Professors tend to be poor businessmen

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Some of the most crucial uncertainties that bedevil a Systems Analysis come in the realm of technological progress, Techniques of Systems Analysis explains:

It is at least partly because these are so hard to predict that the scholarly type has become useful on the policy level.

We think that, if experienced men are available whose experience has been obtained in competitive situations such that the incompetent are almost automatically eliminated, it is best to rely on their experience rather than on analytical techniques and analytical people. It is generally believed and probably correct that professors tend to be rather poor business men, even when their field is business administration.

However, it is characteristic of the current world that the effective rate of technological progress has been enormously increased. In a real sense, on many of the problems faced by the Department of Defense nobody has relevant practical experience. Furthermore, the need for good advance planning is also more important. Even in small wars, the pace of events may be so fast and the lead-time for development and procurement of forces or even for making operating changes so long, that it is practically impossible to correct mistakes in planning after the war has broken out. This is, of course, even more likely to be true in large wars. In this situation, one must somehow wed whatever experience is available to analysis. This means making scholars out of some of the military and military out of some of the scholars.

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