The future of the economy and how it relates to education

Saturday November 5, 2011

(this is a facebook comment I wrote and then decided to save here because I've been thinking about this stuff a bit)

My prognosis: Unemployment will continue to increase, as it has in Europe. Such employment as does exist will continue to change, becoming more about ideas, entertainment, design, and (probably the largest sector) service. This is the natural continuation of the long-term trend of technology reducing the need for large numbers of people in the means of production. Eventually this trend will also reach the economies where the factories are today - think China, Brazil, etc.

The upshot of all this is that we will have to let go of the expectation that everyone gets a job in the traditional sense. I think our goals in education should shift from a focus on "education is good because it will get you a job" toward "education is good because it makes you a better, happier, healthier, more complete person, one who can live a fulfilling life and be a citizen of the world."

In particular, I would like to see a balancing in mathematics instruction between "here is math that lets you engineer a sprocket" and "here is math that improves your overall habits of mind and helps you to reason logically in all areas."

This post was originally hosted elsewhere.