Sunday, July 30, 2017

Scientists And Teachers In Prosperity

Many participants in the economy have had people speaking for them. Adam Smith and Ayn Rand spoke for the businessman; Karl Marx spoke for the worker; and Thorstein Veblen spoke for the engineer. But there are two significant participants in the economy that, to the best of my knowledge, have not been adequately championed. These are the scientist and the teacher.

Most of what business sells is technology; and technology comes from science. There have been many places that had the market system, and most of them were poor. The reason that we are more prosperous than Medieval Persia or Tsarist Russia is technology. And technology comes from science.

Science is therefore responsible for most of what business sells. It – in form of psychology – is also widely used in how the products are sold. 50% of business expenses is marketing, and marketing extensively uses psychology. Technology is responsible for most of what business sells. Psychology is responsible for most of how it is sold.

Another nor adequately heralded participant in the economy is the teacher. The teachers educate both the businessman and the worker. They also educate the scientist. Now there are some people who think that academic learning is worthless and that the only thing that matters in life is common sense and social skills. That may be the case if you are a salesman or a lawyer. Do not tell that to the engineer.

Now most scientists and most teachers do not make very much money. Somebody else makes huge money off the work that they do. Many of them do not mind that state of affairs. When they revolt – rightfully – is when many people decide that their work is worthless or parasitical, or that they are losers because they do not make millions of dollars. Ayn Rand asked the rightful question, What is the root of money? And in most cases the root of money is science and education, with business playing also a significant role but in no way the only significant role.

I was going to become a scientist. However at the time that I went to the university the academia was being defunded, and people were not encouraged to have academic careers. In addition the social climate was intolerable, split between ruinous anti-intellectualism on the Right and a monstrosity known as political correctness on the Left. I worked for a number of years in the computer industry, then that crashed. For most of the time after that I was either unemployed or under-employed. Now there are a number of people telling me that I am well suited for the academia. However if I were to put in the kind of effort that it takes to become a professor, I will have to know that the academia will exist and be adequately funded at the end of the process.

My personal situation aside, this is an argument that has to be made. Once again, science is at the root both of most business sells and of how it sells it. Most of the product comes from technology. Most of the marketing and human relationships uses psychology. Both of the above come from science.

As for the teacher, it is one of the most ungrateful professions, with probably the only more ungrateful profession being social work. There was a time when military was held in low regard, but that situation has rightfully changed in more recent years. It is about high time that there be effective boosters for science and education at the political level. Once again, science is at the root both of most of what business sells and of how it sells it. As for education, it is what makes it possible for people to be both business and labor.

It is much easier to rail against “liberal academia” than it is to oneself become a scientist. Since the field does not make very much money, the people who are driven by money avoid the field, which will in all cases result in the field being dominated by people who value knowledge or service. This means that most people in the field will be liberals until conservatives espouse these things as their values themselves. And if the conservatives want greater presence in the field, these are the values that they will be imparting their children.

Once again, science is the true root of prosperity. Most of what business sells is technology, and most of marketing and HR uses psychology. Science is therefore responsible both for most of what business sells and how it sells it. As for education, it is what makes possible both for business to be business and for labor to be labor.

It is time that these realities be acknowledged, and that people performing this kind of work get both rightful income and rightful respect.


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