A modest question: Should we abolish the PhD degree?

Johan Hjelm johan.hjelm@era-t.ericsson.se
Thu, 30 Aug 2001 13:29:26 +0900


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You know, it seems to me that there is another issue buried here: Does
higher academic education foster creativity, or does that happen better
in companies?

I don't think the answer is simple, though. Even though universites CAN
be wonderfully creative places, oftentimes when you become a graduate
student you are pressed into a routine mental model of the universe that
precludes thinking out of the box. The tendency is that you are not
allowed to show that you can have new ideas before you have demonstrated
that you fit in the old structure, and most people don't afterwards.
Peer pressure, not peer review.

That is not to say that the corporate environment is especially
creative. But the good thing about the dotcom boom was that all of a
sudden, there was funding for crazy ideas. Some worked, some not,
although it is different to tell which since there are so many other
issues obscuring the picture (e.g. was the founder good at getting
funding? Did they get the product to a customer in time for the second
or third round? Etc). But it meant that there was an explosion of new
ways of thinking, especially if you include all the research initiatives
which got funding as well (and I think the dotcom boom started in 1994,
by the way).

Buried under those issues is of course the deeper issue of what is
useful to society and how its resources are directed to the maximum good
(and what that is).

I would like to see a third way. But my employer would like having a
piece of paper showing that I got the degree...

Johan

Grlygrl201@aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 8/29/01 2:56:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
> jbone@jump.net
> writes:
>
>
>> Both of these are over-simplifications, but the question remains:
>> should
>> anyone be
>> able to support themselves indefinitely through publically-funded
>> and purely
>> intellectual creations which remain indirectly- or under- or
>> unexploited /
>> uncommercialized / unvalued (and culturally and definitionally un-
>> or
>> invaluable) in
>> the public marketplace?
>
> is it just my perception, or is this argument really just a variation
> of
> working class resentment of the higher-educated? sounds like it's
> evolving
> into the familiar class conflict theme: tax payers vs public funding.
>
> geege
>
>
>
>
>

--
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
  Johan Hjelm, Senior Specialist
     Ericsson Research Japan

  Read more about my recent book
http://www.wireless-information.net
************************************


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You know, it seems to me that there is another issue buried here: Does
higher academic education foster creativity, or does that happen better
in companies?

I don't think the answer is simple, though. Even though universites CAN be wonderfully creative places, oftentimes when you become a graduate student you are pressed into a routine mental model of the universe that precludes thinking out of the box. The tendency is that you are not allowed to show that you can have new ideas before you have demonstrated that you fit in the old structure, and most people don't afterwards. Peer pressure, not peer review.

That is not to say that the corporate environment is especially creative. But the good thing about the dotcom boom was that all of a sudden, there was funding for crazy ideas. Some worked, some not, although it is different to tell which since there are so many other issues obscuring the picture (e.g. was the founder good at getting funding? Did they get the product to a customer in time for the second or third round? Etc). But it meant that there was an explosion of new ways of thinking, especially if you include all the research initiatives which got funding as well (and I think the dotcom boom started in 1994, by the way).

Buried under those issues is of course the deeper issue of what is useful to society and how its resources are directed to the maximum good (and what that is).

I would like to see a third way. But my employer would like having a piece of paper showing that I got the degree...

Johan

Grlygrl201@aol.com wrote:

In a message dated 8/29/01 2:56:14 AM Eastern Daylight Time, jbone@jump.net
writes:
 
Both of these are over-simplifications, but the question remains:  should
anyone be
able to support themselves indefinitely through publically-funded and purely
intellectual creations which remain indirectly- or under- or unexploited /
uncommercialized / unvalued (and culturally and definitionally un- or
invaluable) in
the public marketplace?

is it just my perception, or is this argument really just a variation of
working class resentment of the higher-educated? sounds like it's evolving
into the familiar class conflict theme: tax payers vs public funding.

geege
 
 
 
 
 

--
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
  Johan Hjelm, Senior Specialist
     Ericsson Research Japan

  Read more about my recent book
http://www.wireless-information.net
************************************
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