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US Losing R&D Dominance To Asia?

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the we're-some-number-other-than-one! dept.

Education 461

bednarz writes "U.S. companies are locating more of their R&D operations overseas, and Asian countries are rapidly increasing investments in their own science and technology economies, the National Science Board said in a report released this week. The number of overseas researchers employed by U.S. multinationals nearly doubled from 138,000 in 2004 to 267,000 in 2009, for example. On the education front, the U.S. accounts for just 4% of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded globally, compared to China (34%), Japan (5%), and India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand (17% collectively). 'The low U.S. share of global engineering degrees in recent years is striking; well above half of all such degrees are awarded in Asia,' NSB said in its report."

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asian all the way down.... (5, Insightful)

schlachter (862210) | about 2 years ago | (#38753890)

And most of that 4% in the US is Asian anyways. Just hope we can keep them here in the US after graduation instead of shipping them back to China because our fucked up immigration policy.

Re:asian all the way down.... (4, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | about 2 years ago | (#38753942)

Oh, R&D dominance? Whew! When I first read that, I thought it said that the U.S. was losing D&D dominance to Asia.

Re:asian all the way down.... (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#38753970)

Or, can you imagine, the "MAGIC: The Gathering"? Nooooooo

Re:asian all the way down.... (1)

jd (1658) | about 2 years ago | (#38754312)

It lost Rolemaster dominance to Mordor.

Re:asian all the way down.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754386)

Slashdot was a lot better before everyone thought they were a hilarious comedian.

Re:asian all the way down.... (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 2 years ago | (#38754868)

Your worried? I misread it as R&B dominance. Call me back when Bollywood has anyone to compete with James Brown!

Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (0, Flamebait)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#38754008)

They shouldn't be here in the first place if they're taking slots that belong to our own citizens. Save the trip and help our own citizens.

No sense in not training our own versus helping the enemy.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754068)

I never knew anyone who didn't have the same complexion as you was considered 'the enemy'...

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754154)

I don't believe sethstorm stated anything about his complexion or anyone else's.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (1, Insightful)

gerddie (173963) | about 2 years ago | (#38754374)

They shouldn't be here in the first place if they're taking slots that belong to our own citizens.

I'm not from the US, so I don't really know, but I always understood that a "slot" at a university in the US is reserved for the person that pays. If the citizens can't pay it, than the universities will just fill these slots by foreigners who can, no?

No sense in not training our own versus helping the enemy.

In light of what I said above, you might want to consider Ferengi aquisition rule N 177: "Know your enemies ... but do business with them always."

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#38754588)

I'm not from the US, so I don't really know, but I always understood that a "slot" at a university in the US is reserved for the person that pays. If the citizens can't pay it, than the universities will just fill these slots by foreigners who can, no?

There are other criteria for admissions than just cash. That, and it makes no sense in denying citizens education for lack of available slots.

In light of what I said above, you might want to consider Ferengi acquisition rule N 177: "Know your enemies ... but do business with them always."

This particular variety incurs a cost that is greater than their added value - thus generating a loss. I'm sure that generating a net loss is a concept frowned upon in about any form of capitalism.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (0, Troll)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#38754762)

There are other criteria for admissions than just cash.

And citizenship should NOT be one of them.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (0, Flamebait)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 2 years ago | (#38754844)

You should be granted citizenship here for graduating here. That's how you keep the talent trained here.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 2 years ago | (#38754896)

If the cash is available, more slots are created. Money talks...

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#38754618)

They shouldn't be here in the first place if they're taking slots that belong to our own citizens.

I'm not from the US, so I don't really know, but I always understood that a "slot" at a university in the US is reserved for the person that pays. If the citizens can't pay it, than the universities will just fill these slots by foreigners who can, no?

No sense in not training our own versus helping the enemy.

In light of what I said above, you might want to consider Ferengi aquisition rule N 177: "Know your enemies ... but do business with them always."

Universities, as far back as I can remember, have been thrilled to take on best qualified entrants, no matter where they come from. They do pay for the honor, however, often as much as three times the tuition of an in-state resident. If you don't like it, bother your public university Trustees about limiting availibility or raising the Out of State/Out of Country tuition rates to your satisfaction.

That said, the US has benefited tremendously from foreign-born university graduates, who have started companies who employ american citizens and enrich investors.

Perhaps there'd be less xenophobia if American youth didn't feel being "cool" and "fitting in with the crowd" was more important than cracking a book open on the weekend. How often in a Monday class have I heard people in the back row parroting what was said on some show, or in some film, or how the 49ers did, rather than how they think they have the material for the class well covered.

You're putting the cart before the horse (4, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | about 2 years ago | (#38754800)

What is the point of cracking open a science textbook when you are going to be competing with people in Asia who can produce the same level of genius for pennies on the dollar?

I don't care what you can learn here in America, someone in China can learn the same thing and apply that knowledge for far lower wages than you.

These people are willing to live in cages. Literally. Look.
http://www.weirdasianews.com/2009/11/21/hong-kong-citizens-living-cages-literally/ [weirdasianews.com]

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#38754496)

No sense in not training our own versus helping the enemy.

"Enemy"?

I happen to believe that there is no sense in paying the Chinese to build products that we are going to buy. Especially when we're just supporting the mistreatment of their workers.

On the other hand, there's every reason to have Chinese and Indians and Iranians and Nigerians, etc come to this country to learn. Because they raise the average.

My daughter coasted through high school, even though both of her parents are professional academics. She had little ambition and little direction. Her interaction with foreign students who actually place a very high value on their education has had a great effect on her. When she got to college, she saw how hard some people work as opposed to some of the kids she hung around with in high school. She saw students helping each other with study groups, tutoring, even sharing books. It took her a while but now she studies with a group of kids that includes Chinese and Korean and Eastern European students, and in Mathematics, when you hook up with smart people, it's a big help, as opposed to many American students who come in as big swinging dicks and think they've got an A coming as a birthright.

National borders are artificial. Cultural borders are not. There may not be a reason to see research and development as some grand competition, or the moral equivalent of war, but there is every reason to start spending a lot more money, public money, on R&D. Not because we have to "beat" the Chinese, but because we have to beat a whole lot of problems right here at home, and over-come the increasing anti-intellectualism of many Americans. Of course, I don't think that's going to be an applause line at the South Carolina Republican debate tonight.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#38754674)

On the other hand, there's every reason to have Chinese and Indians and Iranians and Nigerians, etc come to this country to learn. Because they raise the average.

Only as a additive complement to, not as a replacement for US citizens.

National borders are artificial. Cultural borders are not. There may not be a reason to see research and development as some grand competition, or the moral equivalent of war, but there is every reason to start spending a lot more money, public money, on R&D. Not because we have to "beat" the Chinese, but because we have to beat a whole lot of problems right here at home, and over-come the increasing anti-intellectualism of many Americans. Of course, I don't think that's going to be an applause line at the South Carolina Republican debate tonight.

By denying US citizens such education, you only reinforce the anti-intellectualism that you complain about.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#38754792)

By denying US citizens such education, you only reinforce the anti-intellectualism that you complain about.

You're gonna have to actually prove that such education is "denied" to US Citizens. You're going to have to show the rates of US Citizens that want to to go grad school, but are refused in favor of foreign students.

National borders are artificial? (3, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | about 2 years ago | (#38754866)

Try moving to China to get a job. I dare you. Good luck with that. Then come back and tell me how artificial those borders are.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (0)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#38754546)

1). Quit being a xenophobic dick. It's really unbecoming.

2). They are taking those slots because not enough US students want them. Get US students more interested in grad work (read: Make it pay better, and make it more glamorous), and they will.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (1)

jd (1658) | about 2 years ago | (#38754784)

If your own citizens are inept, uneducated and incapable of doing the work required, companies have to fill the skilled positions somehow. When I last posted anything on education on Slashdot, I was greeted to calls of "you can quit school at 15 and do anything". Well, apparently "anything" doesn't include anything that actually makes money, makes new products or makes new industries, and if there's a strong feeling amongst even the geeks in the US that being uneducated is cool and acceptable, then I can't say I can blame manufacturers for going to the geeks that think being educated is cool instead.

We are also in a global economy now. A global village. There is no enemy but ourselves. If we, as individuals, elect not to be educated then that is our choice. The US should not be made to suffer for the choices the citizenry make for themselves. There are also a LOT of Americans, as I noted on the thread about the gifted amongst the homeless, who might want to go to university and be capable of high-class honours but can't because it is seen as socialistic and welfare to let them have that chance. Again, that's the choice the citizenry have made, the citizenry is entitled to make that choice, but you can't then blame Asia for choosing differently and supplanting America in consequence.

We have the right to make our choices, even bad ones, but we have a responsibility to face the consequences of those choices. The consequence here is that global business cannot run on nationalism or pride, it needs talent. And it ain't finding that talent here. Blaming Asia for having better universities is idiotic and blaming businesses for preferring the results of the better-trained is futile.

Having a "made in the US" label on every employee might sound cool to America in times of high unemployment but it would kill businesses or force them overseas. And that means losing even more jobs, not to mention both corporate and income revenue for the government.

No, if you want Americans to dominate American industry, there is only one way to do it -- fix the problem at source. Abolish the entire existing educational system, rebuild it from the ground up to be maximally functional and produce agile minds capable of keeping pace with change over their entire working lives, and swallow your pride utterly when it comes to paying to do all this, when it comes to sacrificing sacred cows (American units should die, sporting scholarships should die, school games with high incidence of brain damage should die, student loans should die, standardized testing should die, GPA should die, education should be mandatory to age 21 with no exceptions for any group, etc) and when it comes to totally violating any political doctrine (and sacrificing the sacred cows will violate doctrine from all the major political philosophies out there).

It will then take 20+ years to recover, but given that it took 40+ years to deteriorate to this point I'd call that a bargain.

Re:Then change the preferences to lock Asia out. (4, Interesting)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#38754798)

That would make some sense if "our own" actually wanted to be trained for technical careers. Very few of them do; you can see this by walking into any American university's engineering classes.

Of course, we can debate the causes for this (is it the jobs are unpopular because kids aren't interested in "hard" subjects? or is it that the jobs don't pay enough relative to the time and effort required and age discrimination is too common, so smart kids are avoiding these careers because the American companies have made them bad jobs, and they're going into finance and law positions instead?), but whether the cause is from the bottom or the top, or a combination of the two, it is what it is: Americans aren't interested in technical careers, while Asians are. The Asians aren't taking away anyone's jobs.

Re:asian all the way down.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754144)

Mod parent up.

Undergrad in Silicon valley and grad in the midwest (top 3/ top 5 schools) in the 2000's. Engineering (electrical and computer) in Si valley school (the one near Oakland) had 90% asians? I could count in one hand the # of non-asian & non-indians in my class (seriously). It got a bit better in the midwest, but I'd say its about 65-70% asian&indian, still, and I'm being generous here.

Percentages roughly the same for other engineering majors, but just subtract a constant offset of about 10-20%, I'd guesstimate.

Change Affirmative Action then (2)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#38754414)

If that's the case, US citizens should be able to be given preference based on minority status - a statistical one - while the Asians would be stripped it.

Re:Change Affirmative Action then (2)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#38754594)

Wouldn't matter. The numbers of US citizens (which include many people of Asian descent, so stop with the racism/exclusion) who are interested in getting into Grad School is still far, far lower, meaning you'd still have huge numbers of foreign students.

And the only thing I can find wrong with that is the fact that US students aren't that much interested in getting graduate degrees anymore.

Re:Change Affirmative Action then (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#38754864)

Last I heard (and this I think was back in the 90s when I was in school), Asians and Indians are NOT given any Affirmative Action preferences, as they are not "underrepresented minorities" (if anything, they're very overrepresented). Blacks and hispanics, OTOH, do get preferences; just walk into any university engineering class and count the number of blacks and hispanics there.

Re:asian all the way down.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754636)

Same anonymous coward here. I believe that people who work hard deserve to get into the major they want to study, by the way. No advocating for anything other than the standard of what is fair. Regards

Role reversals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754498)

Well it could be cheaper that way -- instead of China hacking into US companies for technology, in the future we'll have US hackers breaking into Chinese companies for technology. That was tongue in cheek, but I do wonder what the most vocal people on slashdot would say if that would ever happen, would they change their tune and accuse the US of unfair practice, or would they continue supporting which ever one is the underdog?

Re:asian all the way down.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754532)

Am i the only one who sees this news as a Good Thing? It seems to create a better balance in the world... Americans already have a dominant army, dominant political influence, and vast amounts of natural resources and farming land. It's advantageous for other parts of the world to take ownership of other industries like high-tech.

Perhaps Americans think they're in competition with everybody else and therefore should be dominant in everything at any cost, but the rest of us like to play nice with the world and we have no problems getting our latest technology from Asia.

Duh. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753896)

This is simply the race to the bottom that corporate America is pursuing writ large. When we traded our democracy for a corporatocracy, this was the inevitable result.

Re:Duh. (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 2 years ago | (#38753956)

More or less, if we want this to change we need to do something about patent trolls and force corporations to demonstrate the need to import workers to fill those jobs if they want to get the necessary visas granted.

Re:Duh. (2)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#38754604)

This is simply the race to the bottom that corporate America is pursuing writ large. When we traded our democracy for a corporatocracy, this was the inevitable result.

"Race to the bottom"? So what do you recommend to encourage corporate America to stay in America?

Re:Duh. (-1, Troll)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#38754824)

Fuck corporate America. They're the assholes that started the entire mess. Why should we be licking their balls to get them to stay?

I'm seriously sick of this "Oh, they're being hostile to business!" bullshit that comes up whenever someone tries to criticize businesses for being assholes.

Yes, but... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753912)

...we're the leader in Human Studies diplomas. We're all set for the future.

Re:Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754158)

That is correct. The big science driven era of the past is coming to a close. What more can we invent? We are running out of cheap, easy energy, so even if there's somehow some huge magical R&D breakthrough, there won't be the energy to power it. So, we need to change society. Its very foundation, what people expect, will need to change. Who's going to do that, a bunch of engineers?

Nuclear power and is a shit load of natural gas US (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#38754622)

Nuclear power and is a shit load of natural gas in the US

Re:Yes, but... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#38754930)

There's tons of things you can invent; obviously I can't list any examples because they haven't been invented yet, but I can point to some things that could be developed as the basic ideas have been invented: space elevator, orbital solar power stations, moon mining, useful fusion power, electric vehicles good for more than just short commutes, personal rapid transit systems like SkyTran, and lots more.

We just don't invent (or develop) many things because of too many problems in our society: patent trolls and overly-broad patents, lack of innovative spirit, greed, excessively-long copyright terms, etc. If we don't fix some of these problems, then our society is going to wither away (like Britain, which is a pathetic ghost of its former self), and some other society (China, India) is going to be the world leader in technology.

Who needs R&D?? (-1, Offtopic)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | about 2 years ago | (#38753914)

We're the US, we're going to have SOPA and PIPA pretty soon, why innovate when you can make sure the DoJ will have their hands full tracking down people and throwing them in jail so that we can all sit on our collective asses and get paid for old tech we made *years* ago...

Don't worry we have plenty of managers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753916)

Who needs to build something when you can manage someone else doing it.

Without Jews those countries can't invent squat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753932)

1 jew is worth 10,000 asian scientists

Re:Without Jews those countries can't invent squat (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#38754360)

This troll brought to you by Scotiabank. You're lazier than you think! [wikipedia.org]

surprised? (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#38753934)

I am not. And if you start to count the USA engineers that are USA born and educated, it will be ever more stunning. But who cares, the SOPA will take care of it.

hey. don't worry (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753966)

Don't worry, all the USA has to do is convince the entire world that its ridiculous imaginary property laws give americans the right to control all research. Problem solved.

Remember, I"P" acitively hinders innovation.

http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/againstfinal.htm [dklevine.com]

The USA's response to date of ever more draconian copyright and patent laws is a "beatings will continue until morale improves" solution.

What's the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753972)

When we learn to make something new and innovative, when they will just copy it anyway?

Re:What's the point (2)

Sentrion (964745) | about 2 years ago | (#38754592)

Then it's time to get innovative and come up with stuff that will work regardless of who copies it. Innovation doesn't stop just because the rules of the game change or don't seem fair.

Just because math is hard doesn't mean we don't learn calculus because we got a few headaches trying to learn algebra.

And innovation doesn't have to stop with technology. We need innovations in law, business, finance, and culture as well.

Re:What's the point (1)

gerddie (173963) | about 2 years ago | (#38754602)

Copying someones work (with attribution) is actually a way to show admiration. Only in a profit oriented society like the one we currently live in is this seen as a problem.

Re:What's the point (3, Insightful)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#38754870)

Admiration is nice, but sadly it doesn't usually pay the bills. While I'd definitely be flattered if someone copied one of my designs and it got mega popular, if I don't get money from it, it doesn't really help me. I still have to eat.

What did you expect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753974)

While this isn't unexpected, I don't see who they'll be selling to if they move ALL the jobs. Maybe I don't understand economics, but as far as I can tell, you either have a business or a job if you want to have money. The jobs are going away. Welfare is paid by taxing jobs, so welfare is going away as well as a direct consequence. No money, no food or housing. I don't see the US going the way of the Zeitgeist any time soon (that's so anti-American), but I would see the US going the way of Zimbabwe. I can generalize this statement for the entire western world.

Who needs R&D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753976)

America's got patents. We can trade those for Asian R&D.

Re:Who needs R&D? (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#38754074)

Why should asia bother to trade for them when their government can just steal it through espionage anyway?

Re:Who needs R&D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754608)

I may not be the best at geography, but when did Asia become a country?

Damnit people, keep me up to date on this type of thing!

But did they LISTEN? (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about 2 years ago | (#38753978)

I personally know people in industry who have been warning of this for the last 20 years. The "new economy" of that era promised to reduce costs by moving manufacturing overseas while keeping R&D in the USA. People who knew how R&D worked said that the manufacturing was, if nothing else, necessary to the local support (machinists, PWB fabs, etc.) that support R&D.

Re:But did they LISTEN? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754558)

This has been happening since the 1970s.

The problem is that US law as it has evolved in the past two decades is very hostile to a R&D culture:

1: A nascent product can be sued out of existance. I remember an issue about a helmet company refusing to put out a new safety feature for fear of a bankruptcy producing class-action lawsuit because they didn't do it earlier.

2: IP laws are so tangled that a company has a minefield of patents that are overly broad or vague. It only takes one violation to have a company shut down and liquidated.

3: The media shows tech-savvy people as second class citizens. Joe Sixpack is viewed as cooler than Jane Chemist. Engineers are drawn in the press as mentally deranged, toadies, or people from Asia.

4: Operation Sun Devil scared the [white|grey|black]hat types away from ever working for the US government. Contrast that to China and Russia where this sort of stuff is just as important as physical combat in their armies.

5: There is such an income difference between being an engineer and other fields. A smart high school graduate can go into CS and might score a job of barely existing. The same guy who parties at a frat, gets his general business undergrad, goes to law school and graduates will be making $100,000 a year starting out, especially if he interns and gets well known at a decent law firm.

6: Commotization: Why hire people for 40,000 a year in the US when $10,000 can get a contract with 10-20 of the best from Elbonia with guarenteed results?

7: Tax structure. Payroll taxes are expensive, offshoring gives deductions. Hiring H-1Bs pays more for a company with tax incentives than their salaries cost.

8: "We can't find any CISSPS to work for us for $15,000/year" translates to "We cannot find any useful talent in the US... we need more H-1Bs!"

9: It is easy to wind up in jail for vague charges if one shows to be technologically competent. So, people tend to hide this. See #4.

With the laws and regulations in place that make the US actively hostile to anything but sports heros, rock stars, and actors, it is absolutely no wonder why there is little to no technological progress here.

Re:But did they LISTEN? (0)

d_lesage (199542) | about 2 years ago | (#38754914)

Don't forget: 10: Pitting religion against science.

Re:But did they LISTEN? (2)

Sentrion (964745) | about 2 years ago | (#38754630)

Exactly. You cannot separate the R&D lab from the plant floor. Both make common use of key personnel and resources.

Re:But did they LISTEN? (0)

Tailhook (98486) | about 2 years ago | (#38754728)

So you're saying we need to have policies that lead to domestic manufacturing?

WE CAN'T POLLUTE THE WHOLE WORLD!

Why would we want dirty manufacturing and industry in the US??

Better that we have lawyers and doctors and movie directors and investment bankers and graphics artists and social workers and compliance officers and other good clean people like that.

Bubba coal miner needs to get a degree or move to China and take his enabling engineers with him, or go subsist quietly in a trailer park. Either way stop messing up my environment!

Re:But did they LISTEN? (2)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#38754954)

Why would we want dirty manufacturing and industry in the US??

Jobs. Further, manufacturing doesn't have to be "dirty". Its just that most companies are lazy and cheap, and would rather turn some 3rd world country into a shithole than invest in clean manufacturing.

In addition, I'm sorry to say, but not everyone is cut out for white collar or knowledge work. There are a lot of people who's main skill is their brawn.

Degrees (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38753996)

I'm going to say that Degrees are quite the "meaningless" quantity - I work with a number of "engineers" who graduated in Asia (China/India Specifically) who barely qualify as high school graduates let alone college gradutates. The standards for degrees are not really very comparable across some borders.

Re:Degrees (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#38754084)

It is true, but even if 1% of these graduates are worth their soil, it is still pretty big number compared to "inside" graduates.

to expensive (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754018)

Most American parents can't or can hardly afford to send their children to University anymore.

Priorities (2, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about 2 years ago | (#38754282)

Most American parents can't or can hardly afford to send their children to University anymore.

That's what college loans are for: so that you can start your working life far enough in the hole that you could have bought a house with the money. It saves you from buying a house, freeing you to pay rent on top of the loans until you can finally buy a house later for your grandchildren to visit you.

Or at least that seems to be the theory. Me, I paid for all of mine so they can start out clear. That's more important to me than retiring to a place within golf cart distance of the clubhouse.

Re:to expensive (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#38754390)

Most American parents can't or can hardly afford to send their children to University anymore.

The educated ones can find a way .. there's such a thing as putting the money away for the pending college education, rather than buying an SUV, eating half your meals out and having a big screen TV, it's called Forward Planning.

Something else ... send kids to the local Community College for the first two years then they can complete their studies at a State University in two more years. Amazing how many people overlook this option in favor of $150/credit and sitting in a lecture theatre of 600 other students, when you could be sitting in a CC classroom, for less $$ and have a ratio closer to 30 students to 1 teacher. Just make sure all credits taken are transferable into the targetted university.

Sensationalist crap (5, Insightful)

vinayg18 (1641855) | about 2 years ago | (#38754022)

"well above half of all such degrees are awarded in Asia"

Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with Asia having well above half of the world's population.

Re:Sensationalist crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754132)

I've worked with a lot of people with Asian degrees ... comparing by name is not fair. An Chinese MD is *typically* only equivalent to about half a trip through US Med School. Chinese and Indian physics MS holders are on par with US natives for book work but tend to lack the spark to do fantastic research. Indian programmers with MS degrees tend to be, unfortunately I have to be blunt, lousy. This isn't to say that Asia isn't eating the west's lunch, just that you have to be a little bit careful when interpreting degrees, the institutions granting them, and the students.

Re:Sensationalist crap (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#38754334)

Yeah, after scanning the article my impression is just that Asia is finally starting to develop to the point where they are able to compete. While it is true that the US "dominance" is decreasing, that doesn't mean the US is not doing R&D anymore, or even that it isn't doing more and more, just that China (in particular) is heavily increasing their investment into it. What that means long-term... IDK, it'll be interesting to see.

Asians cheat alot and copy each other (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#38754336)

Asian do group work on solo projects and there high / college is all about the test and cramming for it.

R & D doesn't simply go to lower cost (4, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#38754036)

China and India have had massive, massive pushes to educate engineers, medical workers, technology workers, etc. The shift is the pay off.

A couple decades ago my brother, an engineer with Dow Chemical related the project he was managing - an project would be begun in North America, passed to a team in Japan or Oceana, then passed to India, before passing along to Europe and back to North America - each location meeting its objectives as part of the project. That was two decades back. So you can see there are people capable of engineering, research, medical discoveries and such in abundance by now. No doubt someone in Thailand is waking up about now and will correct any spelling errors I have made in this post.

Re:R & D doesn't simply go to lower cost (1)

Menkhaf (627996) | about 2 years ago | (#38754400)

he was managing - an project would be

a project

You're welcome :) (although I'm not in Thailand, but in cold and dark Scandinavia)

Re:R & D doesn't simply go to lower cost (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#38754908)

he was managing - an project would be

a project

You're welcome :) (although I'm not in Thailand, but in cold and dark Scandinavia)

Ah, yes. But you didn't catch all my punctuation errors, which will be detected and forward to the next time zone - all part of the 24 hour continuous global project that is now an industry for /. posting! (c:

Re:R & D doesn't simply go to lower cost (3, Insightful)

scamper_22 (1073470) | about 2 years ago | (#38754660)

Indeed. I've made this point several times.
Generally people who think of the 'innovation' economy are largely ignorant colonial thinkers. They lurk in academia or places like Silicon Valley and by in large live in a bubble.

They tend to think like 'I'm working on high-tech and it's a great living' so if everyone was as educated as me, everyone could have a good educated job! Of course it eventually hits home that there's no demand for so many educated people.

It's great to be educated... but that doesn't mean people are going to pay you lots of money for it.

The progressives especially have pushed the idea that education leads to jobs. Which is true... so long as there aren't that many educated people.

But as more and more of the world becomes educated, in reality you run into the same problem that manufacturing hit. Its a commodity. Just like how being the only literate person in a village hundreds of years ago probably entitled you to a reasonable living. But today, in a Western country where pretty much everyone is literate... it means nothing.

And yes a portion of that means that with free trade and globalization, R&D work will get pushed to the country with a lower standard of living. This is not just in terms of pay, but also in terms of quality of people. For example, given the pay scale in North America, a decent software engineer might make 100k. That's not going to attract the best and brightest. They've learned and now go into finance, law, medicine...
Compare imagine what quality engineer you could buy in India/China for 100K? You're talking the best and brightest... and they're motivated.

And people who now worry about high-tech moving offshore face a huge moral dilemma. They've spent the past 50 years with the following mentality.
- farm work? let migrant workers do it.. our people will find other jobs
- textiles? we can do it cheaper overseas. who cares about the western textile worker's job.
- manufacturing? we can do it cheaper overseas. who cares about the western manufacturing worker.

Now suddenly, their 'educated labor' is a commodity and can be done overseas... now suddenly you see people worrying.

Why should the manufacturing worker or service sector worker should have to pay higher prices for western made R&D or pay taxes to support Western R&D?

Yes, I'm educated and work in high tech, but I do get pretty annoyed at educated people be they coworkers or those in the public sector who seem to think education entitles them to a high standard of living. It's going to hit home pretty fast.

Then kill offshoring already. (3)

sethstorm (512897) | about 2 years ago | (#38754040)

If it is indeed so, get rid of any means to facilitate it - offshoring being the primary offender. No different than stopping blood from a wound versus allowing someone to bleed to death.

This is one of the better cases for why we should train our own instead of everyone else. If there's any spare room after the least capable citizen has been trained, only then should the US consider friendly internationals - for which are not generally found in Asia.

Re:Then kill offshoring already. (2)

White Flame (1074973) | about 2 years ago | (#38754482)

And if the government wants to kill offshoring, they need to make it easier to hire & do business locally. Bust bad union control, bust badly constraining regulation, lower employment taxes, complete education system overhaul, etc.

If all you do is ban offshoring, I'm not sure the current domestic climate is even capable of picking up the slack anymore.

Re:Then kill offshoring already. (1)

s73v3r (963317) | about 2 years ago | (#38754690)

Basically what you said is, "Make the US like China."

No thanks.

Re:Then kill offshoring already. (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 2 years ago | (#38754628)

You seriously think that'd achieve anything? All it'd do is that foreign companies would offshore production themselves and then import their products into the US at a fifth the price US companies charge.

Or are you proposing going full out protectionist and banning all foreign imports and products and devices and technology?

Reporters not losing their sensationalism edge (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 2 years ago | (#38754056)

How many DECADES have reporters been saying that losing the edge has been "right around the corner". This is just another example of a reporter who is too lazy to do a real story drumming up some sensationalism to get page views. Next.

Ummm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754106)

No.

But it can happen sooner than we expect, if we allow people with radical ideologies to wage "War on Science."

Who needs "intellectuals" anyway? (5, Insightful)

vell0cet (1055494) | about 2 years ago | (#38754140)

Of course this has nothing to do with the anti science movement that took over when W was in office and is still a matter of fact for half the population.

Half the american public are against "intellectuals", against evolution, deny climate change and think that investing in science is against God or is far to great a burden on the economy and you're surprised at this?

Re:Who needs "intellectuals" anyway? (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#38754318)

Oh, you mean Palin's "Real Americans."

Re:Who needs "intellectuals" anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754338)

You are fucking dumb.

This is about business decisions and the job market.

Engineering isn't "intellectual" anyways. "Intellectuals" are the twats who come up with social justice, you know attempts at justifying theft.

Re:Who needs "intellectuals" anyway? (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 years ago | (#38754710)

You got it! Don't you know that we are all supposed to be:

a) Clergy

b) Stock Brokers

c) Politicians

Okay, you can sneak in some support classes like Insurance Salesmen, or CEO but not a Science major! Science majors make horrible wages, work horrible hours, and receive no rewards.

americans don't care about this (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754156)

The low U.S. share of global engineering degrees in recent years is striking

Americans don't want to learn science and engineering, because it's hard. It takes years of extremely hard work.

I went through university with a business major. I saw the kind of work he did because he was asking me for tutoring help; the "hard" things he was learning were unbelievably trivial. I'd estimate his degree was a factor of 50 easier than mine; I could have taken all his classes, not studied for shit, and come out with straight A's, all with less effort than I was spending on a single difficult engineering class.

Of course, he now makes more than I do. So why on earth would anyone want to go through what I did, when you could go through the far, far easier thing HE did, and be more financially rewarded for it?

In the end American's lack of interest in science, technology, math, and engineering will sink the ship. You cannot compete in today's global world unless you (as a people) understand how that modern world works, and Americans don't wish to understand, because it's hard work. You reap what you sow. I've been saying this for the last 30 years, and now here we are, going down in flames to better educated countries. Surprise surprise. I used to give a shit, but then I learned there was nothing I could do to make people care, so I just gave up. No point in getting upset over it. I'm resigned to my country falling out of its former place as the world powerhouse of science and engineering. In the 50's, 60's, it was very much the USA, and everyone else a distant second. Now, that's reversing. So be it.

Re:americans don't care about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754322)

It's reversing, The smart part of the 1% club realizes this, and the are quite pleased because they have enough resources to be able to afford to move their resources to take advantage of the changes. They are the rats positioning them selves to leave the sinking ship but making sure that anything of value is extracted. The goal of "vouchers" for example, is to get the public education system off the backs of those who can afford better -- give vouchers at fixed dollar levels and let inflation take care of the rest -- in 20 years we'll be on par with Bangladesh for public education.

Re:americans don't care about this (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#38754570)

Americans don't want to learn science and engineering, because it's hard. It takes years of extremely hard work.

Why would they. All you have to do is get on a reality show,act like a moron, and "get paid". That's a hell of a lot easier than actually working for something. It's truly sad that aspiring to be something better is considered being a chump, by many, these days.

Re:americans don't care about this (1)

jd (1658) | about 2 years ago | (#38754906)

Agreed, though there were a good few European nations in the 50s and 60s that weren't quite so distant -- at least, in very specialized fields. Britain's luxury goods and highly customized products were, at that time, still a force to be reckoned with. Germany had lost a lot of infrastructure, but was doing some very reasonable work in mechanical engineering, as were the Swedes. France had a wine industry that was a class (and glass) or three above anyone else.

These specialized niches have been worn down for much the same reason - hyper-specialization is also extremely hard relative to other stuff and produces very low returns.

People want quick, easy solutions that produce quick, easy profits. The good is often the enemy of the fast.

Re:americans don't care about this (4, Interesting)

scottbomb (1290580) | about 2 years ago | (#38754916)

For the most part, I don't think American students shy away from engineering degrees because it's hard. The students are just going to where the jobs are. When they hear about companies outsourcing engineering jobs to Asia and bringing in H1B visa holders by the boatload, it's no wonder they persue a different career path. Look at all the women going into nursing. There's a big demand for nurses and it pays very well. Nursing school isn't easy, either. But they're in demand, and that's the key.

No surprise (4, Informative)

ironjaw33 (1645357) | about 2 years ago | (#38754206)

I have a relative who works as a researcher for a major drug company. She had to move laterally in the company after they announced they were moving all new drug discovery work to China.

As a senior Computer Science PhD student, this has me worried. I also know of a few recent American CS graduates that have gone to China to work as researchers for a particular American software company because that company's US research offices weren't hiring. I still know plenty of other graduates who had no difficulty finding research positions in the US, but it seems that a few major players are shifting their work to Asia. Hopefully the rest won't follow.

U.S. Companies? (4, Insightful)

Lije Baley (88936) | about 2 years ago | (#38754226)

We need a new standard for what a company has to be like to call itself a U.S. company and be eligible for any the benefits of such title. Multinationals with little U.S. corporate responsibility need not apply. If corporations are people, then let them take a citizenship test.

Losing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754232)

We're not losing out on anything. This is a deliberate corporate decision to put short-term profits ahead of long-term growth. As long as your options vest before the shit hits the fan, what could possibly go wrong?

Sarcastic rants aside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754342)

Well, um, I guess that's all there is to post on this particular topic....

We have to many people in college tech apprentices (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#38754462)

We have to many people in college and a lot of the tech fled needs apprentices systems AS CS IS NOT IT. So colleges are being dumped down to fit in people who are not college material but can do good a apprentices system. Also lot's of jobs don't need college and alot of people don't belong there.

I say have more tech schools / apprentices systems and for IT you need to people at all levels but CS for all does not work CS is to long and to much high level for most IT jobs when a apprentices / tech school is a much better fit.

Yeah, but we are leading in lawyers (2)

CO_gun_toter (675593) | about 2 years ago | (#38754472)

When I got my master's degree (EE) back in '85, there were about 130 advanced technical degrees given. Compare that to the 370 jurisprudence degrees handed out, and I think you can see where we were heading. Now lawyers are everywhere, and especially in politics where they can pass laws written to assure full employment for the members of their profession.

nig64 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754508)

join in. It can be of BSD/OS. A to them...then up my toys. I'm IT JUST 0WNZ.', of an admiitedly [amazingkreskin.com] GAY NIGGERS from

Just like the Soviets... (1)

Snugglypoo (1033692) | about 2 years ago | (#38754520)

The Soviets produced many more engineers than the United States throughout the entirety of the cold war. Today it's India and China. Same old story. I don't think it really matters.

China is good at copying stuff BUT then cheap out (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#38754550)

Look at China high speed rail systems it's a cheaper but unsafe ripoff of the japanese system that has no passenger fatalities due to derailments or collisions.

But US keeps its dominance in law! (1)

kubusja (581677) | about 2 years ago | (#38754564)

Technology is so XX century! What matters in XXI are patents and lawyers and US has an abundance of them... No one else has something like SOPA or PIPA! US is years ahead in laws race...

Of course (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#38754586)

Of course the US is losing R&D ground to Asia. R&D takes money, but in the US huge salaries are paid out to executives and the rest tends to go out as dividends. R&D implies a company's management and owners have the ability to defer gratification. Something that is sorely lacking nowadays.

Degrees are meaningless (5, Interesting)

Caerdwyn (829058) | about 2 years ago | (#38754610)

In my recent (and extensive) experience with interviewing people who are recent graduates, I am finding a very large percentage of people with bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science who can't write even the most simple scripts in any language... people with "expert in TCP/IP networking" in their qualifications, or who have three years testing routers and switches listed as experience who don't know what NAT means or what a MAC address is... people who don't know how to list running processes on any platform. These are people who are graduates. They have their degree. And those degrees are worthless. We've had half a dozen positions open where I work for a long while, the bar just isn't set that high, but we're not finding qualified applicants.

It doesn't matter what nationality the school or the "graduate" is. Poorly-prepared graduates are a world-wide phenomenon. Sure, Asia is producing a large number of graduates, but the majority of them aren't going to be very useful. The U.S. is producing fewer engineering graduates, but they're just as useless.

Yes, the universities are to blame. I don't know what they're teaching but it has little to do with reality and doesn't prepare the students to be employable. But the students are also to blame. Surveys show that between 75 and 98% of students admit to cheating, and don't feel particularly bad about it [glass-castle.com] ; the universities also don't seem to think that cheating is anything to get worked up over either. No wonder nobody is learning anything.

All of this is why I don't think that it's a big deal that the US produces only 4% of engineering degrees; 4% of "nothing useful" is no worse than "35% of nothing useful". If those degrees actually meant something, or correlated in any meaningful way to success (both for the individual and for the employer), I'd be more concerned. My real worry is that Westerners aren't even interested in engineering any more; they all want to be in sales and marketing and other nontechnical fields (or "soft" majors like political science or humanities, followed by whining about how nobody will pay six figure salaries for their chosen field). I'm not sure why this is,,, given how little tech work someone with a tech degree seems to actually be required to do, it can't be because of academic workload. Mind you, the profound anti-intellectualism that is still the rule in Western society may have something to do with it.

-sigh- Kids these days.

and? (1)

chronoglass (1353185) | about 2 years ago | (#38754826)

Really, we are a nation that wants a "free market" well.. unless it's working against us.
I commend them for taking advantage.

We don't need laws, or restrictions, or anything other than a reality check for the business majors. Supply and demand. We demanded high paying cush jobs without much on the requirements sides other than "a degree" regardless of what it was. So we got em.. specialized jobs went elsewhere, we were the "big picture" thinkers, don't talk to me about the pump being backwards, there are people for that.

I've always noticed it in corporate america.. but it's been slamming me in my face more and more as I discover to be considered "good" at my job, I need to properly explain what something does, and direct questions about "how it does it" to people who will explain the "how", rather than learn the "how" myself.. if I learn/do it for myself.. I have failed, and probably won't be getting the next project I request.

Face it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38754842)

Be prepared to be ruled by GOOKS, JEEVES and TERRORISTS. Once the last alcohol metabolizing xanthochroid is eliminated from the species, all will be well, all you who bear PLAQUES ON THE WALL!

Waste them mod points for the sake of being seen "doing the right thing"

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