With Finance Disgraced, Which Career Will Be King?

In the Depression, smart college students flocked into civil engineering to design the highway, bridge and dam-building projects of those days. In the Sputnik era, students poured into the sciences as America bet on technology to combat the cold war Communist challenge. Yes, the jobs beckoned and the pay was good. But those careers, in their day, had other perks: respect and self-esteem.

Big shifts in the flow of talent can ripple through the nation and the economy for decades with lasting effect. The engineers of the Depression built everything from inter-city roads to the Hoover Dam, while the Sputnik-inspired scientists would go on, often with research funding from the Pentagon, to create the building-block innovations behind modern computing and the Internet.

Today, the financial crisis and the economic downturn are likely to alter drastically the career paths of future years. The contours of the shift are still in flux, in part because there is so much uncertainty about the shape of the economic landscape and the job market ahead.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--

9 comments on “With Finance Disgraced, Which Career Will Be King?

  1. The_Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    My money is on the Priesthood…hey, one can dream.

  2. Jeffersonian says:

    It will be the new center of power, wealth and influence: Politics.

  3. Militaris Artifex says:

    [b]2. Jeffersonian[/b],

    Isn’t that just wonderful news? {insert several winkies here}*

    Let’s see, the last time that happened on such a massive scale† the percentage of U.S. GDP that was consumed by total government spending began its meteoric rise from ~4% to the 40% it was before the bailouts. What a delightful future that portends, eh?

    Blessings and regards,
    Keith Toepfer
    *—Perhaps the site admin will eventually get the smileys and the anchor tags fixed. (Disclaimer: I am not waiting with ‘[i]worms in my mouth[/i]’).
    †—Think Hoover and FDR, the [i]progressives[/i] who stole the appellation [i]liberal[/i] to avoid being rejected by the electorate.

  4. C. Wingate says:

    Selling used cars has been disgraced since, oh, forever, but the world never wants for used car salesmen. People will always be attracted to finance because (to paraphrase Willie Sutton) it’s where the money is.

  5. IchabodKunkleberry says:

    Being an engineer, I am partial to science and technology. Do we
    expect our society or civilization to be more ( or less ) dependent
    on technology in the next 5 years ( or 10 or 20 ) ?

  6. Nikolaus says:

    Music. I’m seriously hoping it is music. I have one child who is a college junior studying composition and my second is seriously consdering the same.

  7. Clueless says:

    Given the global money printing, I say:


    Buy your real estate now, before the Weimar style hyperinflation begins. (Preferably without any loans; just using the capital you were planning to waste on a college music degree). Only farming produces real goods, of real value that folks can really use in the present. The said goods can also be consumed by the family, and thus are less easy to confiscate via either taxation or regulation since, if consumed, they will not be available for either.

    If not Farming, I agree with those who would try to find their way into politics.

    Shari (Just call me Cassandra. I have been consistently correct since before the tech bubble, but nobody listens to me).

  8. Militaris Artifex says:

    [b]5. IchabodKunkleberry[/b],

    In reply to your question, I suspect that the answer would be: Yes, we do expect it to be either more, or less, dependent on technology irrespective of which of the specified time frames we consider. {[i]insert unhelpful grin here[/u]}

    Blessings and regards,
    Keith Toepfer [/i]

  9. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    Oh swami, what is in the future?

    Um, let’s see…”Would you like fries with that?”

    We’ve all got skills and untapped talents just waiting for the correct sequence of events for them to be revealed. I know for a fact that everyone that has made it through a military basic training can operate a floor buffer.