The Rise of the PRC

Graham Allison, Director of the Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard, had some thoughts in The Boston Globe.  Here’s one that’s not in the usual political or military race discussion.

In STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)…[the PRC] annually graduates four times as many students as the United States (1.3 million vs 300,000).

A better measure would compare the quality of those graduates and their programs so as to arrive at similarly qualified graduates.

Still, numbers have a quality all their own.  Let’s play a bit with these two.  Suppose, for instance, that 80% or American STEM graduates actually know their material, i.e., the graduates didn’t just sleep-walk their way through a mediocre program; they actually got and understood a good, solid STEM education.  That works out to 240k solid STEM grads.

Suppose that of the PRC’s graduates only 50% measure up to that standard.  That still works out to 650k solid STEM grads, or for you non-STEM folks, 2.7 times more quality grads than we’re producing.  That’s something to take seriously.

This is a long-term, generational, race that we can’t afford to lose.

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