I agree with most of what you're saying in here (except that research probably pays higher per capita than production, since the bourgeoisie fat cats make up such a tiny percentage of the total workforce). But, I've become addicted to a research-economy in the game, because it's more useful than a production-only. Furthermore, it provides a second economic option if your exports are not going to be sellable at a decent profit. Overall, I think it's an issue of balance between realism and playability. Besides, the whole economic model falls apart, realism-wise, when you get into the upper inflation tiers.
In real life I'm an accountant and over the past 25 years I've done taxes for people from all walks of life at almost every payscale. Actually I didn't say that research pays better than production, that was the inference I got from reading posts that seem to indicate the game seems to consider research workers as being higher paid than production.
One thing I've seen in real life is that there are plenty of scientists working the production side. The reason is they make more money working for the production corps (big, medium or small) than for research centers or academia.
Your being "addicted" to a research-based economy just doesn't make sense to this old self-employed capitalist pig.
The money is in production, at all levels. Those are high paying jobs, especially compared to the newfangled mallrat economy we seem to be devolving into in real life. A production worker makes a lot more money than a sales associate or burger flipper or academic support worker. A production management type far outclasses a professor in payscale and I know that for a fact. Why do you think the government had to jack up it's payscale so it could compete with the production side for quality workers?
I do seem to see where in the game it seems to make sense that jacking up your tech level to jack up your education to jack up your GDP/c. But that means the game incorrectly assumes that the big money jobs are in academia rather than in production and that just isn't reality. Production makes you big money, academia just makes your head hurt trying to keep abreast of the leatest and greatest in scientific advancement.
Actually I enjoy making my head hurt keeping abreast of the latest in science.