The Economic Benefits of Math
Posted on May 16, 2006 Comments (3)
The crisis in maths in Australia by J Hyam Rubinstein:
The rapid economic reconstruction of Japan after the war was remarkable. A major feature was adoption of ideas of the great American statistician W. Edwards Deming
on quality control and efficiency of production processes. In the United States Wal-mart, the retail giant, has a superb supply chain system, which is a key part of cost control. In Australia BHP Billiton has estimated that its group of mathematical scientists have saved the company several hundreds of millions of dollars in costs in a single year.
On our Curious Cat Management Improvement blog we post frequently about Deming’s ideas.
Most countries in the world, except for the poorest, give special attention and support to the mathematical sciences. For example, in the US, the National Science Foundation has instituted a number of programs to increase the supply of both mathematicians and statisticians. China and India stand out as emerging powerhouse of mathematical skills and the innovative technologies that will emerge from this investment.
Australia is an exception. We are in the midst of a national review of the mathematical sciences that will be completed in mid-2006. The international reviewers have been travelling across Australia. It is no exaggeration to say that the nation is facing a very serious situation.
As we have stated in previous posts the macro-economic impacts of government policy relating to science and math can be large: