"To top it off, we’ve fallen into a trend of diverting and rewarding the best of our collective I.Q. to people doing financial engineering rather than real engineering. These rocket scientists and engineers were designing complex financial instruments to make money out of money — rather than designing cars, phones, computers, teaching tools, Internet programs and medical equipment that could improve the lives and productivity of millions.
For all these reasons, our present crisis is not just a financial meltdown crying out for a cash injection. We are in much deeper trouble. In fact, we as a country have become General Motors — as a result of our national drift. Look in the mirror: G.M. is us."
Incidentally, a whole lot of smart engineers that we have still left in computer science works on stuff that is very much akin to the financial engineering Friendman is writing about - chasing eyeballs, not users, producing Facebook apps that help people waste time rather than being productive...