Give us your Huddled Scientists: France woos US Climate Researchers, Inventors in age of Trump

By Frédéric Simon | | – –

The United States of America. Home of the free. Land of the brave. And, until Donald Trump became president, a beacon of science, research and technology. And Emanuel Macron wants a piece of it.

Emmanuel Macron, who emerged this week as the favourite in the French presidential race, made a shock bid to skim the crème of the crop of American scientists. His appeal to US boffins was simple – escape alternative fact merchant Trump by moving to France.

“This is a message for American entrepreneurs, researchers, engineers, working on climate change,” Macron says in his video address on social media.

“I invite you to come to France and join European and French researchers working on climate change here. Because here, you are welcome…this is your nation.”

That a French politician can say this today with a straight face is in itself incredible. But for many scientists, America is being propelled back to the dark ages.

Trump has branded climate change a “hoax” and a plot by China to weaken the US. He sent a chill down the spines of researchers and scientists by asking them to delete all references to climate change from US governmental websites.

Federal agencies like NASA and NOAA have seen their funding cut and have since gone guerrilla, launching alternative Twitter accounts to continue airing the views of independent science.

Will the brainboxes heed the call to swap their freedom fries for French fries? It’s true, the cheese is much better than the canned goop Yanks splurge into their mouths. But Parisians are not noted for their patience with foreigners mangling their beloved language.

Does Macron really believe US researchers will leave en masse to France where top scientists are paid a trifle, and where entrepreneurs and Americans are seen with suspicion as villains and racketeers?

And what does Macron gain from making this clarion call during a busy campaign? For sure, his message is meant above all for domestic consumption (which may explain his succulent Franglais).

The pull of the American dream remains strong in France where the bureaucracy is legendary and entrepreneurs are burdened by a 3,000 page labour code.

As soon as they get the opportunity, successful starter-uppers and engineers are only too happy to pack up for Silicon Valley and leave the Seine behind.

As a former Rothschild banker and French economy and finance minister, Macron is only too aware of this.

So what is he really saying when he tells US brainboxes “I want vous”? Something like “I’ll make France great again!”



Related video added by Juan Cole:

News: “Emmanuel Macron offers US scientists new home”

7 Responses

  1. While most humans are fairly intelligent there are a limited number of humans that are highly intelligent in very useful areas.

    It turns out that concentrating these highly intelligent humans in a particular geographic area tends to make that geographic area wealthier than areas with slightly less intelligent humans.

    The smarter non-USA governments are realizing that now is a good time to strip-mine the USA for raw human talent and concentrate it in areas of their own country to increase their wealth.

    Even though I am now retired, my linked-in profile is still active, so I will NOT be surprised to start getting “interesting” emails over the next few years. For many years I have received “friendly emails” about Asian opportunities and suspect that I may start receiving European emails.

    One of the things we had to learn real quick in silicon valley is that our intellectual property generators walked out the door every night and if we didn’t treat them OK, they would keep walking to our competitor. Given how many of the most intelligent humans in the USA did were not born in the USA, it is very probable that given the right incentives, they will just walk out of the USA to some other place on earth where they are more welcome.

    I suspect that trump does not realize that brains are the new generators of wealth and brains have feet.

    Other nations have spent lots of thinking trying to come up with ways to pry more talent out of the USA and into their own country. Now trump has handed them the golden key.

    • China’s government went about this the most intelligently. It paid a lot of its bright kids to study every useful subject in the US, knowing that many would refuse to come home. Then it waited for them to prove themselves in a competitive environment. Now it is offering the winners a blank-check company of their very own if they move back to China with everything they’ve learned during and after college.

      • Between China’s very pragmatic and generous offers to its expats to come home and the US belligerence against non-USA creative people, China is winning hands down.

        Note that China is working hard to change aspect of its culture and political system that hinder creative people so the country benefits from the creative energy of the ex-pats.

  2. So, do senile societies reform, or do they just veer off into the dustbin of history while the rest of the world moves on without them?

    At this point, the dangers presented by America to the rest of the world are so great that we might have a moral obligation to help progressive countries obtain the greatest technological advantages over it in the least time, instead of fruitlessly hitting our heads against the nostalgia and reactionary denialism of our fellow citizens.

    These days would feel less horrible if there was a democratic country that was being so rewarded for doing things differently than the USA that it could replace it as an example for the world and embarrass Americans into changing course. I don’t see any.

    • As Friedman noted, the world is indeed “flat” when it comes to knowledge.

      Every country on earth that is connected to the global communication networks has access to all the world’s knowledge.

      This is why all nations are virtually equal when it comes to “war toys” and war tactics.

      I have been on the Internet since long before it became public (ARPAnet days) and helped developed some of the technology that is in wide use today, so I have seen just how “universal” technology is now. There is no need to “push” technology to countries since it is already ubiquitous. In reality, no country has any real “technology edge,” everyone is equal.

      While humans fight losing power very hard, there is no way to prevent power shifting, so over time the once powerful nations ALWAYS have the power drained from them.

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