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« Why there's a Scientist Shortage: Part III | Main | Cars continue to decline »


David Eaton

Moving to 'import' scientists will keep the wages of scientists low enough that natives will be discouraged from making the sacrifices needed to become a scientist. I am a PhD chemist, and I am paid far less than professionals with MBAs, JDs, and MDs.

The point is that people with the noodle to be a scientist have other equally or more attractive options. Being a scientist is a very good profession. I love it, but I recognize that I paid a dear opportunity cost to get here. I have friends who have left bench science to become intellectual property attorneys, and a few who have returned to medical school.

Gender and racial issues no doubt play parts in the internal politics of the academic machine that cranks out PhDs. But there are brutal economic facts that get ignored: if something is scarce, the price will rise, and, if it isn't some unrenewable resource, it will get produced. If the government, academia and industry would allow science wages to rise, much of the scientist shortage would disappear. I am not taking issue with your points, per se, though. I just think that the economics are ignored.

I found the following economic analysis by Eric Weinstein helpful:

All that said, I do agree with what you have said elsewhere- I was a smart boy with awful grades. Luckily, I didn't give up or fall through the cracks. I think your efforts in pointing out this problem are important and laudable.

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