The Distribution of Scientific Manpower
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As we seek and fail to find convincing reasons why the rate of growth of productive efficiency in the United Kingdom should have lagged behind that of other countries since the war, concern is shifting from whether the resources devoted to economic growth are too small (in terms of investment, R&D, and so on), to whether they are misapplied. This new emphasis emerges clearly in the Brookings study of Britain’s Economic Prospects, and nowhere more clearly than in the chapter by Merton Peck on Science and Technology. Peck’s thesis is the need for a reallocation of technical manpower in the United Kingdom, to be achieved by scaling down ‘basic research’ and the size of the aircraft industry. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the problem of the allocation of technical manpower in the light of Peck’s proposals, and from the standpoint of one who has to say what the government should do.1 By technical manpower I shall mean men and women with the highest technical qualifications (university degrees or their equivalent), known as Qualified Scientists and Engineers (Q.S.E.s). There are many economies, including the United Kingdom, in which the government can influence, at least in part, the supply and distribution of this type of manpower. What I have to say is offered as an exploration of the tricky ground which separates the power of governments to act in this area from their ability to act correctly.
KeywordsPrivate Firm Excess Demand Excess Supply Aircraft Industry Intensive Industry
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