Beyond STEM

New America Foundation has been publishing a series of pieces on America’s growth strategy. All of the pieces are worth reading. But I want to highlight one particular comment by Jamie Galbraith in his piece “The Pillars of Economic Transformation”. He discusses the President’s plans framework of education, innovation and infrastructure. And asks the following question:

Let’s also ask – why only STEM? American competitiveness depends at least as much on style, design, creativity and art – and especially on the liaison between technology and art. If you like exports, Hollywood is a big winner. And if you understand that education is actually not about exports, nor even about jobs, but about our quality of life, then you appreciate even more the need for a balance between science, technology, engineering and math, and music, art, literature, history and economics. Well, maybe not economics. But accounting, certainly.

Why not indeed? As Chris Hill noted in his paper “The Post-Scientific Society”:

In the post-scientific society, the creation of wealth and jobs based on innovation and new ideas will tend to draw less on the natural sciences and engineering and more on the organizational and social sciences, on the arts, on new business processes, and on meeting consumer needs based on niche production of specialized products and services in which interesting design and appeal to individual tastes matter more than low cost or radical new technologies.

Time to take that approach seriously!

2 thoughts on “Beyond STEM”

  1. What I want to hear in the State of the Union – 2013 edition

    According to press reports, the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday will focus on the economy and the middle class. Pundits are noting the difference with Obama’s Inaugural Address, but I would point out the different purpose of…


  2. Reorganizing STEM programs – and going beyond

    Today we continue with our look at the President’s budget proposal (see earlier postings). One of the budget’s themes is “educating a competitive workforce.” Within this overall framework are a number of programs to improve human capital, including a f…


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