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Mailbag: A Modern Vocational Curriculum

Few topics seem to arouse the kind of interest, creativity and occasional rancor as our diversions i

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  1. There’s a shortage of plumbers, electricians, HVAC, skilled welders, carpenters, almost all the trades. These jobs will be little affected by AI and can’t be outsourced. By the time robots can climb into attics and do duct work, they’ll kill us all or keep us as pets. We still make a lot in this country and what we’ve made and imported needs to be kept running. Nobody needs to code or anything. Join the local union and apprentice. Here in Florida, we’re a right to work state, so not so much but really now, the “degree” pedigree is just such a false narrative as you Ben point out. There are millions of Jobs That Matter ™ we just need to point our youth that way. And train/retrain all those people who think the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania will get their jobs back to mine coal, or do drudgery in factories where immigrants didn’t steal their jobs or were outsourced, they’ve been automated.

  2. What we need to teach young people, above all, is the profound realism that we’re basically pack animals, who are forced to interact in much larger social units. (ET even uses the word ‘pack!’) The dislocation, disillusionment, and unhappiness that come from having to deal with this great divide is the human condition.

    Unfortunately, we’re biologically wired to really care only about those we’re personally connected to (historically shown to be at most 100 to 150 people, for most of us.) If you want to know why the larger society never seems to work, and why the most enduring and powerful units of organization always seem to be exploitative empires, this is why.

    Education tries to turn the youth into good-boy and good-girl adherents of one religion and another, be they progressivism, conservatism, patriotism, capitalism, socialism, or any of the traditional religions. (And let’s face it, money in any form is arguably among the most successful of religions.) While this may be necessary under the circumstances (religion is what allows larger societies to survive and function, such as it is,) there is no long-term happiness at the end of the road, and an improvement in education typically furthers the power of the elites to exploit and destabilize the rest of society.

    Most importantly, most of life’s key issues spring from this divide. A full human being must be able to face this reality head-on, to see with clear eyes, avoid being exploited, and, most of all, see through the nature of ‘success’ under this system and avoid being lured into pursuing it through exploitation. When enough of us truly understand, who knows, maybe someone will come up with a solution, some day.

    For sure, the field of economics, the monastery with flexible devotional arrangements, will have to be changed!

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