Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Excellent Washington Post Op-ed

E.J. Dionne is right. This is a huge question mark.

"For the past 15 years, progressive free-market politicians have offered an appealing mantra about how to save the middle class: What's needed, they've said, is heavy investment in education and job training to allow people to make the transition from the "old" economy -- those auto jobs -- to the new. "What you earn depends upon what you can learn," President Bill Clinton said over and over.

There's certainly some truth to that still, but in the global economy, competition is fierce even for high-end jobs requiring great skill and education. To think otherwise is to deny the obvious: that the people of India and China, to pick just the two obvious examples, are gifted, energetic, ambitious -- and numerous."

1 comment:

Sheila Tone said...

Man, I'm embarrassed to think about how as a teenager, I'd hear about this stuff and think that that it was no problem -- just the inevitable market forces at work. In fact, I almost sort of thought that these workers were almost, well, getting what they deserved for not being smart and going to college. And I was pretty liberal.

But that's how bad the college indoctrination was at my lower-middle-class high school in the late 1980s. The formula was simple: Work hard, behave well, graduate from any lousy public or private college (preferably after two years of CC), and you'll be successful. Deviate one iota and you're doomed.

Now, the heads of the smart educated people are also on the chopping block. People I respect and admire are in the same position as slackers and screw-ups. I'm more eager to consider ideas that the market can or should be manipulated to prevent this. Although I'm still not clear on how.