The Internet Times Supplement

The Grasshopper and the Ant…

In Business & Finance, Life & Style on December 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

Ant Grasshopper


The BBC has an article re a Pew Research project looking at the the decline in social mobility across the United States as a result of the disappearance of ‘middle class’ clerical and manufacturing job opportunities and how this is affecting education.

There are several factors at work here which this article misses:

1. The incentive / benefit aspect. For many who rose, phoenix-like, from their socioeconomic level through education there was a clear benefit to doing so. The average child / young adult now has many distractions which are readily available to them with little or no effort.

2. The Educators – There has been a significant drop in government level funding across most Western nations. As a result there has been a switch from ‘education for educations sake’ to ‘education for profit’. When you are steered away from discovery “because it is costing too much” to a “let’s do what we can with the money available” route, OR through financial there is a need to churn as many students out as possible, there will be a drop in quality and standards.

3. Expectations and standards – What is apparent is that the OTHER report on the Pew site which highlights: “In 2012, for the first time ever, one-third of the nation’s 25- to 29-year-olds have completed at least a bachelor’s degree.” would appear to prove that expectations and standards are also falling.

4. Challenge / The Joy of Education – The “Millenials” are being molly-coddled for fear of hurting their feelings and ‘sensitivity’ rather than challenged to actually DO something. Their self-righteous indignity will no doubt be echoed in some negative comments to this point but they do need to realise that there is no gain without pain and they need to shape up or ship out rather than using the education system as their chosen route to partying hipsterdom.

There IS a rise in elitism, which is based on relative wealth rather than ability, which is being further entrenched by a switch to education for profit and a ‘dumbing-down’ of academia to make it more accessible to those who can (or are willing to) pay or accumulate large levels of debt in order to achieve a dream. This places any nation at risk in a competitive world market where it is the most determined who will strive to climb to the top of the pile. Economic advancement is not a popularity game or a celebrity-driven X-Factor challenge. A nation’s advancement and success is based on how well their general population is educated.


The mistake being made is viewing a country as a business and ignoring the social effects of a population who are not receiving a good education. What makes civilisations and empires is more than the wealth of a few individuals.


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