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I reserve the right to be wrong...

Engineering is the UK's deliverance, says James Dyson of fabulous vacuum-cleaner fame. While I would agree with the broad brush-strokes of his argument that the UK education system produces too few engineers, I cannot subscribe to a world-view like his that accepts the present-day production-line model of education.

Dyson sees his company's problem - a paucity of engineers - and ascribes national calamity or salvation to the next few years' engineering graduation rates. More will lead to glory, less or the same number to ruin. I have to take issue here.

First of all, the UK as a whole is not an economic actor in its own right. Hell, the nation doesn't even exist except on paper and in people's minds. It's a load of people with more power than sense who shape policies that we all have to live in accordance with, lest we incur the wrath of officialdom.

Secondly, the government decides educational priorities and ultimately shapes the university playing field that college-leavers (high-school to any Americans reading) must navigate. So I don't think blaming poor national priorities is really terribly helpful. They are national priorities, and so by definition do not fit the real lives, temperament, and desires of actual young people.

And finally, we have to recognise that Dyson humself is a businessman, not an economist. Admittedly simply being an economist is not the answer to understanding what's right and wrong with the UK's education sector, but a firm grounding in the methodological individualism, the catallactics, and praxeology of the Austrian School offers the intellectual tools to see all statism for what it really is; aggression.

Yes, the UK education, healthcare and welfare industries are great big aggressors against persons and property of the people of these Isles. Once you get to grips with that, the final solution to the engineer problem becomes clear. First, admit that there is no engineer problem.

The problem is simply that education is cut off from the warp and weft of supply and demand active in most of the sectors that graduates would then go to work in. Then it's obvious that merely ending state involvement in education will solve the problems of education's disconnect from the job market.

I still reserve the right to be wrong...

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