SMOKE, FIRE and MIRRORS

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Wed May 1 19:01:45 EST 1996


On 1 May 1996, Sean Eddy wrote:

> In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.960501140142.14859B at mcmail.CIS.McMaster.CA> berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA (Alexander Berezin) writes:
>   >Likewise, your exapmle on the basketball players
>   >misses the point. Yes, many of us may be 
>   >outraged by the multimillion pays to top players
>   >(as well as to movie stars or top fashion 
>   >models, etc), but nonetheless all professionals
>   >in this categories get SOME pay if they do
>   >their activities. 
> 
> The point isn't what the pros get paid compared to other pros. The
> point is that lots of college players who want to play in the pros
> never make it, because there aren't enough jobs. Sound familiar?
> 
> I think you'll find that professional sports, acting, modeling,
> writing, painting, music, and any number of other creative and
> competitive fields are all fiercely selective "pyramid schemes" --

> many hopeful and talented people in training, only a few of which will
> actually land jobs in their chosen field that pay them enough to live
> on. 

My understanding is that you refer the above sentence to 
science in the same way as it relates to all 
other 'competitive' activities [ despite that the nature 
of 'competition' is science is in many ways different from 
all the above ].

Then, what you are saying is that the system is producing much
more PhDs that there are (relevant) jobs for them. Just to give 
you one example: 2 of our last PhD graduates in physics
(nuclear physics and astrophysics) just accepted jobs with
investment companies. Lucky guys and a good starting pay, but 
one may ask what early galaxies and/or isotopic spins have to 
do with mutual funds. They been hired just 'beacause they
are smart and promising people', not because of any specific
knowledge that obtained during many years of their very 
EXPENSIVE (again, grantsmanship !) training in a specific
field. This is an example of utter waste and ineffieciency.
(and don't tell me that is other areas, such as biology,
the situation is different).

In short, you confirm in the above that the (grantsmanship) 
system irresponsibly overproduces PhD in large numbers
beacuse professors have enough funds to keep all these
(potentially unneeded) PhD students. And that means that
these (PhD producing) professors are OVERfunded (I am not 
even talking about army of postdocs which is a corollary
and amplification of this problem). Hence, you are 
confirming (not disproving) what I am saying all along. 
What are YOUR proposals to fix the situation ???

Alex Berezin

> 
> -- 
> - Sean Eddy
> - Dept. of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine
> - 660 S. Euclid Box 8232, St. Louis MO 63110, USA 
> - mailto://eddy@genetics.wustl.edu http://genome.wustl.edu/eddy
> 
> 
> 



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