Was the greatest contribution to American prosperity the resettling of refugees?

Andrew Grove died yesterday. From the New York Times obituary, the former Intel engineer and chief was “chosen Man of the Year by Time magazine as the person most responsible for the amazing growth in the power and the innovative potential of microchips” and was “in some ways was considered ‘the father’ of Silicon Valley”.

He was also a refugee. I saw him speak a few years ago, at an International Rescue Committee dinner. IRC resettled Grove’s family in the United States in the 1950s, after he survived the Nazi Holocaust and fled the Soviet invasion of his home country, Hungary. He was poor and sick and spoke no English when he arrived.

It occurred to me then: this one act of resettling one refugee may have created more prosperity for America than any other private decision in the past century. It’s at least a contender.

And that’s not even the right reason the Americas and Europe should welcome more refugees. To see what I mean, watch this video: