Our Changing World

This graphic, from Boeing’s Current Market Outlook (2009-2028) provides a very useful look at the changes our children are facing. The Asia Pacific region is forecast to take delivery of more airplanes than North America, with Europe close behind. We should substantively consider whether the current systems, curriculum and organizations, largely created in the Frederick Taylor model over 100 years ago, are up to the challenge….
Locally, the Madison School District’s Proposed Strategic Plan will be discussed Monday evening.
Related: China Dominates NSA Coding Contest.

3 thoughts on “Our Changing World”

  1. It is almost laughably meritless to read very much into this model and especially to imply some cause and effect involving curriculum, organizations and Fredrick Taylor. Do you really think GM’s 20-year model predicted its bankruptcy? Companies are always making forward-looking statements, then issuing in fine print the standard caveats warning that “don’t make investments decisions based on our statements, this is not a promise that we’re going to do what we have just stated we’re going to do, ….” We’re less than a year into an economic collapse caused by flagrantly fictitious economic models pushed by Wall St, which was preceded by the IT industry bubble less than 10 years before, which itself was preceded by the Savings & Loan bubble in the 1980’s.
    I find it almost unbelievable that one can mindlessly hawk such predictions without subjecting them to reasonable skepticism like evaluating the underlying assumptions.
    It is the case that some of these numbers are based upon existing orders, which may go out between 5 and 10 years — they know what is in the pipeline now. For example, as of August 2008, Boeing had orders for 3651 planes, about 900 of which were for the new passenger plane — the 787. But, in August 2008 there were canceled orders due to high fuel prices.
    I may be wrong but I find it hard to buy into these numbers, just based on the number of significant digits. Look at the numbers! The single’s digit is zero (0), but the ten’s digit is non-zero (6, 9, 3, 1, 4, 5, 2). That means, Boeing is telling me they know, 20-years hence, the number of new planes they will be delivering to the nearest 10 to each region?! Okay, I know the actual answer is based on some statistical model with some standard statistical assumptions, and — surprise, surprise — an error term, which likely might read something like plus or minus 20%. Boeing, you notice, doesn’t give us the error term.
    Now, look at the significant digits for the percentages graph. They’re claiming accuracy to the nearest percent. Really, quite unreasonable. I could probably swallow percentages for Boeing, such as Asia-Pacific: 26% – 36%, North America, 22% – 32%, Europe, 20%-30%, but nothing more accurate than that.
    What categories of assumptions is Boeing using? Growth: GDP, traffic, cargo, fleet; airplane types: Large, single aisle, multi-aisle, regional. Of course, these values are themselves based on measures or assumptions of market saturation, Boeing’s ability to compete with other manufacturers, price of fuel, political stability, environmental issues (do you think Boeing took into account outlier events, such as deadly pandemics, one or more economic bubbles, climate change causing drought, earthquakes, war, peak oil?). Of course, if outlier events were predictable, they wouldn’t be outliers; so, I’ll answer my own question — NO!
    I did not look too deeply into Boeing’s predictions except to note that Boeing has been executing these models for 45 years. Wouldn’t it be interesting to compare their 45 years of models with reality? In 1965, the world was relatively simple. The U.S. was the only country whose infrastructure had not been destroyed by WWII, Europe was still rebuilding, Germany was still occupied by the U.S and USSR, Japan was just beginning to get the hang of manufacturing (they were following Deming to ensure quality of their electronics, cars — the US was ignoring him), the US still had a manufacturing base, the US government had splurged to build the Interstate Highway system, had splurged to finish the water treatment and sewage systems nationwide, had splurged to offer the GI Bill, and make college affordable, and was splurging to build a space program, and computer industry. So, likely their first 20-year projection was easy
    The next 25 years was less likely to be accurate. Rise of Japan, and Korea, and Europe. The world changed, and the US was no longer the only country standing. Now, India and China are in the picture. I cannot imagine how the model can be predictive given there is little history for this kind of world.

  2. It is much simpler than that, at least for me.
    The forecast simply implies the perception (reality?) of changing economic power, and for readers of this site, the tax base required to support a growing appetite for K-12 spending. If the domestic tax base does not grow (as is happening now), K-12 funding change is inevitable (even if the government continues to borrow and print money in the short term). Maybe that is necessary, perhaps a good and vital thing.
    Another example might be the Chinese market for automobiles, which some forecast to be larger than the US this year. One can argue the good and bad of these things, but this is where we are.

  3. I may be in the minority, but the issue of changing or increasing economic power of the Asia-Pacific area is a non-starter with regard to education — I’m agnostic as to tax base issues, though not the “growing appetite for [K-16] spending”.
    The US is a basket-case for ineffective and wasteful spending, health care and education among many other areas. It’s not about money, it’s about spending on the approaches that don’t and cannot work. The US (not the government per se but the society itself) simply cannot do the right things. It’s not a matter of public sector vs. private sector schools, insurance, health care, banking, etc. I’ve seen plenty of evidence that the private sector is wholly incompetent. It doesn’t matter to me who I pay my money to and whether it’s called a tax (if paid to a government), or a bill (if paid to a company). The issue is, when I pay money, am I getting the appropriate service in return.

Comments are closed.