[p2p-research] Slashdot | Study Says US Needs Fewer Science Students
Paul D. Fernhout
pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sun Nov 1 01:05:15 CET 2009
"It's an article of faith: the United States needs more native-born students
in science and other technical fields. But a new paper by sociologists at
the Urban Institute and Rutgers University contradicts the notion of a
shrinking supply of native-born talent in the United States. In fact, the
supply has actually remained steady over the past 30 years, the researchers
conclude, while the highest-performing students in the pipeline are opting
out of science and engineering in greater numbers than in the past,
suggesting that the threat to American economic competitiveness comes not
from inadequate science training in school and college but from a lack of
incentives that would make science and technology careers attractive.
Cranking out even more science graduates, according to the researchers, does
not give corporations any incentive to boost wages for science/tech jobs,
which would be one way to retain the highest-performing students."
The researchers—led by Lowell and Harold Salzman, a sociologist at the Urban
Institute and Rutgers University, New Brunswick—argue that boosting the STEM
pipeline may end up hurting the United States in the long-term.
This happens, they say, by depressing wages in S&T fields and turning
potential science and technology innovators into management professionals
and hedge fund managers.
The way to promote US competitiveness in STEM fields is to "put more
emphasis on the demand side," says Lowell, noting that U.S. colleges and
universities produce three times more STEM graduates every year than the
number of STEM jobs available. Cranking out even more STEM graduates, he
says, does not give corporations any incentive to boost wages for STEM jobs,
which would be one way to retain the highest-performing students in STEM.
One interesting comment there:
Guess no one got the memo about this collapse starting in the 1970s:
"The Big Crunch" by Dr. David Goodstein, Vice Provost, Caltech
Even though he has testified about this to the US Congress a decade ago.
Anyway, this helps explain the rise of "Professional Amateurs":
"The 20th century witnessed the rise of many new professionals in fields
such as medicine, science, education and politics. Amateurs and their
sometimes ramshackle organizations were driven out by people who knew what
they were doing and had certificates to prove it. This historic shift is now
reversing with Pro-Ams: people who pursue amateur activities to professional
standards are increasingly an important part of the society and economy of
developed nations. Their leisure is not passive but active and
participatory. Their contribution involves the deployment of publicly
accredited knowledge and skills, and is often built up over a long career
involving sacrifices and frustrations."
Which in turn is an aspect of P2P.
It's sad though that we don't have a basic income, etc. to otherwise handle
this situation and let thinkers think and researchers research and so on.
Well, at least people with PhDs can go drive cabs. Oops:
"The continued development of autonomous robots has the potential to save
lives. At PAVE, we conduct our robotics research with the intent to solve
real-world problems, such as reducing the number of motor vehicle accidents.
We strive to educate the community about advances in robotics technology,
and to inspire students to pursue degrees and career paths related to
robotics. ... PAVE has participated in some of the world's most challenging
and prestigious robotics competitions. Our first autonomous vehicle,
Prospect Eleven, was a finalist in the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge. Our
current research vehicle, Prospect Twelve, was a semifinalist in the 2007
DARPA Urban Challenge. PAVE placed third overall out of 47 teams and won
rookie of the year at the 2008 Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition. We
built an all new entry for the 2009 IGVC and placed first in the
competition's navigation challenge."
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