Idiocy, purblind idiocy

Per capita,
we should be producing as many engineers as Germany and as many data scientists
as California.

Why? Haven’t these idiots heard of comparative advantage yet?

17 thoughts on “Idiocy, purblind idiocy”

  1. Good idea. Let’s shut down all the Grievance Studies courses.

    Not that the people who do those would stand a chance on a STEM course unless it was dumbed down to the level of building things with Lego, but it would be a start.

  2. Two problems with the aim (even if it were a good one).

    First, as Rob says, there is a limited number of people who can do these top end jobs. Sure, there’s not a total overlap between potential engineers and potential computer people, but as you try to increase the numbers of both you’ll increasingly be fishing in the same pool for both. So, as Tim says, best to specialise.

    OK, theoretically we can increase the numbers by drastically sorting out schools, but they’ve been talking about that for decades and they’re still crap. And there will still be a limited number of people, even if it’s larger, so at some point the two aims would still be competing against each other and we’d still be better off specialising.

    Second, the tech industry in California draws people in from across America and across the world. The number of data scientists in California is a lot lower than the number of data scientists produced by California.

    Speaking of which, what sort of fascist wanker talks about “producing” people to a certain specification?

  3. > the tech industry in California draws people in from across America and across the world

    Quite. How many foreign engineers come to the UK to work; and how many UK-trained engineers leave to work elsewhere? That would give us a better idea of supply and demand.

  4. What is Britian’s competitive advantage?

    Poundland, no-frills flights, the drunken waste-laying of iberian “holiday” destinations, gratuitous taking of offence, and prosecution of name-calling on Twitter?

  5. The idea only makes sense if there is a) a capacity problem and b) we have a pool of people who could do those roles and are currently under-utilised.

    Evidence of this?

  6. Good idea. Let’s shut down all the Grievance Studies courses.

    I don’t think that will generate many engineers and data scientists, but it will stop a few people wasting their lives.

  7. Data scientist? Do the sort of people on that board even know what a data scientist is, why they exist, what they do? I mean, look at 90% of them. Either public sector, or part of the Blair “third sector” bullshit that tries to look like private sector, or part of the teat-sucking state-friendly private sector.

    Data scientist is just a fancy term for a data analyst. It’s just Silicon Valley companies who figured a way to pay people less with a more prestigious title.

    OK, there’s also things about machine learning that make it a bit different, but that’s mostly it. And who needs machine learning? Who can exploit machine learning best? Oh yeah, companies with a shit ton of data. Where are the companies with shit tons of data?

    See, something almost no-one gets is how tiny a part of all software Silicon Valley is, or how specialised it is. Most IT, most websites aren’t like Amazon, Facebook, Google and Uber. These are high scale websites, operating globally 24/7/365. Google built their own data storage system. Facebook built their own PHP caches. And of course, this means someone looking to build the next giant size computer system goes there to grab the people with these particular specialisations. Someone who knows how to optimise the shit out of MongoDB isn’t going to come to your company in Bumfuck, Idaho. If they don’t like you, they’ve got to come all the way back to SF.

  8. > “What is Britian’s competitive advantage?”

    Banking, insurance, other financial services, international law, advertising, business services in general.

    We also export a fair bit of pharma and medical devices. Surpringly enough, given the NHS’s monopsony on medical purchases.

  9. @AndrewM
    Pretty damned good at aerospace, too, as well as many other forms of high-tech engineering, e.g. automotive. Germany and Japan may turn out more cars, but there are no F1 teams based there.

  10. Bloke in North Dorset

    I had a quick look but I can’t find any data to back up those assertions.

    Maybe the mittelstand means that Germany does need and produce more engineers, but I’ll bet that California doesn’t produce all the data scientists and other iT engineers that are employed there. Similarly, the UK doesn’t produce all the finance sector people who work in London.

    And if we take this claim at face value how do we achieve their aim short of a good dose of fascism/communism with State telling people what they will study?

  11. @John77
    AndrewM beat me to that one 🙂
    Also academic excellence – Oxbridge gives us the two highest rated universities on the planet, plus 4 more in the top 30. Germany’s (and the rest of the EU’s) highest entry is Munich in 34th place. But, of course, after Brexit the rest of the EU will shun us.

  12. @Chris Miller
    OK – I read AndrewM as treating pharmaceutical exports as happenstance rather than due the competitive advantage created by the PPRS, an agreement between the MacMillan government and the British pharmaceutical industry which encouraged pharmaceutical R&D (and allowed market pricing on exports generating high profits on a few drugs that cross-subsidised “orphan” drugs supplied to the NHS below cost): this was very successful and led to several major US pharma companies basing much of their R&D in the UK until New Labour decided to change the rules.

  13. UK’s comparative advantage:

    As above: Banking, insurance, other financial services, international law, advertising, business services in general; Pharma; Universities

    @Bloke on M4
    “Blokes in sheds.”

    Yes. Hence why UK is global leader in F1 & Motorsport in general.

    Also, Aerospace; Inventions (eg Dyson); Entertainment: Pop/Rock music, Movies, Drama, Documentaries, Plays (West End), Edinburgh Festival & Fringe; The Queen…..

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