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A Call For Scientists and Engineers

  • March 3rd, 2007

Our last of four has just left home for her first year at University in Christchurch. (We have lots of conversations about what empty nest parents can get up to….)

Of more concern is the number of our kids and friends’ kids and kids’ friends who are studying art history and law and accounting, and learning to be chefs or film makers. Don’t get me wrong, they are all worthy occupations. But where are the engineers and scientists and plumbers and mechanics, the people who make things and repair the machines that we are now so reliant on? The upside is that it is now more unusual to get bad food in this country than in France. The chef boom is delicious. But head offices and the toughest biotech research and hardest thinking in design and manufacture are heading to China and India, and the US. Our securities and business law (my specialty area) is making it ever more attractive to sell control overseas.Our medical ethics committee blocks yet another experiment because we do not know how it will turn out (isn’t that the whole point of experimenting). We fear the unknown. As aging folk we invest more in history than the future. We are no longer excited by science and engineering. The RMA shows how much we hate change.

The precautionary principle could leave for our kids a future of hewing wood and drawing water for overseas masters.

We’ll cut their hair superbly, and cook and keep accounts for them and sing and dance. We could be the new Philippinos of the Pacific. Our new masters might think we are quaint, but they will not respect us. And ultimately those who can’t do the really tough stuff don’t respect themselves.


  • thehawk
  • March 12th, 2007
  • 9:07 pm

When I put a prospective randomised surgical trial protocol to the Regional Ethics Committee ALL they were interested in was whether we had a consent form in Maori. What a joke. The people on the Committee seemed completely unqualified to judge the trial methodology. Having been pre-warned though, I had the Maori version and proceeded along the path of knowledge.

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