Subject: Re: Is mediocrity the norm in computer science ?
From: Erik Naggum <>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2002 23:57:57 GMT
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp
Message-ID: <>

* Donald Fisk
| There's a culture of short-termism, partly caused by investors wanting a
| quick return, but I think it goes deeper that that, and it affects society
| across the board, not just computing.

  I have yet to follow your links, but the short-termism is not created by
  business leaders, but by tax laws.  The greed of "capitalists" is nothing
  compared to the greed of politicians.  This is particularly pronounced in
  Norway, but from what I follow of UK and US news, politicians require a much
  better return on their investment than they allow their businesses and
  people.  E.g., if your investor get 30% annual return on their investment,
  that is pretty damn good, but many countries have 30% corporate tax and then
  tax income at up to 50%.  If a company managed to get twice the value out of
  the cost of its workers, it would probably be considered exploitative.

| It's as if most people have forgotten that there is a future.

  Well, the Y2K scare was definitely our fin-de-siècle and other end-of-the-
  world attitudes, and many people have yet to reacquire their sense of time,
  two and half years after the world failed to implode.  For several years,
  however, there literally _was_ no future and people were actually planning
  for the end of the world.  (What would you do if you had only three months,
  and not just you, but the entire world?  There would be nobody to remember
  what you had done.  Would your sense of responsibility survive this?)

| And you might want to cons the WWW onto your list of non-inventions.  First
| thought of by Vannevar Bush in 1945.  And preceded by INFO, a working
| distributed hypertext system working by the mid-late 1970s on ITS.

  Indeed, the WWW may be the most tragic non-invention of the past 100 years.
  Guide to non-spammers: If you want to send me a business proposal, please be
  specific and do not put "business proposal" in the Subject header.  If it is
  urgent, do not use the word "urgent".  If you need an immediate answer, give
  me a reason, do not shout "for your immediate attention".  Thank you.