Exceptional Immigrants and Paul Graham
January 3, 2015
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Apparently this blog still has an audience for short posts, so I’ll put my two cents on a recent controversy which has been lacking common sense.
A lot of ink has been spilled about Paul Graham’s essay where he begs for increased immigration into the US. His argument is that Silicon Valley need more geniuses, so please give us 1 million more Indians a year. Or something.
Now Graham is a good writer, and tends to make sense, but he doesn’t make any here. You can read Sonic Harm’s slightly incoherent rant to get a measure of how pissed people are.
The thing is, there is no need to refute Graham’s argument. Graham’s knows he’s made an unfalsifiable point, so there’s no point asking for data to rebuke his point. Graham says that Silicon Valley runs on geniuses, and these are evenly distributed around the earth. You disagree? Racist! You don’t think Silicon Valley runs on geniuses? Ignorant! You disagree with both? Ignorant Racist. QED.
There’s a much better way to answer his point. Doesn’t he represent the engineers? The get-things-done crowd? The people who actually make things unlike the evil politicians? Well, why don’t you make an actual proposal for a new immigration policy?
It isn’t that hard. We had a discussion among the Elders and it came up pretty quick: make a new immigrant visa for genius programmers, only available for people who are to be paid 200k+ per year. I say ramp it up; if these guys are so good, make it 500k+. Graham and his guys will make sure that only the real geniuses get through the interviews, and if they’re that good, surely 500k isn’t too much. The future of the nation depends on them, right? Then pay.
Why didn’t Graham propose this? Because he’s full of shit, obviously. All he wants is code fodder for his Incubator. And if he doesn’t, all he needs to do is make a concrete proposal on how to get quality, and not quantity.