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Next entry: In praise of danger
Previous entry: Going through the motions of good manners
Thursday January 10 2008

David Thompson links to an article by Stefan Theil entitled Europe’s Philosophy of Failure about the ideological content of education in ... well, this quote tells you:

Millions of children are being raised on prejudice and disinformation. Educated in schools that teach a skewed ideology, they are exposed to a dogma that runs counter to core beliefs shared by many other Western countries. They study from textbooks filled with a doctrine of dissent, which they learn to recite as they prepare to attend many of the better universities in the world. Extracting these children from the jaws of bias could mean the difference between world prosperity and menacing global rifts. And doing so will not be easy. But not because these children are found in the madrasas of Pakistan or the state-controlled schools of Saudi Arabia. They are not. Rather, they live in two of the world’s great democracies - France and Germany.

That’s how the piece starts.  Here is another interesting paragraph:

Attitudes and mind-sets, it is increasingly being shown, are closely related to a country’s economic performance. Edmund Phelps, a Columbia University economist and Nobel laureate, contends that attitudes toward markets, work, and risk-taking are significantly more powerful in explaining the variation in countries’ actual economic performance than the traditional factors upon which economists focus, including social spending, tax rates, and labor-market regulation. The connection between capitalism and culture, once famously described by Max Weber, also helps explain continental Europe’s poor record in entrepreneurship and innovation. A study by the Massachusetts-based Monitor Group, the Entrepreneurship Benchmarking Index, looks at nine countries and finds a powerful correlation between attitudes about economics and actual corporate performance. The researchers find that attitudes explain 40 percent of the variation in start-up and company growth rates - by far the strongest correlation of any of the 31 indicators they tested. If countries such as France and Germany hope to boost entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic dynamism - as their leaders claim they do - the most effective way to make that happen may be to use education to boost the cultural legitimacy of going into business.

Trouble is, where will they find the teachers to do that, if they’ve all been brainwashed to hate capitalism?

The link between education and economic development is widely accepted, but much depends on what kind of education it is.