Better education: Is it really an economic cure? | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 7, 2011

Better education: Is it really an economic cure?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 6:52 AM

Here's a counter-intuitive Paul Krugman column. Is the problem really the need to train more people for the presumed greater education demands of the information age? Or is the problem the hollowing-out of the job base, the loss of good manufacturing jobs and the replacement of jobs by computers and robots?

It’s no longer true that having a college degree guarantees that you’ll get a good job, and it’s becoming less true with each passing decade.

So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer — we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.

What we can’t do is get where we need to go just by giving workers college degrees, which may be no more than tickets to jobs that don’t exist or don’t pay middle-class wages.

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