The New Argonauts: Regional Advantage in a Global Economy
Argonauts, Saxenian's mythic term for global commuters employed in the high tech sector, are not the ominous invaders American economic isolationists fear-stealing jobs and ideas from Americans and spiriting them abroad. Rather, Saxenian argues, such global entrepreneurs have created domestic and foreign jobs and reduced the cost of technology for businesses and consumers. Saxenian is at her best when describing the relatively short history of the international entrepreneur-commuter: the Argonauts, though equipped with Ph.D.s from American universities, hit ethnicity-based glass ceilings in the States and chose entrepreneurship over floundering in middle-management. Bright, young, foreign-born entrepreneurs formed technology companies (with the help of western venture capital and management theory) in their home countries and succeeded where traditional development initiatives failed. However, when Saxenian projects the implications of Argonaut activity or their future, she sounds prematurely optimistic; some readers may have a hard time envisioning, as Saxenian does, widespread future interglobal cooperation aimed at solving humanity's problems.