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Graduated Arrogance and Measured Mediocrity

Zombie Barker - Martin Whitmore, flickr creative commons

For a long time being a business major in college was considered to be a low rent degree. It was a major of the snot nosed upper middle class kid who could do nothing else. Too stupid for any of the sciences and to lacking in talent for the arts and too illiterate for english.

Even those who went into the trades were held in higher regard by most. In the last couple of decades this has all changed, as Sam Smith points on in his current essay.

By 2005 these schools graduated 142,000 MBAs in one year.

There are plenty of worthy arguments to be made correlating the rise of business school culture with the decline of our economy and our country. A cursory examination of American business suggests that its major product has become wasted energy. And not just the physical sort Compute all the energy loss created by corporate lawyers, Washington lobbyists, marketing consultants, CEO benefits, advertising agencies, leadership seminars, human resource supervisors, strategic planners and industry conventions and it is amazing that this country has any manufacturing base at all. We have created an economy based not on actually doing anything, but on facilitating, supervising, planning, managing, analyzing, tax advising, marketing, consulting or defending in court what might be done if we had time to do it. The few remaining truly productive companies become immediate targets for another entropic activity, the leveraged buyout and the rise of the killer hedge fund.

With Law degrees being only marginally higher in repute. At least with a law degree you could make some money or even run for congress.

And it was not just business school graduates that were the problem. In 2009, the Washingtonian Magazine estimated there were 80,000 lawyers in Washington.

The law has always been a favored profession for the Congress. Even Thomas Jefferson complained, “If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour? “

But the interesting thing about lawyers in Washington, is that the percent in Congress actually declined in recent years. Using the Washingtonian’s estimates, about a third of the attorneys are in the government bureaucracy and a large part of the other two thirds are paid to influence them.

In short, instead of having lawyers just writing laws, we have them administering government and lobbying those who do.

The “bean counters” began calling the shots long before the Clinton and Reagan regimes. By the late 1950s it was becoming obvious that decisions that should have been made by engineers and scientists were being made by accountants and marketing. Like the Philco Predicta television. A set so horrible that it became hated even by repairmen and was responsible to the eventual demise of the company. Sad really because their color sets – especially those made later on – were very good. But that one set was like an albatross and followed the company to its grave. Or the Ford Edsel and many more similar decisions.

When I first got into Ham Radio the FCC had just switched over from a purely written test to multiple choice. In the purely written test you also had to be able to draw schematics. Here’s an example of the questions.

Describe the difference between class B and class AB biasing of a Push Pull plate modulator in an AM transmitter. Draw an example of a push pull modulator and label the parts and voltages.

What is a Pi matching circuit in an RF power amplifier ? Why would you use a Pi matching circuit rather than a link coupled out put stage in an RF power amplifier ? Draw an example of both.

HAMs had to actually know something in order to pass the exam. So  with the multiple choice test this became less and less so. But with the voltages involved with vacuum tube circuits, their life expectancy was very low. Companies sprung up with “study guides” that had the actual questions and answers to these multiple choice test which they go from those who had just taken it.

Now the actual questions and answers to the test are freely available so all you really need to get a license is a very good memory. No understanding of the subject is required.

I just got back from attending one of the biggest HAM Conventions or Hamfests in this country. Held in Dayton Ohio. Around 25,000 attend it each year from all over the world. A major gathering of nearly all white geek wanna-bees. Now almost completely commercialized. With one group attempting to get as much as they can from another group. Far too many of which are completely clueless as to what they are talking about but good at the bull shit anyway. Here are some photos of the event.

Like the MBAs and lawyers I mentioned above, no real understanding of the situation and believing they can buy into it with enough money. Back in the day they were call “Appliance Operators” and were looked down upon by most other Hams. Most US companies were also run by people who understood the products they were making at this time as well. And these products worked well and put a lot of stuff in small packages.

Now however this country – like The Dayton Hamfest – has become just a collection of phonies, charlatans, fakes and frauds. Whose only interest is getting as much as possible for as little effort. With huge egos and miniscule knowledge and understanding. And what we have now are MBAs running and ruining the country that in another time would have been sent off to electrician’s school.

Some real music.

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