Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blaming Inequality on Worker Skills is an Old Trick

Lawrence Mishel writes at the Economic Policy Institute of the Overselling of Education as the cause of inequality and the great recession.
Mishel describes how “failing” schools and dumb workers are blamed "for the economic calamity actually caused by a deregulated financial sector following a massive redistribution of income and wealth. This shift was driven by corporate political power that allowed the top 1 percent to capture some 56 percent of all the income growth over the two decades preceding the Great Recession."

"Blaming inequality and joblessness on worker skill deficits is an old alibi
" says Mishel.

Bob Herbert at the NYT describes what is happening to so much of America, even to well-educated workers:
"Look out the window. More and more Americans are being left behind in an economy that is being divided ever more starkly between the haves and the have-nots. Not only are millions of people jobless and millions more underemployed, but more and more of the so-called fringe benefits and public services that help make life livable, or even bearable, in a modern society are being put to the torch.

"Employer-based pensions, paid vacations, health benefits and the like are going the way of phone booths and VCRs

The "Terrible Divide" described by Herbert is not primarily caused by the under-education of workers. Rather, the terrible divide derives directly from corporate greed, kleptocratic government policies, and global capitalism unleashed (e.g., hedge funds).

See The Automatic Earth today for more on this divide and its implications

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