Educational meritocracy and East Asia’s development miracle
Only a few countries made the leap from developing to advanced industrial nations in the 20th century. Among the fortunate five, four are from East Asia: Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Their politics and economic policies have varied widely over the decades, but at least one common denominator stands out: a rigorous early selection process for their political and business elites based on academic achievement.
Vocational lessons from Germany and France
Germany is praised as a model of vocational training, with youth unemployment of just over 6 percent. France, where 22 percent of young people don’t have jobs, has long known that its own vocational education system needs fixing. A comparison of how these two great European economies prepare pupils to become future employees may provide a useful guide for other countries.
Opinion: No winners in Swedish elections
While the Sweden Democrats did not win as much support as they had hoped during Sweden’s recent elections, their success at the polls was enough to ensure a major seat at the table in coalition talks. Rather than a sign of right-wing fervor, the growing support for the party shows that many Swedes are simply concerned about the future of their country. Sweden has serious social, structural and fiscal problems that cannot be waved away by blaming populism.
Low productivity puts Western economies at a crossroads
Productivity is the key to economic success and the main determinant of future growth. In Europe and North America, however, this economic driver has been weakening for decades, despite scientific and technological progress. Unless Western countries want to take a back seat to rising Asian economies, they must look hard at their educational, social welfare and regulatory systems.
Opinion: The spirit of ’68 and its legacy
The street revolts of 1968 targeted authority and promised liberation from the traditional social order. What they brought was an age of unbridled consumerism. In today’s infantilized societies, perhaps the only way to avoid a dystopian, technocratic version of “bread and games” is for the social pendulum to swing back toward personal responsibility – assuming anyone is still interested in such old-fashioned values.
In Mexico, disappointment with Pena Nieto fuels a desire for change
Mexicans seem set to vote for change in their country’s July presidential election, with Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador far ahead in the polls. The ruling party’s candidate is a distant third, and that reflects widespread disappointment in the current administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto. The government has notched up several successes in its reforms, but positive change is coming slowly, while a rise in violence and corruption have angered ordinary citizens.
GIS Dossier: How demography shapes geopolitics
Though demographics has always had an important effect on geopolitics, big changes in population structure have become more frequent and had a wider impact as the world has become more globalized. In East Asia, populations are aging, while in Africa they are growing younger. Huge waves of migration are causing political upheaval. In this edition of the GIS Dossier, we review our experts’ analysis of demographic trends across the globe and their predictions for how they could shift geopolitical tides.
How technology is shaping education in Latin America
Latin America’s education systems are notorious for their resistance to reform. But despite the bureaucracy and the unions, technology is driving huge changes that are raising quality, lowering prices and increasing access to education across the region. Computers and the internet will not solve all of Latin America’s education problems, but they will permanently change the sector for the better.
Will education let Africa reap its demographic dividend?
With nearly 40 percent of its population under the age of 18, Africa is the youngest continent in the world. This expanding work-age population should bring higher productivity, increased consumption and faster growth. But turning this workforce into an economic asset will require ending the mismatch between educational outcomes and market needs.
Outlook improves for Latin American economies
The economic news coming out of Latin America is finally somewhat positive. Stagnation seems to be turning into growth. However, most of this is due to a recovery in commodity prices. Underlying structural problems, especially inequality, persist. Sustainable economic growth in the coming years will require smart domestic policy choices and lowering barriers to intra-regional trade.