Is the emphasis on STEM careers misplaced?

Of course, all countries need to generate more people skilled in these careers. However, I was listening to Marketplace radio on NPR and this story came up about a new research paper, “The great reversal in the demand for skill and cognitive tasks”, that makes one reexamine this idea.

I don’t know how sound the research is, but, it certainly is an interesting analysis. One of the points is that high tech demand leveled off in the year 2000 and it has not bounced back, hence the highly educated (to fill that imaginary demand) wind up in lower level jobs, which cascades down.

If true, the STEM* emphasis, and the alleged skills shortage (and call for Visa expansion) would be suspect.

One thing the paper does not mention is this mobile temporary work force. Also, what about the future? Robots are coming, it is just taking longer than some thought. Will the global work force, robots, and increasingly powerful non-human digital intelligence create widespread unemployment? Will we need PHDs to flip burghers at quaint old-style restaurants?

What new political-economic theory deals with the real world as it unfolds?

Links
It’s crowded at the top: Freakonomics Radio
The great reversal in the demand for skill and cognitive tasks

*STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

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