Not so much America in decline, Zakaria suggests, as an America closing itself off from what made it great and failing to recognize the rise of many other nations. America may no longer have the ability to “be the director,” as he says. The close of an era of American exceptionalism?
As a globalist, there may be parts of his thinking and moral depth that don’t coincide with the interests of some parts of our society (perhaps the more militaristic, conservative and Christian conservative, insular and isolationist especially). I’m not persuaded by all of his ideas. However, he is a pragmatic, wide-ranging and independent voice and it’s often good to have him around.
“…educational degrees, whether they confer skills or credentials, are more important to income than IQ when minimum thresholds are met.”
“People with average and below average IQs are getting just as much of a financial return out of their 4-year degree as those above the 85th percentile. This suggests many more people of marginal ability should be seeking a Bachelor’s degree, not less.”
So, Murray’s argment for more vocational and apprenticeship education having greater value than a college degree may not be valid.
However, I still like Murray’s idea that there is a kind of top-heavy credentialization going on; more people are placing more value on a degree (with more externalized incentives?). Moral relativism and excessive equality-seeking have had real consequences.
Yet, many of Murray’s arguments are based on the idea that we’ve gotten away from core principles that could serve us well…and this analysis is partially motivated by libertarian politics and a certain political philosophy.
Are Murray’s ideas deep enough to encompass some of the longer-lasting problems of education?