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Reasons why USA better than Latin America for Opportunities

From 1880-1920, there was a huge migration of Europeans to the Americas. They poured into New York, inspiring the words on the Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me..."

At the same time, European immigrants also poured into Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and other New World port cities. But those who came to the United States found the most opportunities and success. Their output helped the US become the world's leading nation at the end of World War I. For a while Argentina boomed, but soon it went back to the slow growth that has plagued Latin American nations for most of their history.

Economic migrants can be a boost to their new country. As the article below points out, migrants generally are younger, more energetic, and have greater aspirations than those who remain behind in the old country. Professor G L Bach at Stanford believed that the US became more prosperous than Europe in the early 1900's as a result of the influx of energetic, bright people. He even described booming California as a "double distillation" of European talent, as a self-selected energetic few made the trek across the American continent.

This theory on the benefits of economic migration can be demonstrated in other internal migrations. For example, as agressive Blacks left the South to seek employment in Northern auto factories from the 1920's on, they left behind a more passive, less employable population. More recently, upwardly mobile areas in the South like Atlanta, Washington DC, and the research triangle in North Carolina have attracted many talented Blacks from more sleepy towns in the South. These are examples of an ever churning employment system in the US that attracts and rewards talent. The impoverished farm areas of Mississippi are similar to the population-depleted, poor farm areas in Mexico today- or the poor farms in Ireland and Germany that sent so many immigrants to the US in the 1800's.

The big cities in Latin America today are also filled with the rural poor. But in contrast to the United States, those poor have not been able to find as many jobs and opportunities in places like Rio de Janeiro. And affirmative action programs have been a definite help to minorities and immigrants in the US job market. In contrast, Latin American employers tend to keep the best jobs for members of their extended family or at least someone in a similar social class. This practice not only hurts the talented members of poor families, but the country as well, as many bright youths with the wrong skin color have to settle for less challenging jobs. Such individuals don't even think of starting a business because they lack connections and can't get loans - quite a contrast with the growth of small businesses in US immigrant communities.

To encourage new thinking by politicians and the people in Brazil, there is a movement to change the motto in Brazil's flag from "Order and Progress" to "Opportunity for All." (See ) Perhaps by encouraging better schooling and fair employment practices, Brazil can develop the talent pool it needs to become a prosperous nation - and inspire other Latin American countries to follow.


The Huddled Masses

Who Migrates?

Period: 1880-1920

Even in societies with high rates of emigration, not everyone migrates. Who chooses to stay and who goes?

Migrants are rarely a random cross-section of the population. Rather, migrants usually share certain social characteristics, including age, sex, marital status, occupation, and ethnic background. Thus, for example, many early 20th century Italian migrants were unmarried men in their teens or twenties; most early-20th century Russian migrants were Jews.

Migration often takes place during a particular stage of the life cycle. It is particularly common for individuals to migrate during adolescence or early adulthood or at the time of marriage.

Many studies of migration have emphasized the idea that migrants have a different psychology than those who decide to remain behind. Some speculate that migrants are less tradition-bound, more restless, or more aspiring than non-migrants. Many scholars distinguish between the true "innovators," the first individuals in a particular society to migrate to a new area, and those who follow in their footsteps.

In some instances, it seems clear that migrants are traditionalists who seek to preserve an older way of life. During the mid-19th century, many German emigrants to the United States were motivated by a desire to maintain pre-industrial crafts in the face of disruptive social and economic changes linked to the rise of industry. Many migrated to rural areas in the U.S. Midwest, where they set up farms or engaged in crafts.

What, then, are the effects of migration on their community of origin? Migration often entails the loss of people with certain characteristics--age, sex, social attitudes, education, religion, ethnicity, and income. Because migrants often consist of a disproportionate number of young men, migration tends to reduce a community's population growth rate. Recently, many economically underdeveloped societies have expressed a fear that migration has resulted in a "brain drain"--a loss of the society's most educated and highly skilled members--to wealthier countries.

Go to: New Motto for Brazil's flag

Go to: List of corruption by nation - hurts opportunities

Go to: List of economic competitiveness by nation

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