Days Black People Not Re-Enslaved By Trump

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Education and the State of The Union

Obama made another one of his eloquent speeches last night. One of the themes was about education and how America is falling behind other nations and how Americans need to look for college educations in order to compete. And how we needed a "Sputnik moment".

Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started to educate their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became the home of the world largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer...We're home to the world's best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than anyplace else on Earth...America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree...

Let's take a look at these statements, particularly in reference to yesterday's post (Sell me what?) Firstly let's look at world history. Historically neither China or India were educational or economic competitors to the US. China was effectively under colonial control by the British and so was India. These countries did not become competitors to the US until their independence. Thus historically the US (and Europe) has not had any competition from "colored folk" for most of it's existence.

The second important thing is that the US military and space programs were directly affected by the importation of Nazi scientists after WW2. Those familiar with the Nazi regime know full well that the Nazis had some serious scientists and had very bright rocket scientists. These persons were allowed to avoid prosecution and were given express entry into the US so that their knowledge could be used. I suppose this fact was somewhat inconvenient for a State of the Union speech.

So that countries are hell bent to educate their populations after being under the heel of exploitative colonialism, which had left the vast majority of the population illiterate, should come as no surprise at all. However; there is a bad side to the mass education of the population.

In China there is a growing number of college grads who are unemployed or employed in jobs they are grossly overqualified for. This of course is what happens when there is a gross mismatch of available jobs and education levels of job seekers. Here's the rub with a highly educated population in a country that has a low wages: they cost corporations less than the ones in the "first world". That is a direct threat to college grads in the US. All manner of "college required" jobs can be done by cheaper labour overseas: accounting, programming, some medical, architecture, etc.

In the 90's corps began to see how they could move low skilled labour out of the US due to the lower costs of labour in those countries as well as a more compliant (read: desperate) government. They soon discovered that this could also be done with people with higher levels of education. It is not an accident that the huge increases in corporate profits have been accompanied by the shrinking of the US workforce which is usually covered up by hailing the " high productivity of the American worker."

Paul Craig Roberts, often seen on the Counterpunch website has repeatedly shown that much of the jobs that have been created even before the crash are those in the service industries and generally pay significantly less than the jobs that have disappeared. In many cases people who have high qualifications simply do not have the employment opportunities that match their skills.

Thus looking at the situation in China, and my discussion of the employment matrix it is clear that attempting to educate the US population into full employment is not going to work. Significant manufacturing must return to the US for this to happen. Exactly how many degreed administrative assistants are we going to have?

Also while technology is a great thing, I am concerned with the increasing "dehumanization" of work. I discussed this back in 2004 using I Robot as an example:

Therefore there still must be some means of making money. As we know, all throughout human history, where there is class there are those who are deprived. Clearly, everyone cannot be an Accountant or a Programmer and clearly even if they could, there would not be enough jobs to go around. So where are these people in this 2035 Chicago? Is there some huge welfare state going on? I'm not sure, but the absence of regular people doing regular things just bothered me. Currently (Aug 2004)...So if it is true that high wage/low education jobs are not being created (or worse yet disappearing) then how does the future presented in I Robot even exist? very few people would be able to afford a robot much less the 1 robot to every 5 humans spoken of in the movie. I know, I know, this is science fiction and none of this is real. But i think that the movie presents a very very real spectacle as to how the elite in the US view the masses, People without "ends" are expendable and replaceable and hopefully we can make them just disappear.

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