Part of a larger study to ascertain which countries may have a brighter and better future than the US, I found data that allowed me to calculate what percent of students were majoring in engineering or the sciences. The point being of course that "sociology" majors or "journalism" majors don't really advance society or technology at all and are basically hobbies rich, spoiled suburbanite Americans like to major in thinking somehow they'll produce the wealth necessary to support themselves throughout their lives (which they won't).
Alas a good metric to gauge the future productivity of a nation is to measure what percent of the students major in something worthwhile, and thus these statistics from the OECD (2006)
As one would have previously guessed Asian nations score rather high with Korea having over a third of their students majoring in engineering or the sciences. The Scandinavian countries fair rather well, except Iceland which may go a long way in explaining why their country collapsed and others haven't (engineers tend to have enough math skills to know you can't spend more than you earn). Mexico beats out Canada by a wide margin, but Canada is not as bad as the US where only 15% of our students major in something worthwhile.
It's not that difficult to understand that if your country majors in worthless subjects then your future productivity is going to suffer, but the problem you run into is where capitalism has produced so much wealth in the past it affords the masses the LUXURY of majoring in a hobby and not a career.