Brain gain: New boutiques, deals surge lure expat bankers back to Australia

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By Scott Murdoch

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Australia's prison island status will force some ex-pats back as it will be the only way they can see their families. Some will also escape places like Hong Kong. Nobody 'takes back control' quite like China.

That doesn't mean that 'Straylia has dealt well with Covid or that it a metric that should determine anyone's future.

The Aussie vaccination programme is slow and it will remain sealed off from much of the world for some time. It is also in the front line as we experience climate change. There will be more fires and floods. Australia is unusual in how much of it cannot sustain life, at least not in the modern, suburban sense. That percentage will increase as more of it is rendered uninhabitable. Australia may be the first place to switch to nocturnal office hours, to deal with the heat. It's a good place for solar of course, but they seem to like coal rather more. If anything, Australia may be somewhere to emigrate from, before it becomes difficult to escape your own regime and squeeze in to someone else's country.

Israel has led the world on vaccinations, but I wouldn't advise going back there, as it is on the edge of war with its neighbours.

The UK also has a good vaccination programme, but I wouldn't suggest returning there either. The lockdowns have savaged the economy and society, as has Brexit. It used to be a great place to do business. No more. There are import blocks and export blocks, and even post-pandemic (if there is a post-pandemic), there will be no free movement.

The UK may actually be a good place to start an emigration service, despite the vaccine roll out.

Nationalists love repatriation and border blocks - chucking out the foreigners and ending the refugee problem, so Covid has been something of an early Chirstmas present for them in the quest for self-sufficiency. Expect to see more repatriation propaganda on your local news sites and TV.

To deal with the loss of migrant talent, the UK government are promoting STEM subjects, forcing university cuts in the humanities an social sciences. Combined with the loss of European cash and income from Covid-blocked foreign students, UK universities are on their knees and will have to do whatever the government order them to. But that won't see aspiring poets and art historians buying Raspberry Pi systems and getting into coding, or unemployed shop staff becoming farm hands, replacing migrant labour.

Foreign universities (including Japanese ones) might consider offering online degrees in the humanities and social sciences to UK citizens. Whether 3 years (terms) or 2 years (office hours), they would be much cheaper than residential degrees. Producing an entire course of degree content is quite cheap. Course texts are available as books or e-texts. A small number of qualified staff can be used to produce content, mark papers and offer one-to-one and seminar sessions online. As the UK government hammers down on the UK's (expensive) domestic universities, a cheap alternative would be very popular. Staff sacked from UK universities as faculties are reduced or closed can even be hired by foreign universities to operate the courses from within the UK.

The nationalist belief that the proletariat can simply be nudged into picking turnips and IT security after having their industries crushed by government lockdowns, may not be 100% accurate. It didn't work well for Chairman Mao and it won't work well in the UK either. Already sectors that used to rely on migrant labour are finding it impossible to function without it, and cannot source replacements from amongst the locals, many of whom simply cannot do the jobs adequately. That's not just in the UK. It's a problem in the US too. GAFA was built with immigrant labour. Without it, and being forced to sack anyone whose politics is not 'woke' enough, they are struggling to fill positions. And GAFA is the engine of the US economy, even though its ability to innovate has tailed off.

Meanwhile, despite Covid, Indian coders who would have left for the promised land of California, are stuck in India. That is of more benefit to India than the US, and may see a renaissance of tech ventures there, courtesy of US border blocks. India still looks the most likely to create the next generation of non-Chinese globally dominant tech and replace GAFA, as it has the skills base, the VC (domestically or from outfits like SoftBank) and the English language ability to globalise their products.

Trump, USG attacks and now the Covid border blocks may have signalled the beginning of the end of GAFA's dominance. That is a remarkable own goal by the United States.

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