A New Revolution in Human Capital

By February 17, 2008Education and Training

David Brooks considers the costs of failing to develop industrious, innovative, educated citizens and workers and calls for a new human capital revolution. From The New York Times:

Doing that would mean taking on the populists of the left and right, the ones who imagine the problem is globalization and unfair trade when in fact the real problem is that the talents of American workers are not keeping up with technological change.

Doing that would also mean stealing ideas from both the left and right. Liberals have spent more time thinking about human capital than conservatives, who have tended to imagine that if you build a free market, a quality labor force would magically appear.

Doing that would also mean transcending economic policy categories. If there is one thing we have learned over the bitter experience of the past 30 years, it is that per-pupil expenditures and days in the classroom are not sufficient to produce superb information-economy workers. They emerge from intact families, quality neighborhoods and healthy moral cultures.

The particulars are subject to debate, but Brooks makes a powerful case.

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