So STEM careers, right? The solution to all of our educational and economic problems?
Well, yesterday, io9 ran a piece titled Meet the New Underclass: People With Ph.D.s in Science. To wit:
Once upon a time, newly-minted science Ph.D.s would get research jobs at a senior scientist’s laboratory, to train and hone the ideas they would explore at their own labs. But now the supply of post-doctoral students is outpacing demand, creating a new, hyper-educated underclass.
It gets better. (Or worse, if you’re currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the sciences.) When you read the sources io9 cites, you get this lovely research paper published in PNAS, aka the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, titled Rescuing US biomedical research from its systemic flaws. I will quote the abstract:
The long-held but erroneous assumption of never-ending rapid growth in biomedical science has created an unsustainable hypercompetitive system that is discouraging even the most outstanding prospective students from entering our profession—and making it difficult for seasoned investigators to produce their best work. This is a recipe for long-term decline, and the problems cannot be solved with simplistic approaches. Instead, it is time to confront the dangers at hand and rethink some fundamental features of the US biomedical research ecosystem.
Yeah, well, that’s just in the abstract, right? That’s like, you know, a scientific theory. Got any more proof?