Saturday, February 11, 2012

STEM or LAS?

This article seems to lament the low rankings the US brings in on STEM education. At first blush this seems serious. But, is STEM really the future? Is STEM a comparative advantage worth pursuing (assuming we don't already posess it)? It seems like it would be, but it may only be part of the story. The other part of the story is here (Alex Tabarok, Marginal Revolution) and here (Catherine Rampell, Economix). From Tabarrok:
Law #1: People will get jobs doing things that computers can’t do.

As Tabarrok points out, a lot of jobs in STEM sectors may eventually be replacable by computers. As Rampell Some Liberal Arts disciplines (and certain disciplines in Business) that emphasize problem solving and people skills may be better-positioned for high value-added jobs 20 years from now than purely quantitative disciplines. I think this partially bodes well for economics majors (except maybe for the people skills part).