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Mac Margolis

Latin America Has a Different Migration Problem

The region's economies might prosper if more outsiders were admitted.
A better future starts here.

A better future starts here.

Photographer: ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP/Getty Images

A recent survey by Datincorp, a Caracas-based pollster, found that some 57 percent of Venezuelans wanted to leave the country. That number, up from 49 percent just four months ago, is just one facet of the rolling collapse in South America's most benighted nation, which has gone from oil powerhouse to global exporter of people in a little over a decade.

But Venezuela's tragedy could also be its neighbors' gain. The race for advantage in the world economy requires many virtues: A competitive market to attract opportunity-seekers, first-rate universities, the rule of law to protect intellectual property. But the knowledge and experience that outsiders bring to a new land can also be vital to long-term development and productivity. That's why many economists agree that global migration is a highway for talent and can even be a shortcut to entrepreneurship.