Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Economist Debate Series

The competitiveness of workers in today's rich countries is in permanent decline

Visit The Economist Debate Series. I got an invitation today and this is it:

The Economist’s Oxford style debate on the future of global workforce competitiveness kicked off today, and since education is critical to the preparation of our youth for tomorrow’s workforce, The Economist wanted to give you and readers of IB Economics (and, not only) an early heads up on the start of this new debate as well as highlight some key arguments made about education.

The proposition is: "this house believes that the competitiveness of workers in today's rich countries is in permanent decline." In his opening statement, Bishop asks if rich country workers both low-skilled and white collar should fear competition from “all those billions of hungry, cheap Chinese, Indians, Mexicans and so forth.” What do you think? Should rich nations be scared?

Additionally, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics argues that today’s human capital is increasingly distributed and cites educational stagnation in the West as part of the problem. Kirkegaard argues that Baby-boomers in the US and Germany are not ensuring that the children they leave behind are “on average better educated than themselves,” and that the rapid expansion of educational systems abroad, particularly in Asia are closing the gap between rich country and developing nation workers education levels (complete statement below). Do you agree? Are rich country students in danger of being leapfrogged by students in developing nations?

We think your readers/community would have strong statements to say about these arguments and would want to know about this debate. We’d love it if you could encourage your readership to participate by blogging about your opinions on the matter. You can also post your response to the debate floor. If moderator Matthew Bishop likes your argument, he may highlight it an upcoming statement.

Pro and Con experts, Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Lynda Gratton, professor at London Business School spar off today in opening posts which will be followed by rebuttals (July 11) and closing statements (July 16). A winner will be determined by popular vote and announced on July 18.

Additionally, the following guest participants are scheduled to post their one-time statements:
· July 9 - Debra van Opstal, senior vice president at the Council on Competitiveness
· July 10 - Allan Schweyer, Executive Director & SVP, Research of Human Capital Institute (HCI)
· July 14 - Prof. Richard Freeman, Professor at Harvard University and London School of Economics
· July 15 – Kent Hughes, director, Program on Science, Technology, America and the Global Economy, Woodrow Wilson Center
· July 17 – Dr. Rudolf Thurner, president, European Association for Personnel Management (EAPM)

Where are our debaters? Let's hear from them!

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