The world is flat. Or is it fat?

After Columbus and before globalization, we realized the idea of a flat world was a myth. We’ve known for a long time that the world was really quite round. But, recently, we learned the world is being flattened by global competition. Or is it?


Thomas Friedman is largely responsible for confusing things with his best-selling book about global competition, The World is Flat. But one of Friedman’s colleagues at The New York Times, David Brooks, isn’t as concerned about this brave new world of increased competition
.
Brooks wrote a column last February in an attempt to debunk some of the myths associated with globalism. “We should be more worried about the countries that can’t support themselves than people in countries with rising wealth like India and China,” Brooks concluded.
With that in mind, we took a closer look at some popular notions associated with globalism in search of myths.

Myth: Quantity equals quality

In the United States, 72,893 engineering students earned bachelor’s degrees in engineering in 2005. India graduated between 200,000 and 300,000 engineers last year, but nearly half of those graduates only earned three-year diplomas. China, with a population four times greater than the U.S., graduated approximately 500,000 engineers last year, but the list includes auto mechanics and other technical workers, according to a Duke University study.
Using India’s standards, for example, the U.S. could have reported almost twice as many engineering graduates in 2005.
Mark Clayton of The Christian Science Monitorpoints out that Americans were also worried about relative numbers during the Cold War. The Soviet Union had more nuclear missiles, but the U.S. had a superior stockpile when quality and precision were taken into account.

Myth: Outsourcing is out of control

A McKinsey Global Institute study last summer found that only 25 percent of Indian engineers were ready to compete for outsourced work. McKinsey estimates that fewer than 10 percent of professionals in China have what it takes to work for a multinational company.
David Nicklaus of the St. Louis Post-Dispatchreports that global outsourcing actually contributed information technology jobs to the U.S. economy, about 250,000 of them, in 2005. Daniel Drezner, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Chicago, told Nicklaus that outsourcing, like corporate downsizing and Japanese automation in past decades, has become a comprehensive scapegoat for other economic problems.

Myth: Our children are falling way behind

Singapore schoolchildren are No. 1 in global math and science rankings. But Singapore’s minister of education, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, recently told Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria that the rankings aren’t necessarily indicative of future performance. “Yours is a talent meritocracy,” Shanmugaratnam said. “Ours is an exam meritocracy.”
That talent belongs increasingly to American girls as well as boys. So maybe the widely held notion that boys outperform girls in math and science is really a myth, too? Not exactly. But girls have steadily closed the gap in the U.S, and, by the mid-1990s, more girls were already taking high school biology and chemistry classes than boys.

Around the Puck

Seeking TBI therapies

By Delia Croessmann, croessmannd@mst.edu Complications from TBI can be life altering. They include post-traumatic seizures and hydrocephalus, as well as serious cognitive and psychological impairments, and the search for treatments to mitigate these neurodegenerative processes is on.

[Read More...]

Understanding the invisible injury

Students advance traumatic brain injury research By Sarah Potter, sarah.potter@mst.edu “Research is creating new knowledge.”–Neil Armstrong  Research keeps professors on the vanguard of knowledge in their fields and allows students to gain a deeper understanding of their area of study. For students and recent graduates researching traumatic brain injury (TBI) at Missouri S&T, the work […]

[Read More...]

Analyzing small molecules for big results

By Delia Croessmann, croessmannd@mst.edu At only 28 years old, Casey Burton, Chem’13, PhD Chem’17, director of medical research at Phelps Health in Rolla and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, is poised to become a prodigious bioanalytical researcher.

[Read More...]

To prevent and protect

By Peter Ehrhard, ehrhardp@mst.edu Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are an unfortunate but all too common occurrence during military training and deployment. Because mild TBIs often present no obvious signs of head trauma or facial lacerations, they are the most difficult to diagnose at the time of the injury, and patients often perceive the impact as […]

[Read More...]

Q&A

Toughest class … ever Some of your classes may have been a breeze, but others kept you up at all hours studying, and some of you struggled just to pass. As part of his research for the S&T 150th anniversary history book, Larry Gragg , Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked […]

[Read More...]