Richard Florida, an American in Canada, predicts talent will leave the U.S. for other countries

Richard Florida, an American in Canada, predicts talent will leave the U.S. for other countries

Florida's latest book, due out in April (Image: Random House) 

Richard Florida is soothsaying once more. The U of T professor told BusinessWeek that American ingenuity—which is often foreign ingenuity—is waning because the world’s most talented individuals are either not coming to America or are being seduced away from America by such countries as Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Meanwhile, the best minds in Asia are staying put. “If China picks up its share of global talent, and then India, and then Australia—you add up those percentages, and they create an enormous structural disadvantage for [America]. It erodes our competitive advantage.”

Florida, who is living proof of the trend he is recognizing, says that, historically, America’s success has been reliant on attracting and keeping the world’s best people (consider the success of Hollywood, with its influx of European directors), an ability it’s gradually losing. He sees the trend in Toronto, too, as huge numbers of students find better career opportunities in Asia and the Middle East.

“People in Washington are brain dead about this,” Florida says. Perhaps those capable of dealing with the problem are being recruited elsewhere.

• Richard Florida: The U.S. Is Facing a ‘Talent Shift’ [Businessweek]