Thursday, March 30, 2006


I got an interesting question via email yesterday and wanted to try and answer it here.
I'm a 28 year-old grad student in Chicago. I'm at Northwestern University's Public Policy program (still living at home, naturally). I'm also a Legislative Aide for the Illinois House of Representatives. I was curious as to where you see the whole Generation Debt scenario headed in the long-term. It goes without saying that this generation may very well end on the losing end of history as we shoulder the Boomer's retirement costs and are out-educated by India and China. How do you see the prevailing politics of the under-30s turning out? Do you think there will be a rebellion against a welfare state that's able look after their parents' generation only at an astronomical cost to themselves? You mentioned "a new generation of labour organisers and advocates" coming up. Who are they?


Anonymous said...

It bothers me that it seems to now be taken as a given that we are being "outeducated" by China and India when nothing could be further from the truth. First off, the numbers of engineers coming out of both those countries is inflated. They include people we would never classify as engineers here. Secondly, the question isn't quantify of graduates (in any field), it's quality and we are still doing a much better job of that than both countries. Thirdly, there are still massive swaths of people in both countries who are getting almost no education at all. I do not know the exact numbers, but I would guess that at least half the people in China quit school before 6th grade.

China Law

Anya said...

This is the OECD publication
"Education at a Glance 2005",2340,en_2649_34515_35289570_1_1_1_1,00.html
points out, America is being "out-educated" by just 6 countries, notably Canada, Japan and Korea.
However these guys (who Tom Friedman quoted in his last column) seem pretty scared of China&India's systems anyway.

avolokitisvara said...

I dont think it matters who is 'outeducating' you. I think it matters how much of the populace is english speaking and what would be considered a decent wage and lifestyle there. Now knowing this, we need to ask ourselves, can we compete with that? And that is a thing to fear when you have 3rd World countries making strides toward the 2nd and 1st World and a 1,000,000,000+ persons.