A documentary on rocket science features several former Soviet rocket scientists talking about their experience after the Soviet space program was shut down. Rocket scientists, literally, with no place to turn for employment. That's where you start thinking about inefficiencies in usefully allocating talent. Neither the Soviet nor American economic systems seem to have a particularly good answer for that. Though in the US, Wall Street seems to have a capacity for sponging up some of the potential. I don't find that particularly useful.
The Egyptians built pyramids. I wonder if that wasn't in part a large skills-retention and problem-solving exercise.
Mentioned in the longer form of my short toot, as a comment to this thread:
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