Guest workers: They're not just picking vegetables anymore. A new class of "migrant workers" is taking shape in America's Silicon Valley and other technology centers. These immigrants are not sneaking over U.S. bordersthey arrive by jet from India, the Philippines, China, and Taiwan to take jobs in computer programming, software design, and information services.
And America's information technology industry wants more of them. "Forget the Huddled Masses," a recent BusinessWeekarticle proclaimed. "Send Nerds." Industry leaders claim they face a shortage of skilled high-tech professionalsa problem they fear will only get worse. A 1997 Bureau of Labor Statistics study projected there will be 1.3 million new info-tech jobs over the coming decade.
As the high-tech sector has grown as an industry, its bankroll of financial contributions to politicians has swollen as well (over $3.8 million so far this year). So it's no surprise that presidential candidates are now flocking to Silicon Valley, or that firms like AOL and eBay are forming their own political action committees to dole out cash. What is surprising is how much of that new high-tech money is going to Republicans.
"They almost have a nostalgic quality about them, sort of like the bell bottoms stuck in the back of the closet," writes Jeffrey M. Berry of today's quixotic and starry-eyed liberals. "But liberalism is not dead. Indeed, it's thriving."
In The New Liberalism: The Rising Power of Citizen Groups, Berry marshals copious evidence that over the past four decades, liberal citizen groups have outperformed conservative groups and business lobbies in almost every regardcommanding more positive media attention, winning more legislative victories, and indeed lasting longer as organizations.