Thursday, March 20, 2008

Better Education and the Flattening World

Hundreds of years ago education was scarce, and the best education was an apprenticeship. As the opportunity to become educated has become more available it has also become more necessary. For decades now a high school diploma has been required for anything career beyond manual labor.

We are now entering an era where a University degree is becoming the new high school diploma. In other words, if you don't get a University degree then there's a good chance you'll end up doing work that is not personally fulfilling. Fulfilling jobs that used to be attainable with a high school degree are now being digitized, automated, or outsourced. And to get a job on the "cutting edge" will likely require a Graduate degree.

The expectation that people educate themselves is not a bad thing. Education should be a lifetime pursuit for all people. The problems that arise with requiring more education deal with the opportunity to attain such education. This is a huge problem in the U.S., where higher education is not paid for by the government and most Universities put their students so far into debt that their graduates jump at the first job offered them instead of the one they really want or deserve. There are even more who are unable to amass the debt education imposes and are therefore unable to even qualify for those jobs that they are ultimately capable of doing.

As the world flattens we should be more aware of those around us. Instead we seem to be distancing ourselves from anyone who is not like us with respect to education and social status. We need to recognize the fundamental social changes imposed by a flattening world and adjust accordingly to prevent the elimination of the middle class and revert to the Dark Age caste system of educated nobility and the ignorant masses.

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