The Uses of Talent

The Uses of Talent

Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 214
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  • Book Info
    The Uses of Talent
    Book Description:

    Looking at the uses and abuses of high-talent manpower in the United States, Dael Wolfle analyzes the ways in which this country produces, distributes, and utilizes its vital human resources. He examines changing trends in academic and professional supply and demand, and advocates long range administrative planning in order to avoid overspecialization and wasteful use of the professional labor force. To this discussion Dr. Wolfle brings twenty-five years' experience as a psychologist and student of the changing needs for and uses of high talent manpower. Basing his analysis on data from the disciplines of sociology, education, psychology, economics, and management he offers his cautionary conclusions to stimulate thought and provoke action.

    Originally published in 1971.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7188-9
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Frank A. Geldard

    Those Familiar with his trenchant editorials inScience—and this group comprises the bulk of the scientific world both here and abroad—know of Dael Wolfle’s concern over our unhappy profligacy with the nation’s human resources and of his continuous effort to discover them and shepherd them into productive channels. Between 1950, the year marking the end of his highly productive tenure of the Executive Secretaryship of the American Psychological Association and his selection as Executive Officer of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1954), he served as Director of the Commission on Human Resources and Advanced Training....

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
    Dael Wolfle
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    When Herodotus visited Egypt, 2400 years ago, he wrote of his surprise at the extent of medical specialization:

    Each physician treateth one part and not more. And everywhere is full of physicians; for some profess themselves physicians of the eyes, and others of the head, and others of the teeth, and others of the parts about the belly, and others of obscure sicknesses.¹

    These few lines tell much about the advanced state of Egyptian civilization. Twenty-four hundred years ago they could not possibly have been written of what is now London, or Paris, or Princeton. Only in reference to advanced...

  6. 1. The Ecology of Specialization
    (pp. 11-37)

    Specialization develops in cities. Adam Smith pointed out long ago that the clumping together of people permitted substantial division of labor and gave rise to occupational and professional specialization. Complex patterns of culture are found in agrarian societies, but the number of different occupational roles is limited. Specialization is a characteristic of complex societies. It grows as, cities grow, and it continues to increase as a society moves along the road of technological advancement and economic development.

    In the United States, differentiation continues. The Bureau of the Census periodically increases the number of categories used in classifying professional and technical...

  7. 2. The Changing Demand for College Graduates
    (pp. 38-71)

    There has been much talk of manpower shortages in the past two decades—shortages of school teachers, faculty members, engineers, doctors, scientists, nurses, social workers, dentists, and other professionals and specialists. The cries of shortage have sometimes been exaggerated, and there has been some confusion between the number, say of nurses, that were needed and the number for which we have been willing to pay. But on the whole, college graduates and recipients of graduate and professional degrees have enjoyed a prolonged sellers’ market. Beginning salaries have gone steadily upward, and many new graduates have had the excitement of being...

  8. 3. The Return on Educational Investments
    (pp. 72-101)

    Colleges and universities now spend over $20 billion a year for educational activities, but that is not the total cost of higher education. Students also have books and supplies to purchase, and the more than half of them who live away from home have living and travel expenses to meet. Moreover, all students forego the money they would be earning if they were not in college. Expenses paid by students, the additional educational expenses paid for by taxes, gifts, or earnings on endowment, plus foregone earnings for the 7.5 million students now in American colleges and universities must total upwards...

  9. 4. Who Goes to College?
    (pp. 102-124)

    However one explains them, the advantages of higher education are substantial, and large numbers of young people seek to gain them, but not all do. What are the differences? Who are the people who go to college and earn degrees? In the main, the answer is: those who want to, plus those whose parents insist.

    Some high school graduates who would like to enter college are prevented from doing so by lack of money, and some are prevented by other reasons, but lack of interest is the principal reason for not going to college. The surest way to find out...

  10. 5. Mobility
    (pp. 125-166)

    Mobility is a characteristic of American society. A man moves from one coast to the other to accept a better position. Education helps the children of artisans and laborers climb social and economic ladders. The Peace Corps and urban improvement programs draw men and women from other jobs and other types of work. Our whole population shows substantial mobility, and most mobile of all are the members of the specialized professions. Movement from one region to another, from one type of work to another, from one employer to another, even from one specialty to another serves the wishes and ambitions...

  11. 6. Problems and Policies for the Future
    (pp. 167-200)

    The United States has developed a flexible system for developing talent; the economy provides an extensive and varied array of professional positions; and reasonably effective means have been developed to adjust the available supply to the changing needs. But the whole system is rightly subject to some serious challenges. Perhaps the two most fundamental questions—questions that imply possibilities of radical social improvement—are these: How much good talent does the system miss? and Toward what ends do we want to direct it?

    Consider first the question of how much talent is lost. There is a sizable group of Americans...

  12. Index
    (pp. 201-204)