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The Brain Drain

Ayn Rand

Presented at: Ayn Rand On Campus - Columbia WKCR Interviews

Date: Jan 01, 1962

In this talk, Rand comments on the 1960s "brain drain" in which many of the best and the brightest citizens chose to emigrate from Britain. Rand dismisses many explanations for this trend as too narrowly focused on particular economic events and policies. Instead, she argues that migration patterns of highly capable individuals are best explained by the relative levels of freedom between nations. 

Defending this idea, Rand discusses the connection between industrial progress and the freedom for individuals to think and to act accordingly. She explains how a political system that actively encourages significant government intervention, such as Britain's welfare state socialism, necessarily fails to appreciate the causes of economic progress is made. When government suppresses the individual liberty to use one's mind, it is no surprise that economies stagnate and gradually decay, while free countries flourish. 

Rand explains the tragic irony of how the British government was then attempting to combat its brain drain–a title she considered very apt–and advocates freedom for, and recognition of, the best and brightest individuals in every nation.


Parts: 1

Handout: none


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