[Marxism] American Workers: Smarter but Poorer

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Fri Mar 4 18:08:00 MST 2005

"American Workers: Smarter but Poorer": (Despite the neoliberal 
boomlet (the so-called "New Economy") of the 1990s, real hourly 
earnings are still lower than the peak of the mid-1970s. Whose fault 
is that? If you ask technocrats, the culprits are the working class 
themselves -- especially students and teachers -- who have allowed 
educational standards to decline and failed to match employers' 
demands for higher skills: "[t]he fall in real wages of people with 
low skills and widening earning differentials since the 1980s are 
also evidence of upskilling in Canada, the European Union and the 
United States (OECD 1996b)" [Literacy in the Information Age: Final 
Report of the International Adult Literacy Survey, 2000, p. 8]. 
Especially in the United States, alarming soundbites are used to 
create a sense of national crisis of education: "Nearly half of all 
adult Americans cannot read, write, and calculate well enough to 
function fully in today's society, and people in their early 20's 
have poorer literacy skills than did those in a 1985 survey, 
according to a federal study" [Debra Viadero, "Half of Adults Lack 
Skills, Literacy Study Finds," Education Week, September 15, 1993]. 
Is that really true?  Michael J. Handel, a professor of sociology at 
University of Wisconsin, finds no evidence for educational decline 
and statistically significant "upskilling" that are said to explain 
stagnant real wages and widening income inequality.  It's time to 
bury the "skills mismatch" myth.) -- FULL TEXT: 

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