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Essay/Term paper: Will the global economy help or hurt the next generation of americans?

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Economics

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Will the Global Economy Help or Hurt The Next Generation of Americans?

Will the global economy help or hurt the next generation of Americans?
This is the question I am going to investigate in this paper. The global economy
is the system pertaining to the production, distribution and consumption of
goods and services around the globe. It is important that we understand the
global economy because it is and will be affecting the way we learn, work and
live. How all of these factors are affected will be discussed in the following
I take the position that the global economy will hurt the next
generation of Americans.
One argument for this position is that our schools are not adequately
preparing out students for the types of new work that will be required in the
next generation. American schools are using teaching techniques that taught
existed in the 1950's. Textbooks date back to the early 1970's. Requirements may
have changed but our reaching techniques have not. Every year, students take the
same courses with the same prerequisite: A good memory. True, they are teaching
classes that are essential to get into a good college but are they teaching the
skills that our future generation will need? Are students going to be able to
problem solve? Are today's students going to be able to access tomorrow's
information? Our schools teach American students to be good at memorization. To
be able to spit out recorded information. "You do have the knowledge but you are
basically robots with skin; machines, tape recorders that teachers use to record
their information. At the end of a chapter, they rewind you and press the 'play'
button to see if you can repeat everything they said."1 Also, our schools are
not stressing the importance of math and science. Because of this fact, foreign
born workers such as engineers are taking over the jobs American workers could
have. Our students need to be truly smart because memorized skills can only go
so far. Grades cannot always determine the real skills of the students. Anybody
can receive a diploma but what do these grades really mean? Not much unless a
student can apply their memorized skills for the new way of work. "Just possibly
we have a surplus of graduates and a scarcity of real skills."2 The improvement
of our educational system, not the number of degrees we hand out, is the only
way the next generation can thrive in the global economy.
An objection to this position is that our school system is preparing our
students in the best way possible. First, we really can't blame the schools for
lack of supplies or updated technology. Quite possibly our teachers are the ones
who are not prepared and we certainly can't expect schools to do everything.
School is simply a basis for learning. "The true inputs to education are
students, hard work, quality teaching and rigorous standards and parental
engagement. When these are missing money and reorganization can't compensate."3
Also grades in some ways do represent how ambitious a student is about school
and whether they get work done on time both of which are qualities of a good
worker. High schools in the United States are better than you think. " In the
most recent international comparison of reading, which was done in 31 nations,
American kids finished second to Finland."4 "We have an evolutionary process
where we are getting better and better..."5
Yet the following argument can reply to the latter objection. Our
schools may be better than we think but are they good enough to prepare our
students for the new way of work? What I mean by this is being able to use
technology, apply real life skills and think on their own. Reading and math
skills may be second out of 31 nations but what you may not know is "23% of
Americans don't finish high school compared to Japans 2%"6 Also, "American
students attend school the least amount of days (180 in fact) compared to other
economically strong countries such as Britain's 192 days, Japan's 243 and
Germany's 290 days."7 So, we have the highest drop out rate and we spend the
least amount of time in school. These numbers could explain why our students are
behind intellectually with other countries. This could mean our economy may
suffer as well. What can we do to improve this though? Already, more colleges
are "lowering admission standards so more kids will attend"8. This means our
students can pick their schools and school will compete for good students. If we
use more technology this will enable students to access information that was not
currently available. Businesses should also be involved in helping our schools
because today's students are tomorrow's workers. They are the future doctors,
lawyers and engineers. "Schools aren't day care centers or churches or scout
troops. Their primary mission isn't to teach our children how to drive a car,
play football, cook meals, avoid pregnancy or prepare them for marriage, their
main job is to teach them academic skills that will enable our kids to earn a
living and contribute to a vital nation."9 A longer school year with more
emphasis put on math and science and an "increase in the intellectual challenge
of courses"10 is the only way America's students will be able to compete and
succeed in the global economy.
A second position as to why the global economy will hurt the next
generation of Americans is due to the arising and already prospering information
revolution. due to the changes in technology, the next generation of Americans,
"the people presently in their teens and 20's, will be the first generation in
America to have a lower standard of living than their parents."11 The facts are
all over, either we keep up with the changing world or get out of the way.
Technology will pass them by. "New technology replaces workers or companies turn
to corporate downsizing to save money"12 "American companies are moving
production overseas using new technology to replace workers"13 The evidence is
all there, every year more than a half a million good jobs are eliminated by the
nation's most prestigious companies. "Workers are going to have to improve their
skills or get new ones altogether so they can stay ahead of the game"14 The gap
between man and machine needs to decrease. "By the year 2010 or 2015, computer
literacy will be no more remarkable than telephone literacy today. Nearly every
skilled job will require it."15 Because so many companies are downsizing and
merging, this will result in a decrease of jobs and an increase in employment.
"The price of beating overseas competition has been bitterly high; wave after
wave of corporate downsizing layoffs, wage increases limited or foregone and the
replacement of full time workers for part time or temporary hired hands."16 Due
top the fact that many people will be out of full time jobs this means more
people will be working two part time or temporary jobs." People holding two or
more jobs constitute 6.1% of the labor force; more than the unemployment
rate."17 Many workers complain this is exhausting. An auto plant worker in
Michigan is being asked to do the work of two people, he says, "If somebody
retires, all they do is take the work and give it to somebody else."18 This is a
similar situation for a worker at a nearby telephone company who says, "I'm
doing the work of three people, by the time I get home all I have time for is a
shower, dinner and a little sleep and then it's time to do it all over again."19
Another change that the information revolution has caused is the growing number
of people working at home. "Home based businesses employ roughly 14 million
people nationwide. Nearly 2/3 of these businesses employed, 5.6 million were
full time and 8.4 million part time."20 But whether you work for a company or
are self employed, part time and temporary workers only draw wages not benefits.
So this in the end, a loss of benefits and overworking will result in a lower
standard of living for Americans which in turn can only hurt the next generation
and the global economy.
Yet an objection to this argument would be that the information
revolution does not play a major role in our global economy. The unemployment
rate is the lowest its been in five years and downsizing "increases productivity
or output per worker hour that has helped make the US number one."21 The new
work changes are creating jobs, not destroying them. "Despite the persistence of
unemployment, the US is still creating about two million jobs per year net and
that puts it well ahead of some of the competitors"22 "President Clinton likes
to note that 2/3 of the nearly forty million Americans with no health care live
in families with full time workers"23 So really full time workers might not be
better off after all. Jobs are growing and this is especially noticeable in
Oakland county in Southeast Michigan. "Last year in 1994, 9,000 jobs were added
and a U-M study predicts 47,000 more jobs will be created next year."24 With all
these new job creations our economy will only grow and succeed into the future.
A reply to this objection though would be that despite all the job
creations, people are still going to be working two or more jobs that have no
benefits. The job creations may sound positive but it won't change the standard
of living that "generation X" is going to face. "Falling wages have put he
traditional American family into play as the one earner middle class family
becomes extinct. With children needing ever more costly education's for ever
longer periods of time, the cost of supporting a family is rising sharply just
as earnings plunge. Mothers are going to have to work longer hours if the family
is going to have it's old standard of living."25 This means that people are
going to have to work twice as hard for the same quality of living. This also
means a constant upgrading of skills necessary for peak job performance.
"Important efforts should be better education and a committed and constant
upgrading of skills. Our future is a more educated one rather than a cheaper one.
Technological revolutions in the past have consistently led to gains in
production, commerce, employment and living standards."26 Yet if workers don't
improve their skills and constantly upgrade them, shrinking the gap between man
and machine, this revolution will be detrimental to the welfare of our workers,
their families and most importantly the global economy.
Despite all the information on how the global economy will hurt the next
generation of Americans, there are also ways in which it will help the next
generation. My objection to my original position; that is the global economy
will hurt the next generation of Americans is that it will instead help them due
to the new ag


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