The other 95%

Paul Grahm has decided to take up the old torch of more H1B immigration because “there are not enough great programmers”.  In the second paragraph he says that people who disagree with him are “anti-immigration” people who don’t understand the difference between good and great programmers.

I’m all for completely open immigration; let people who want to work do so wherever they’d like. However, I am tired of hearing this false rationale that “it’s because there are not enough good programmers”. All I’m asking is for people who make this argument, not to base it on provably false accusations/assumptions. Make an economic argument for completely open borders. Talk about lifting the employer restrictions for H1B… but when you do it the way Paul has done, it’s completely transparent that what you want is NOT that.. what you want are cheaper programmers who can’t leave your company when you abuse them, or find a higher paying job elsewhere. You want indentured servants, and it’s unethical and gross to me.

Is it really too much to ask that people base their opinions on evidence (data rather than anecdote)?  The problem is the evidence doesn’t support the “not enough great programmers” claim:

A great meta-analysis type article that looks at several studies with links to each and a description of the pros and cons of the data:

The most recent raw data I’ve seen on the subject:

But while we’re talking about immigration, I’ve always wondered why it’s so important that the developers be great?  What about great business people?  Where’s the call for H1B CEOs?  Why is the onus of failed startups that they couldn’t get enough *great* developers, as opposed to the mediocre business idea that failed in the market?

Why do I never hear this argument for immigration?  Why is it only STEM?  

And why does this myth persist in the face of evidence?

Eric Sink is disturbed by the tone of people’s reaction but I think it’s perfectly reasonable for people to be upset when someone starts off accusing anyone who disagrees with him as being anti-immigration, or questioning their knowledge.