Why Johnny Can't...|
The Knowledge Society
1997 August 29|
Knowledge is replacing capital as the most important productive asset. All that machinery out in back is of relatively little value. It will be obsolete in five years. It's what the people know that is what is important to making a business work. Would your business be worse hurt by losing all its people and everything they know or all its capital equipment? If you're McDonalds, then you need the hardware - it's a business based on the assumption that you can always hire someone to flip burgers. But most of the businesses that are creating good, high-paying jobs are largely or totally dependent on what their people know.
Any business worth its salt will hire someone smart with useful skills first and figure out how to use that person later. People with a grasp of useful subjects, who can think, who have imagination, and who can solve problems are in very short supply. We will need steadily more of these people in the years ahead. Where are they going to come from? Certainly not out of today's primary and secondary schools. We need to consider how to train more people to use their heads in complex and useful ways.