What explains the growing class divide between the well educated and everybody else? Noted author Brink Lindsey, a senior scholar at the Kauffman Foundation, argues that it's because economic expansion is creating an increasingly complex world in which only a minority with the right knowledge and skills--the right "human capital"--reap the majority of the economic rewards. The complexity of today's economy is not only making these lucky elites richer--it is also making them smarter. As the economy makes ever-greater demands on their minds, the successful are making ever-greater investments in education and other ways of increasing their human capital, expanding their cognitive skills and leading them to still higher levels of success. But unfortunately, even as the rich are securely riding this virtuous cycle, the poor are trapped in a vicious one, as a lack of human capital leads to family breakdown, unemployment, dysfunction, and further erosion of knowledge and skills. In this brief, clear, and forthright eBook original, Lindsey shows how economic growth is creating unprecedented levels of human capital--and suggests how the huge benefits of this development can be spread beyond those who are already enjoying its rewards.
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|Title of Business & Economics eBook: Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter--and More Unequal|
|Release Date: 04-28-2013|
|Publisher: Princeton University Press|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Human Capitalism: How Economic...|
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Human Capitalism: How Economic Growth Has Made Us Smarter--and More Unequal
Chapter OneThe Rise of Complexity
Twenty-first-century America is a mind-boggling place. We've got more than 310 million people, 80 percent of whom are congregated in densely populated urban areas. In the business sector, more than twenty-seven million different firms compete and cooperate to supply a bewildering variety of goods and services—the typical supermarket alone stocks some thirty thousand different items. Another 1.5 million registered nonprofits, along with countless informal groups, collaborate to serve an immense range of perceived community needs. And providing the nation's legal and regulatory framework, as well as a host of other public services, are the vast bureaucracies of the federal government, fifty state governments, and more than eighty-seven thousand local governmental units. This incredibly intricate division of labor, meanwhile, is deeply integrated into a larger global economy that encompasses billions of people.
All of this highly organized, highly specialized activity requires the accumulation and communication of vast amounts of knowledge and know-how. In just the past year, nearly 248,000 new patents were granted in this country, while almost 290,000 new book titles and editions were published. According to a 2003 estimate (which doubtless is already completely obsolete), the total amount of new information stored on paper, film, and magnetic and optical media in the United States comes to two trillion megabytes annually—or the equivalent of nearly fifteen thousand new book collections as big as the Library of Congress. What about flows of information? Every day, Americans send si...