Growing STEMs

2 thoughts on “Growing STEMs”

  1. Another provocative piece; thanks.

    I believe you hit the nail straight on. Or, to be more precise, about three different nails.

    One hears (frequently) these days about the needs around STEM, couched (tendentiously, in my opinion) in manifold ways. We need more STEM graduates; more STEM teachers. We need to increase H1-B visas so we can address the shortage of STEM talent.

    I wrote some comments about this almost a year ago (in thinking about the n+1st puff piece about “big data” in the NYT – http://sjrefugee.blogspot.fr/2013/04/figures-dont-lie-but-liars.html).

    Now, I would not – I would never – argue that more and better education are bad. But, like you, I look with great suspicion on claims that we are faced with a shortage of quantity.

    What I had said at the time:

    “To anyone who lives (or has lived) in Silicon Valley, or works in a scientific company (I work in “Big Pharma”), think about who in your circle of colleagues or within your company really gets the big money. In economics, there is never really a “shortage” of anything – if the thing exists, supply will meet the demand at the given price. If there is a temporary insufficiency, prices will rise (quickly, perhaps) until either the supply is increased, or the demand decreased”

    seems no less correct today than last year. At least to me (I’ve been accused of solipsism in the past, so who knows?) It strikes me as what in economics is called “revealed preferences.”

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