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When I was in China, in the early 1980s, shortly after the Cultural Revolution, the brighest students went for Physics and Math., The secondary went to other science and Engineering majors. Not many people went to Medical and Law.
Starting for middle 1980s, the brightest kids in China went to CS and EE, and then other engineerings.
Since I came to the U.S., I heard many times that the brightest American kids went to Medical, Business and Law. I guess the high compensation of those professins was the motivation.
But my question is why they are paid much higher. Engineering takes a lot of brains and hard work. MBA only needs two years training, but how come when I was at Bell Lab, my boss's boss's boss was a young MBA, and My boss's boss, my boss and I all had Ph.D. degrees from the top universities in the U.S.? I just don't get it!!!
(My boss's boss and my boss are all white Americans and extremely smart. So I guess there is no discrimination here.)
Law needs 3 years training, and personally I don't like many of them because many of them are just professional liars. (I have met only one honest lawyer so far.)
In my mind, medical doctors probably deserve what they are making, but their training is not much harder than when I have gone thru for my Ph.D. (2 years master and 4 years Ph.D., and some majors need few years Postdoc experience to land a real job.). Their salary (>200K/Yr) is still much higher than my salary (roughly 100K/yr).
What caused the salary disparity? In any sense, Engineering needs as much intelligenece, training and hard working as, if not more than, other professions, but with much lower salary. Maybe this is the reason that not many merican kids want to go to engineering schools.