Politics & Philosophy by Dr. Martin D. Hash, Esq.
Does a First World society need engineers? Ambitious nations sure think so: looking at engineering students training in American universities, you find a large proportion of them are foreign nationals, tuition paid for by their home governments so they can return to make their own nations better. However, in the U.S., careers in engineering, which used to be attractive, are not so much anymore. Engineering graduates peaked at 80,000 in the 1980's then declined to 65,000; this in the face of an increasing population and overwhelming technological needs. Compare that to China's 3.7 million engineering students.
The first reason is: who wants to go to school for something so difficult, for little prestige and relatively low pay? Anyone intelligent enough for engineering would be better personally served by going into something else: medicine, law, or banking. Another, more insidious, reason fewer and fewer students are choosing engineering is globalization, specifically H1B visas that lower the pay and take the opportunities. Potential employers are essentially in-country off-shoring of engineering, making American engineers the equivalent of textile or auto workers. Self-interestedly, the Free Marketeers dismiss the decimation of our nation's brain trust with the same tired Market Forces reassurances. These are the people who make money when other nations are doing better at America's expense. The brutal fact is that engineers are no more fungible than military or police; you better have them when you need them.
Categories | PRay TeLL, Dr. Hash
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