Thinking for a Living: Education and the Wealth of Nations

Overview

Why should employers pay American workers much more to work far fewer hours a year than the competition? They won’t—unless Americans know more and can do more than the workers with whom they compete. Thinking for a Living is the first book to address head-on the issue of the appalling mismatch between what our economy needs and what our educational institutions actually provide. A massive imbalance between the resources available for the education of our managerial, technical, and professional workers on the one ...

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Overview

Why should employers pay American workers much more to work far fewer hours a year than the competition? They won’t—unless Americans know more and can do more than the workers with whom they compete. Thinking for a Living is the first book to address head-on the issue of the appalling mismatch between what our economy needs and what our educational institutions actually provide. A massive imbalance between the resources available for the education of our managerial, technical, and professional workers on the one hand, and our line workers on the other, threatens our economic survival, according to Marshall and Tucker. The book provides a blueprint for the radical reconstruction of our schools, following much the same principles that allowed some of America’s leading industrial organizations to rescue themselves from the brink of ruin by greatly raising productivity without increasing costs. But education, the authors point out, is far more than schooling. All the major functions of our society must function as integrated learning systems. This book spells out how families, communities, and, most of all, businesses can contribute to the effectiveness of our most valuable resource: people. The American educational system is designed to meet the manpower needs of a bygone era. If America is to survive in the infinitely more demanding economic environment of the next century, we must maximize the skills of our work force. Our economic policies will fail—and our standard of living will fall—unless they are linked to an aggressive education policy that results in unprecedented levels of performance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A highly educated and trained workforce is the key to economic growth and full employment, assert the authors of this boldly visionary book, an important contribution to the debate over national priorities and the U.S.'s economic competitiveness. They urge the nation's employers to heed the lessons learned by Germany, Japan, Sweden and Singapore--countries that have linked education and economic policy into a single integrated strategy. In those countries, many ``front-line'' workers--those in non-managerial and nontechnical positions--are granted quasi-managerial responsibilities and are rewarded for improving product design, manufacturing quality and overall productivity. In their ``coherent national strategy for human resources development,'' Marshall and Tucker advocate employers' commitment to the continued education of front-line workers, massive investment in teacher salaries, adoption of more stringent educational standards, legalization of tax credits for families with children, an increase in the minimum wage and creation of a national health insurance program modeled on Canada's. Marshall, an economist, was Secretary of Labor under Jimmy Carter; Tucker is president of the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington, D.C., and Rochester, N.Y. Sept.
Library Journal
Marshall, an economist and former secretary of labor, and Tucker, a prominent educator, make a critical examination of the U.S. educational system and find it totally wrong for productivity and competition in today's domestic and world economies. They contrast U.S. programs, which seem intent on mass producing low-skilled workers, with those of Japan, Germany, and other countries, where all prospects are highly educated or trained for maximum advantage in the workplace. Going beyond the schools, the authors hold the breakdown of the family and community responsible for many of the problems. They propose a detailed plan for restructuring our entire society. Although some of their suggestions sound Utopian, their recommendations deserve serious consideration. Recommended for all subject and larger general collections.-- Shirley L. Hopkinson, SLIS, San Jose State Univ., Cal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465085576
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 304
  • Lexile: 1440L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.02 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Ray Marshall, who was Secretary of Labor under President Carter, holds the Audre and Bernard Rappoport Centennial Chair in Economics and Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin. Mark Tucker is President of the National Center on Education and the Economy and Professor Education at the University of Rochester.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction: The American Economy: Point of Decision
Pt. I America Preeminent: Riding the Second Industrial Revolution to Success
1 The Mass-Production Economy: The American Way 3
2 Mass-Producing Education 13
Pt. II The Forces Changing the World Economy: Our Competitors Respond
3 Technology, Competitiveness, and the New International Economy 31
4 Our Competitors Take the Lead: The Path to Human-Resource Capitalism 43
Pt. III The Challenge
5 America on the Precipice: Will We Boil the Frog? 62
6 Facing the Challenge - At Last 76
Pt. IV The New American System: Strategies for High Performance
7 The Demand for Excellence: Can - and Will - Employers and Labor Lead the Way? 91
8 Restructuring the Schools for High Performance: Tough Road to Excellence 109
9 Incentives: The Great Debate 128
10 Building a System Driven by Standards 143
11 The Family 164
12 Rebuilding the Community Fabric 181
13 Technical and Professional Education 201
14 A Labor-Market System for America 216
Pt. V Two Futures: Which Will We Choose?
15 Investing in Our People 239
Notes 257
Index 269
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