule. Case study Montreal:

If Montreal’s tech industries aren’t getting their workers from neighboring regions, that leaves one option: education. It seems clear that Montreal’s higher education system is doing a good job of meeting this area of market demand by training workers for in-demand occupations. With a large number of universities, colleges, and other institutions in the Montreal area, it’s not surprising that Montreal’s tech industries are well-supplied with workers. Other cities looking to boost their economies should take note.

Legacy assets such as universities are money in today's world. Your city doesn't have to be cool or put a bird on economic development. Talent attraction is a zero-sum game.

Silicon Valley is the talent magnet of all talent magnets. When it puts a bird on something, you call it Twitter. Hijinks in Egypt ensue. But the same laws of migration apply. Other places can attract talent, too.

More and more cities, and towns, and even rural counties are competing for talent in an age of demographic decline. If your farm needs bodies, good luck finding willing employees. Workers are the world's dearest commodity.

Silicon Valley can't just flip a switch and do a Montreal. Few communities can. Get used to it. The Innovation Economy is dying. The Talent Economy is ascendant. Marx is turning over in his London grave.

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