Science, Politics, and Leadership

Science changes our understanding of the world so fast it’s hard for people to keep up. The changes in the last hundred years make the world unrecognizable to someone from that era.

In politics people tend to vote for people who share their values. When our school curriculum steers students away from math and science that leaves us with leaders and voters who don’t know it’s value. In our current political system decisions are made not for their merit based on evidence, but how they will influence the next election cycle or line already bulging Congressional pockets. 

The path to making America’s economy great again isn’t through flag waving and false bravado. Our path always has been and always will be through innovation. The jobs that are going to move the US forward don’t exist yet or are in startup industries yet to hit their stride in the market place. Our leaders need to understand science and promote science and math in school curriculums to foster this future.

photo-innovation-696x391
from iddeurope.org

The good jobs for the masses today and in the future will be science based. When our economic survival depends on innovation driven by science why don’t we strive to get our students excited about science?

Instead our politicians are harping about bringing back factory jobs from overseas, as if they could beg the water that has already passed over the falls to come back around for another tumble. As good as it that sounds, it’s not going to happen. Businesses do not work that way. In many ways businesses are just like individuals. They are not going purchase something at Neiman Marcus if they can get the exact same product at Walmart for half price.

Companies no longer belong to countries existing virtually without borders. The number one goal of a business is survival and survival is predicated by profits. Competition makes products cheeper, which in turn means to compete companies must constantly find ways to maintain profits. Raising prices is usually out of the question (competition), so companies look for ways to maintain profits by cutting the cost of goods sold. If they could operate cheeper by manufacturing on the moon with 100% robotic factories, that is exactly what they would do. Why? Because if they didn’t the next corporation would and put them out of business.

It’s a catch 22. We can’t have cheap products and have the companies manufacture in the most expense labor markets. Additionally, we can’t afford the products unless we have good jobs like the ones relocated to cheaper labor markets.

So that brings us back to science. A constant stream of innovation driven by science makes new companies. New companies grow, hire more and more people, and then become big companies. Big companies become more efficient and move to the cheapest labor markets. It’s a cycle. With each cycle the jobs are slightly different than the cycle before. Jobs change. Our education lags. We’re always training for yesterday’s jobs when we should be training for the jobs that are on the horizon which brings us to another economic catch 22. It’s hard to predict which innovations are going to take off. Should we plan for VHS or Beta?

As a nation we clung to old paradigms for too long. Somehow we thought we would have similar jobs to our fathers. I’m not certain why, our fathers didn’t the same jobs as their fathers and not long before that most everyone was a farmer.

The big lie successfully pitched to us in the last election is that to make America great again we need to have what we had before. Bring the old jobs back. To make America great again we need to move forward not backward. Science has always lead the way to future. Nothing has never changed without someone saying, “I wonder how that works?” Followed by, “I wonder how to do that better?”

You know who asks questions like that all the time. People trained in science.

Stay tuned and stay involved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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