Re: Economist essay contest on 2050

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Mon Jul 31 2000 - 19:29:58 MDT

"Michael S. Lorrey" wrote:
> Adrian Tymes wrote:

[from a future history essay]

> > Although this may seem unfashionable at the midpoint of the 21st
> > century, I assure you that it is a practice that was quite popular up
> > until recently. Indeed, until the end of the 20th century, it was
> > possible for people even in the most technologically advanced nations to
> > learn only a few basic facts about how the world worked, stop learning
> > at around age 18, and live full and productive lives. Only the elite -
> > scientists, engineers, chief politicians and businessmen, and a few
> > others - needed much more information to do their jobs.
> THis is a pretty arrogant statement to make. The only people I know of who get
> by on only a high school education are burger flippers (and treating only formal
> accredited bachelor or higher programs as 'education beyond age 18' is even a
> higher level of arrogance). A larger percent of people WITH four year degrees I
> regard as not only having sub-average intelligence, but pathetically low
> interest in 'how the world works', where I know many less formally educated
> people who are not only well versed, but give a damn. These are postmen,
> mechanics, sales people, etc. I, for example, am a college dropout. Everything I
> know about what I do for a living (computer consulting) I learned outside of ANY
> accredited program. I also happen to read the newspaper every day, front to
> back. I've got a better idea of what is going on in the world and how it works
> than about 90% of the college grads I know (a large percent of whom work in jobs
> that have absolutely nothing to do with what their degree is in, jobs that
> frequently have no degree requirement, like waiting tables.)

Ok...but I think you see the point I was trying to make here (that is,
that 90% don't bother learning things beyond formal education). Would it
work if I replaced "at around age 18" with, say, "by age 25" or "upon
entering the workforce full time"?

> > Even then, some people advocated lifelong learning as a path to a fuller
> > life, but this movement never really caught on until recently.
> On the contrary, lifelong learning is a pretty popular path today. More people
> earn bachelors degrees after age 30 than before it today (similarly for masters
> degrees).

It's *gaining* in popularity, true. But from what I've seen, I wouldn't
call it "popular" among society as a whole just yet.

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