More typical examples of the flow out of the US are employees of corporations, both domestic and international, who are expanding their businesses in the emerging markets such as Brazil, India, and, of course, China, which accounts for the largest single chunk of new assignments abroad. Most of these temporary expats will return to the US, but many, experience has shown, get hooked on the adventure of extended travel or discover a lifestyle they prefer and will more or less permanently settle in a foreign country or even become global nomads, continuously relocating to where life is the best for them at the moment.
Everyone in the western US is familiar with Mexican migrants sending money back home to support their extended families. In Europe and beyond everyone knows someone who employs Filipino help who do the same. Since the US median income has not grown since 2007 and the lower end falls further behind, some financial writers predict we will see more Americans finding jobs abroad and remitting funds back to their poorer families. The US State Department in 2011 estimates that 6.3 million Americans are studying or working abroad, the highest number on record.
Other studies have shown this trend is steadily building a support base of young people. Most colleges and universities are seeing continuous growth in the popularity of Study Abroad programs – not surprisingly, because graduates who studied abroad are being employed more quickly and earning more money than those who didn’t, no doubt being placed in those new positions in the expanding economies.
Globalization, cloud computing, or whatever trend is next all influence how people and governments react. Some tend to be more adaptable than others. The young and the needy will make the extra effort to seek out opportunity as the world moves on while the rest of us bemoan the world going to hell in a handbasket. That hasn’t changed since the last ice age.