A Floating Island Of Nerds… Or Just Evidence Of A Broken Immigration System?
from the could-be-both dept
I’ve been meaning to write about Blueseed for a little while, and I was reminded as News.com has a new article on this “floating metropolis for startups.” If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a plan to basically park a cruise ship in international waters — twelve miles off the coast of Silicon Valley, and use it as a place where a bunch of foreign workers can help build local startups without having to get a work visa, since the US makes those impossibly hard to get. As the article suggests, this sounds a bit horrifying for those workers, even as the goal is to make the boat as awesome as possible:
The ship will have pools, massage areas, gyms, rock climbing walls, and indoor soccer fields according to Marty. His model is very Google-esque–the fostering of creativity through colors, aesthetics, and food.
But, of course, you’re still stuck on the boat. And while there will be ferries back and forth to the mainland, I’m not entirely clear on how those foreign workers get there in the first place.
The more I hear about this effort, the more I’m convinced that it’s more about the statement than the plan: the fact that the US continues to have ridiculously restrictive immigration policies for skilled, technology-savvy workers who can and do help create new jobs and build the economy. Instead, we send them back to their own countries to help them compete against American companies. That seems like a shortcut to economic problems.
Just the fact that someone needs to float the idea (pun only slightly intended) of putting a cruise ship offshore to help startups find reasonable talent highlights the nature of the problem, even if the cruise ship never sets sail. We’re fundamentally turning away talent that grows the economy and creates jobs. From a policy perspective, from an economic perspective and from a moral perspective, it makes no sense.