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Why does Education Matter?
After learning about many subjects from youtube and trying to connect the dots on how businesses, governments, international trade & micro industries work — here are my thoughts - Oct 14
I was recently watching the Netflix series — The Wild Babies. With many different animal stories, few things were common and evident —
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Family matters most for the babies — especially the mother taking care of the baby till he/she is ready to survive the world on their own
Once the baby animal matures, they have to survive and mate on its own and there is no family support from that point — though some creatures, hunt and share the food together.
The rules of the world surrounding the baby animal and how to tackle the daily obstacles are being taught to the baby by his/her parents — walking, swimming, flying, hunting, defending, bonding with others, escaping from the hunter and fighting are some of the lessons being taught
In my view, the third point is education — knowing the world around you, the games of the world and its rules, the rules to kill and the rules to defend yourself from being killed — to thrive and reach the top of the world or to slip to the bottom.
Also, in the past few months, I have been trying to understand — how money works — the US treasury bills, the bond market, the Fed, the Bretton Woods Agreement & Nixon Shock, the GFC and its management by the Fed, Hyperinflation in Venezuela and Srilanka, Covid Crisis induced inflation, economic problems in China— I have got to understand that I have barely scratched the surface of the whole idea of money & how money is gambled by the ones with powers — the governments and businesses.
Let’s come back to education — the gradual process of acquiring knowledge as described in one of the definitions here
Back in the 1500s, the word education meant “the raising of children,” but it also meant “the training of animals.” While there are probably a few teachers who feel like animal trainers, education these days has come to mean either “teaching” or “the process of acquiring knowledge.”
Connecting the dots between education, money & wild babies
Education in the modern world has become limited to studying a few subjects in schools, with further studies becoming a master of one or more domains and then leading your whole life by making a living out of your work based on your education.
The above education is however better than the education being provided to the poor (in context of the developing Asian countries like India) — the poor children, if lucky, being provided basic education to read, write and understand a few concepts of the subjects like history, geography, science, maths, languages etc.
The problem with the current education system is that it focuses on making you a skilled employee — which is one of the basic requirements for society and its proper working. The level of your skilled work depends on your highest education — primary school, secondary school, high school, intermediate, bachelor, master, doctorate, post-doctorate etc
Since education does not teach you about important topics like inflation & how it affects your life, political systems & how elections work — municipal, state & central, the rights provided by the constitution and most importantly — the origin of everything(like religion), its relevance in modern times and questioning everything, it becomes very easy for the governments and corporates to extract the maximum from each of us in exchange to very little in return.
Let's try to elaborate on the above with some examples (Indian Urban Context)
Most of us have house helpers for our daily chores — like cooking, maid, driving, cleaner etc — try to check how much in percentage have their salaries increased in the last 5–10 years and then compare it with the increment you have in the same period. Since they do not understand inflation — they would never ask you 5–10% increment on top of the 8% domestic inflation currently.
All the large businesses operate on credit, how many of our house helpers have access to credit from the banks to start something of their own and pay them back later
We are ready to pay hefty premiums just for the value creation but how many of them understand the value creation to sell things at higher prices — try buying the flowers from local shops vs online?
The current businesses are not based on the simple barter system logic where you provide goods and services in return for money. There are so many complex things — like compound interests, foreign investments, currency trading, shares, credit, venture capital and hedge funds. There is no way you can explain the wealth of the top 100 richest people in the world and the value creation they have brought (in terms of goods and services). Try to explain to me the services created by Anant Ambani with which he bought a 630 crore INR villa in Dubai
I could only conclude that education has to help the children figure out all the rules of the games — the geopolitics and the global supply chain, local politics and the business opportunities based on the local produce and skills, and everything about money and health.
Businessmen, governments and others with power know these rules very well and they certainly educate their children just the way Wild Babies are educated.
Disclaimer: This essay is not about capitalism, communism or socialism in any way. I am yet to figure out my opinion as I need to get into more depth about these topics — reading the originals from Karl Marx and Adam Smith and the evolution that has happened with time to the original forms, to further comment on these.