Like the Greeks who sailed with Jason in search of the Golden Fleece, the new Argonauts—foreign-born, technically skilled entrepreneurs who travel back and forth between Silicon Valley and their home countries—seek their fortune in distant lands by launching companies far from established centers of skill and technology. Their story illuminates profound transformations in the global economy.
Economic geographer AnnaLee Saxenian has followed this transformation, exploring one of its great paradoxes: how the “brain drain” has become “brain circulation,” a powerful economic force for development of formerly peripheral regions. The new Argonauts—armed with Silicon Valley experience and relationships and the ability to operate in two countries simultaneously—quickly identify market opportunities, locate foreign partners, and manage cross-border business operations.
The New Argonauts extends Saxenian’s pioneering research into the dynamics of competition in Silicon Valley. The book brings a fresh perspective to the way that technology entrepreneurs build regional advantage in order to compete in global markets. Scholars, policymakers, and business leaders will benefit from Saxenian’s firsthand research into the investors and entrepreneurs who return home to start new companies while remaining tied to powerful economic and professional communities in the United States.
For Americans accustomed to unchallenged economic domination, the fast-growing capabilities of China and India may seem threatening. But as Saxenian convincingly displays in this pathbreaking book, the Argonauts have made America richer, not poorer.