I saw the targeted system in action, too - in East Germany, that is. Talking to a lot of colleagues over there I had the impression that very few were actually happy with their job. It was something they had been forced into, because there was a shortage of at the time. It produced a lot of mediocrity and dissatisfaction.
In contrast, we get a lot of arts students that take our engineering programs after they had a few semesters in arts. It usually accounts for much more creativity. Instead of building a bridge, they architecture a fascinating bridge. Instead of writing computer code, they also take into account user friendliness. Many of our East Asian students are brilliant in reproducing reams of information. When it comes to applying knowledge to new fields, using imagination and dreaming up something new - they usually fail miserably.
There is a reason why a Lexus and a Kia look like a Mercedes. Or why most Makita tools are powerful but ergonomically a disaster. You compare them to let's say a Bosch and you see the difference. This has gotten better over the past years and I think introducing arts and design into engineering had a lot to do with it.
posted on 07/17/2004 6:24:12 PM PDT
We wouldn't be fording nybody into any field. All we would be doing if making an investment in human capital, an investment that would give us the highest return on investment. That's what Friedman's saying.
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