Monday, May 10, 2004

We should not believe what we hear so readily when the media announces that more new jobs were released in the last quarter. As some just pointed out to me... we need to consider what kinds of jobs these are:

I am getting a little weary of all this bad news. Part of me wants to believe that there's hope despite the bleak outlook that many have about the economy. Part of me would like to feel that people in this country can have a little more faith that American innovation can prevail through these hard times. Though there's something that's paining me a little, and that's that we're not as educated as we once were at the beginning of this century... we are technologically skilled, but we don't have an education. No, the prevailing sentiment towards education is that if you can't find a practical use for knowledge, there's no point in learning it.

This sounds like an argument that every middle school student made when they were introduced to Algebra. The problem with this assumption is that at that point you have not experienced any of the situations that might render the knowledge of algebra useful. I think of the countless times I've used proportional equations at work and even in every day life. I wouldn't have been able to make that last recipe for potato pancakes if I couldn't reduce the ingredients using the proper math. I wouldn't have been able to project how much more I'd be paying on my loan if I accepted an ARM at a lower index rate. I could go on and on with the examples.

But what I'm more worried about is that businesses and employers and future employees including those who will apply for management positions. They don't see the need for getting an education where you are learning from traditional texts/and queries, that we find in literature and philosophy, even art. Now, I'm going to start spewing some junk here that sounds like an advertisment for public television, but when read poetry, we listen to music, we look at art we are challenged to think about the possibilities that lie in our imaginations. Often in the business world, assume that imagination and creativity are things only for people who use a pen, typwriter, paintbrush, or clay. We forget that some of the most innovative solutions come from the metaphors and comparisons we make or even from simply asking what would happen if? And if we are over-worked and only focused on finding solutions to bring about efficiency and productivity we close our minds to other avenues and possibilities.

Part of me which sees the evidence of lack of training and preparation of our supposedly educated class realizes that we're really poorly prepared in dealing with the extreme change that lies a head. Though I don't consider myself much of a scholar, I was raised to love and respect the past as it is recorded in history. And even as I was educated to be wary of the accuracy of recorded history, I was brought up to understand that we can better understand where we stand today by looking at the experiences of those before us.

In my historical eye, I turn to the pages of the Depression of the 1920's in North America. Prior to time America experienced some post-war prosperity and the world was just recovering from the Influenza Pandemic in which 20-40 million people had died from the disease. When the depression rolled around, many of the people who would have been involved in business ventures prior to the Crash became teachers, some became involved in the government reform that stemmed from the New Deal. I'm not saying that this is what lies ahead. Obviously we can only look back and the past and not re-create it.


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