Nobels Pouring Across The BorderThis was too much even for WSJ readers: the comment thread is almost uniformly hostile.
All six U.S. prize winners this year are immigrants
Congratulations to Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom, who on Monday were announced as this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize in economics. Our contributor David Henderson describes their contributions to the study of finance and financial crises nearby, but in America’s current political climate the economists are also notable for being immigrants.
Mr. Hart is from the United Kingdom and Mr. Holmstrom from Finland. Both men followed the well-worn path of the last century in getting degrees abroad but then moving to the United States to study and earn their Ph.D.s. Mr. Hart graduated from Princeton in 1974 and Mr. Holmstrom from Stanford in 1978. They also did what immigrants rich and poor often do: get married and stay in the U.S. They both now live in Massachusetts.
As it happens, the U.S. had six Nobel prize winners this year, and all six are immigrants. Chemistry winner Sir J. Fraser Stoddart is from the United Kingdom but now teaches at Northwestern. This year’s three physics winners— David Thouless, Michael Kosterlitz and Duncan Haldane—are also from Britain but now live and work in the U.S. Give Britain credit for an education system that produces these minds, but the U.S. is fortunate to have a great network of research universities to attract and keep talent from around the world.
These details were tipped to us by Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for American Policy who has tracked Nobel winners for many years. He reports that immigrants have won 40%, or 31 of the 78 Nobels won by Americans in chemistry, medicine and physics since 2000. The winners come from many countries including Japan, Canada, Turkey, Austria, China, Israel, South Africa and Germany.
If you want to get political, you might even say these Nobel winners are pouring across the border. We’re glad they came.
[Nobels Pouring Across the Border; unsigned editorial at the Wall Street Journal, October 10 2016.]
This lunacy isn't new; the nation-killers have been pushing the immigration-equals-Nobels line for years. I covered it in Chapter 10 of We Are Doomed, starting from a sentence in Robert Putnam's famous 2006 paper on diversity:
"Nobels Pouring Across the Border," please note again, is an editorial in the Wall Street Journal: the considered collective opinion of the senior journalists at one of the Western World's most prestigious newspapers.[I]mmigrants have accounted for three to four times as many of America’s Nobel Laureates, National Academy of Science members, Academy Award film directors and winners of Kennedy Center awards in the performing arts as native born Americans.Just checking the handy Wikipedia list of Nobel Prize winners by citizenship and nation of origin (and ignoring the Peace Prize, which is merely political), I see that of the seventeen American winners listed for the years 2005-2007, four are indeed immigrants. They came from Russia, Italy, England, and Germany. Of the thirteen U.S.-born awardees, three are from immigrant-Jewish families, one from an immigrant-Portuguese family, the others of older Anglo- or German-American stock.
The seventeen names are: Hurwicz, Maskin, Myerson, Copecchi, Smithies, Kornberg, Mather, Phelps, Smoot, Fire, Mello, Aumann, Grubbs, Schrock, Schelling, Hall, and Glauber. You have to read down through 53 names before you get to the first American of other than European origins: Egypt-born Ahmed Zewail (Chemistry, 1999), followed by China-born Daniel Tsui (Physics, 1998).
Without exploring Putnam's other categories, the Nobel Prize list does indeed make some kind of case for immigration ... from Europe, with strong preference to be given to Jewish immigrants. There may be a case for immigration from Somalia, Iraq, and the Dominican Republic, but the Nobel Prize list doesn't make it. In fact it rather argues against it.
Don't you sometimes feel you're living in an insane asylum?