Monday, December 7, 2009

A Rationalization for Educational Downsizing

Moskowitz, Ron. 1970. "Professor Sees Peril in Education." San Francisco Chronicle (30 October).

Governor Reagan's aide Roger Freeman, who later served as President Nixon's educational policy advisor, while he was working at the time for California Governor Ronald Reagan's reelection campaign, commented on Reagan's education policy: "We are in danger of producing an educated proletariat. That's dynamite! We have to be selective about who we allow to through higher education. If not, we will have a large number of highly trained and unemployed people."

Jedell, Hugh. 1931. "Warns Germany on Overeducation: Sees Economic Waste." New York Times (1 November): p. 56.

New York Times article from the 1930s captures the sentiment: "The steadily rising tide of engineering students in German universities, with consequent overcrowding in the engineering profession, has moved the General Federation of German, the Association of Industrial Technologists and several other organizations to issue a public warning that a sterile, educated proletariat is being produced without a chance of gainful occupation while millions are wasted on its training."

1 comment:

Martin Langeland said...

The Japanese economic miracle of the sixties was commonly attributed to the hand-in-glove direction of MITI. A contributing factor, I was told at the time, was a surplus of engineers. Rather than being unemployed, they were given 'jobs for life' at various industries who were still in the process of rebuilding following the Great Pacific War (WWII). As new equipment arrived from the US or Europe, a team of engineers descended on the machine to disassemble it. Before it was reassembled each engineer submitted as many changes as they saw possible. The best of these were incorporated during the reassembly. Thus the machine as installed was better than the factory specs. So much so that the original maker lusted to examine the machine for their own improvement.
An educated proletariat might have uses beyond the limited imaginations of such conservatives.