Friday, December 12, 2008

How we got here? [by Paddington]

In my opinion, the boom and bust cycles of the past 30 years or so reflect the deep denial of the real world from our leaders in business, government and education.

Much of that is due to the dearth of quantitative and scientific influence on decision-making. President Bush even down-graded the science advisor from the Cabinet.

For decades, students in the US and UK have avoided mathematics, science and engineering. Becoming a teacher meant getting an education degree, rather than knowledge of any particular discipline, as if the skills of teaching were at some mystical higher level than mere content. In business schools, students shunned accounting and finance, and flocked to management and marketing, as the former required too much mathematics and computer knowledge.

This meant a whole generation of managers unable to make decisions based on facts.

Managers in business are brothers under the skin with bureaucrats in government, and the administrators in education, all of whom make wild assertions and demands of subordinates that are completely at odds with reality.

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