Arthur C. Clarke believed America's smartest people were wasting their time on banking instead of the space program

Illustration for article titled Arthur C. Clarke believed Americas smartest people were wasting their time on banking instead of the space program

There's a fascinating profile of Arthur C. Clarke over at the Sri Lanka Guardian, a newspaper in the land where Clarke spent the second half of his life. There are tons of insights into Clarke's life, writing and technological foresight.


But the most interesting bit might be this section, about Clarke's belief that American capitalism was diverting too much talent into useless occupations, instead of into the work of colonizing other planets:

While researching for this article I came across a searing indictment by Clarke on the American capitalist system. After observing that the structure of American society may be unfitted for the effort that the conquest of space demands he continued, "No nation can afford to divert its ablest men into essentially non-creative and occasionally parasitic occupations such as law, insurance and banking". He also referred to a photograph in Life Magazine showing 7,000 engineers massed behind a new model car they had produced as ‘a horrifying social document'. He was appalled by the squandering of technical manpower it represented.


One wonders what Clarke would have thought of today's struggling space program. [Sri Lanka Guardian]

Update: Josh "Moff" Wimmer wrote a great comment in response to this comment, which he was unable to post. You can read it here.

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Hmm. Interestingly, the last couple of decades seem to have proven Mr. Clarke completely wrong on that point; the people that have been going into and dominating banking are actually some of our most successful *idiots.*