Groups such as countries, corporations and [[AncientConspiracy Ancient Conspiracies]] need a lot of talented people in order to function. One way to get that is to recruit from each other. This can easily result in one of them just keep sliding backwards, losing their competent and talented people to others and thus becoming less and less competent and talented as a group.

This phenomenon is quite widespread in RealLife, as [[ the other Wiki can testify]].

In a way, BrainDrain is the opposite of ThePeterPrinciple. However these are opposites that happily coexist and help each other making life a living hell for those who remain: [[BrainDrain The talented move on elsewhere]], while the less talented [[ThePeterPrinciple gets promoted to positions they are incompetent for]] - which can easily lead to becoming a PointyHairedBoss.

In individual cases, ThePeterPrinciple can also be used to subvert BrainDrain - as it turns out that the new guy wasn't so talented after all.


* In ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'' this is [[spoiler:John Galt's major plan: to drain ALL OF AMERICA]]
* In ''Discworld/UnseenAcademicals'', Braseneck College seems to be trying this on Unseen University; their Archchancellor is the former Dean, and their Ponder Stibbons equivalent used to be Ponder's best student. They even offered Ponder the post of Bursar, but he never even asked what the salary was.

* In ''{{ComicStrip/Dilbert}}'', the protagonist works at a company that always seem to be at the losing end of this. Except if you've been there for too long (like Dilbert and Co.) because this company is a black spot on resumes.

* A common theme in ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'' is how the various Traditions and Conventions try to recruit talented Mages from each other.
* [[StiffUpperLip Knights of the Golden Rooster]] in ''[[ForgottenRealms Raven's Bluff]]'' often complain that other knightly orders tend to "take their best". Or, looking from the other end, being an "entry-level" order for common people and adventurers and a route to higher responsibilities is one of the Roosters' main roles.

[[AC: RealLife]]

* During a given countries "golden age" it has often been common for adventurous immigrants to swarm over there to find opportunities. For instance, several conquerors have had scholars and artists crowding their courts simply because the prestige attracts. This naturally causes a BrainDrain in other countries.
** By the same principle, countries going through particularly bad times experience an exodus of the talented to anywhere else, which naturally makes ending those bad times more difficult. Perhaps the most famous example of this phenomenon is the BerlinWall, which was in large part erected to prevent skilled people from leaving East Germany (and instead had the unintended effect of keeping precisely those people in East Germany who were unskilled at stealth/tunneling/etc.).
*** All of the Communist countries of the Eastern Bloc experienced lots of brain drain before measures were taken by the Soviet Union and its puppet states to keep people from emigrating to the West.
*** After the Berlin Wall came down, East Germany saw a huge exodus of skilled Germans moving from the Eastern states to the rest of Germany. As a result, Eastern Germany is still considerably far behind the rest of the country twenty years later.
** Germany was subject to this in ''spades'' before and after UsefulNotes/WorldWar2, thanks to the fact that a good number of technical, scientific, and financial experts were Jews. AlbertEinstein, [[QuantumPhysics Enrico Fermi]], [[ILoveNuclearPower Niels Bohr]], and [[SpaceRace Wernher von Braun]], just to name a few, all emigrated to the Western powers before or after the war.
* On a much smaller scale, businesses who treat workers badly tend to have high turnover.

* ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'': King Radical and his Mafia prevent the brain drain from occuring in Cumberland, MD, by encouraging high school and college graduates to stay in the area. [[ Very strongly]] encouraging.

* In one episode of the animated version of ''WesternAnimation/{{Dilbert}}'', the protagonist manages to get recruited by Nirvana Corporation, the great company that's always steals the best and brightest from his old company. [[spoiler: of course, StatusQuoIsGod - so at the end of the episode he's back in his old cubicle again.]]
* On ''TheSimpsons'' the Globex Corporation tried to hire away Smithers but he wouldn't go for it so they tried the employee with the next highest seniority (and therefore obviously the next best guy) - ''Homer.''
** However, Homer was actually a hugely valuable employee at Globex, his wacky ideas were given a fair try and made the people he managed more productive.
*** Downsides: The CoolHouse Globex gave Homer did all of Marge's work for her, boring her to madness. The quality school Globex built stuck Bart in Special Ed. And even though Lisa enjoyed both the house and the school, the local wildlife sent her(never-seen-before-or-since) allergies into overdrive. Oh, and Globex' BenevolentBoss Hank Scorpio was actually a EvilGenius enemy of [[Franchise/JamesBond Mr. Bont]] - who Homer helps capture and execute, resulting in Scorpio '''taking over the West Coast.'''
* In the InteractiveFiction game ''The Lost Spellmaker'', all of the spellmakers (people who, well... [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin make spells]], for the entertainment of the masses) from the PC's town and the other villages nearby are mysteriously disappearing. It turns out they're being stolen by the nearby city of Plantasitoy. Given that Plantasitoy is [[spoiler:an anagram for PlayStation]], one could easily read this as a metaphor.