I’m driving to Florida for a short vacation – should be in the Sunshine State by the time you read this, which is written early Tuesday and emailed by IPad. Two things happened yesterday:
1. While driving, I listened to an inventor, interviewed on NPR, bemoan the fact that our kids were not getting enough science and engineering in school. A call-in named Mark opined that years ago a guy – he couldn’t remember the name – helped companies overseas with manufacturing processes for autos and seemed to indicate that he didn’t help manufacturers “here” and only helped companies “there.”
From my memory banks, Mark, the “guy” was Dr. Edwards Deming, and he developed new “just-in-time” methods for manufacturing in the 1940s and 1950s, but, although, hat-in-hand, he tried to interest U.S. auto companies in his ideas, no one here bought into his radical suggestions. However, companies like Toyota and Nissan seemed interested. Edwards Deming became a hero to the Japanese manufacturers.
The U.S. inventor being interviewed didn’t seem to be engaged, and he did not respond to thoughts about positive things in the U.S. He was, Spiro Agnew might have said, a nabob of negativism. He did not mention the iPad, or even his own inventions. He came across as a sourpuss. And I wondered – if our education systems are so bad – why do those overseas keep applying to our schools?
2. At a hotel famous for ducks in Little Rock, I watched “Squawk Box,” a morning TV show about the market. An optimistic guy named Warren Buffett was interviewed by Becky Quick and then cross-interviewed by the crew.