The life-span of technology is inversely proportional to the number of engineers involved

Y. B. Karasik,
Thought Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

The elderly people claim that previously everything was better. They might be right. At least the following foundation can be put under their claims.

The number of people with higher education is growing from generation to generation. (Not so much as due to the growing demand for highly educated people as rather due to the rising wealth of the population and the falling demand for less educated people. The actual demand for highly educated people is always far behind their availability.)

High unemployment amongst people with university and college degrees is not desirable due to the social ramifications. That is why government and businesses have to accomodate most of them (regardless of the actual demand) to avoid the "undesired effect" (a TRIZ term).

To sustain an ever growing and excessive army of engineers, the technology they produce has to generate ever growing revenue. There are three ways to achieve it:

In many cases, there are natural limits to the expansion of the market. For example, the number of passenger cars cannot be much larger than the number of people. Most people simply do not need more than 1 car per person (not per family, though). Similar limitations exist for the number of fridges, personal computers, phone switches, etc.

That is why, in most cases the size of the market has already reached its natural limits. Hence, to accomodate more university and college dimploma holders, either the price of the technology has to be raised, or its life span (quality) reduced. The former may inadverdently affect the market size (e.g. some customers will stop buying). Thus, the preferable way is to reduce the life span of technology.

That is why it is getting worse all the time. Exactly as the elderly people claim ! Q. E. D.

Ultimately, when the entire adult population consists of university graduates, it will have to produce nothing but junk. It seems to be an inevitable anti-ideal final result (anti-IFR) of the social evolution.

At the very least, the following pattern of technological evolution can be considered to be firmly established: The quality (e.g. the life span) of technology is inversely proportional to the number of engineers involved in its development industry wide (not at a particular company, though).