In Response to: Lost in the Democracy

The article on Walter Kirn mentioned the “brain drain” from small and medium cities. I think there is evidence for this every month in PAW. The obituaries from the classes in the 1950s and earlier contain many grads who came from small cities and after graduation returned there. Some were professionals such as doctors or lawyers while others joined a local business, often family owned. They became leaders in the local community. Gradually this changed and many grads from the 1960s and later years shifted to careers in consulting, finance, technology, etc., that were located in large cities. Small cities were the losers in this trend.

In my day, “Princeton in the Nation’s Service” was thought to mean working for the government, especially in Washington, D.C. However, I think that those who returned home to small cities also were working in the nation’s service. An interesting question is whether the country as a whole is helped or hurt by this brain drain.

Steve Beckwith ’64
New York, N.Y.