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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
Outsourcing starts to make a lot more sense when considered in the context of the results from PISA, a comprehensive exam given to students in 65 countries:
In math, the Shanghai students performed in a class by themselves, outperforming second-place Singapore, which has been seen as an educational superstar in recent years. The average math scores of American students put them below 30 other countries. …
In reading, Shanghai students scored 556, ahead of second-place Korea with 539. The United States scored 500 and came in 17th, putting it on par with students in the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and several other countries.
In science, Shanghai students scored 575. In second place was Finland, where the average score was 554. The United States scored 502 — in 23rd place — with a performance indistinguishable from Poland, Ireland, Norway, France and several other countries. …
“I know skeptics will want to argue with the results, but we consider them to be accurate and reliable, and we have to see them as a challenge to get better,” he added. “The United States came in 23rd or 24th in most subjects. We can quibble, or we can face the brutal truth that we’re being out-educated.”
The United States is losing any competitive edge that it might have had in past generations. We used to boast about having the most intelligent scientists, the most creative engineers, the most inspiring mathematicians. American research and technology was at the cutting edge of international progress for decades – albeit often driven by militaristic goals – and our educational standards represented the pinnacle of global excellence.
These days, we have very little to offer aside from epidemic obesity and ADHD, with a sprinkling of both physical and intellectual sloth. We manufacture nothing aside from soulless, bloodsucking corporations and a financial sector that has spawned perhaps the greediest humans in the history of our species – and that is saying quite a lot. The best minds in our society tend to be drawn towards the occupations which pay the most and, sadly, those professions are the least useful to the nation. Investment bankers, for instance, are undoubtedly highly intelligent people, but their great gifts are squandered in a fictional financial world of paper profits which have tragic real-world consequences for the ordinary masses.
Our schools lie in shambles, which is hardly surprising when we consider that a staggering 58% of the federal budget is devoted to the amassing of ever greater quantities of weapons, while a paltry 7% is allocated to “Education, Training, Employment and Social Services.” In my home state of Maine, the starting wage for a fresh college grad – with perhaps $30,000 in student loans – is a minuscule $24,000 per year, which happens to be only slightly higher than the average wage for someone who has only finished high school. Meanwhile, our utterly worthless – indeed, worse than useless when one considers the detriment caused by their parasitic nature – CEOs and their corporate ilk are stuffing their pockets with millions, as they do literally nothing but fuck the poor.
And today we are finally starting to reap the consequences of what we have sown. People took it for granted for so long that America was innately and irrevocably the world’s greatest in every category which counted, that they forgot to actually work towards making it great. We’ve been able to ignore the reality for a time, because our vast national wealth and previously-deserved reputation for international excellence has enabled us to attract the most formidable minds from nations around the world. But the trend cannot continue. Sooner or later, the intellectual giants from Europe, India, Japan and beyond will no longer be lured by the mythical notion of American supremacy, and will realize that other nations have usurped the thrown. China, as amply demonstrated by the PISA scores and a wealth of other evidence, is perhaps the most obvious heir, but it is certainly not the only contender. Singapore, for instance, is arming its students with laptops and replacing antiquated whiteboards with interactive touchscreens and network based learning.
Things are bad in the United States today, but they only stand to get much, much worse. And as long as we allow our government to waste hundreds of billions each year on military expenditures, while turning a blind eye to the gross misconduct of the financial sector and massive corporate conglomerations, we deserve what we get. Ignorance as an excuse only lasts so long.