Thursday, October 15, 2009

The so called scarcity of scientists

There is a lot of hand wringing about how wall street drains the real economy of bright people who might otherwise have become scientists. See for instance this recent article. An excerpt:

"Graduates in these three fields all too frequently choose careers in finance rather than the real economy because the financial sector provides far greater executive compensation"

That is pure baloney.

I am one of those persons "with strong mathematical, engineering, and scientific backgrounds" with a PhD from a top university.

The sub sector of the industry I worked in was dominated by 2 billion dollar companies. First Company C announced they were shutting down all R&D operations to cut costs. Within weeks, company S followed suit by shutting down their R&D department as well. The day to day work at both places has gotten to be mind numbingly boring with 0 innovation.

Where should people like me find interesting, challenging and rewarding work that involves Mathematics, Sciences and Engineering? I will give you a clue - there are no high paying technical jobs outside of finance in America.

Stop paying the lawyers, sportsmen and Hollywood stars so much and pay more to scientists - you will immediately see a large number of scientists and technologists. This has happened only twice in 20th century America - the post Sputnik era was the first and the tech boom of the late 90's was the second.

Enough of this "we need more scientists" nonsense. The highly trained scientists are willingly walking to Wall street because this society does not value science. People like me are in no mood to ruin our life and health slaving away at unappreciated technology jobs when society pays us neither good money nor social respect. Put your money where your mouth is or else shut up.

Here is a simple proposition: if you want me to work in science instead of on Wall Street, then pay me more on Main Street.

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