Friday, March 13, 2009

A Matter for Men

President Obama wants more college graduates.  I'm not sure what is needed is 'more college' . . .
"Your work is valuable only when it's needed. And you're only valuable when your particular skill is scarce. It takes time to train a biological engineer or a quantum mechanic or even a competent AI hacker - but if we had a hundred thousand of them, how much do you think a single one would be worth

She didn't answer.

"The only reason we haven't trained that many of them is that we don't need them. If we did, our society could produce them in two to four years. We've proven that time and again. Your grandfathers proved it when they needed computer programmers and engineers and aerospace technicians and a thousand other specialites to put the first man on the moon - and most of those specialites had to be invented as the needs arose. By the end of the decade it seemed as if they were as plentiful as sweat-pushers; in fact some of them actually had to start pushing sweat to survive when the space program was cut back."

"But that was .. just economics," she insisted. "It's the education that makes a person valuable, isn't it?"

"Is it?" Whitlaw looked at her blandly. "How do you define value? Can you fell a tree? Or milk a cow? Do you know how to operate a bulldozer? Can you lay bricks?"

"Of course not - "

"Then by some standards you're not valuable at all.

From 'A Matter for Men' by David Gerrold.

Who can take as much time as he wants to deliver books 5, 6, and 7. But I am madly curious to see What Happens Next and how it All Gets Resolved.

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