Education and the Rise of the Global Economy

Education and the Rise of the Global Economy

Education and the Rise of the Global Economy

Education and the Rise of the Global Economy


Joel Spring investigates the role of educational policy in the evolving global economy, and the consequences of school systems around the world adapting to meet the needs of international corporations. The new global model for education addresses problems of technological change, the quick exchange of capital, and free markets; policies to resolve these problems include "lifelong learning," "learning societies," international and national accreditation of work skills; international and national standards and tests; school choice; multiculturalism; and economic nationalism.

The distinctive contribution Spring makes is to offer an original interpretive framework for examining and understanding the interconnections among education, imperialism and colonialism, and the rise of the global economy. He offers a unique comparison of the educational policies of the World Bank, the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation.

Additionally, he provides and weaves together important historical and current information on education in the context of the expansion of international capitalism; much of this information, gathered from many diverse sources, is otherwise not easily available to readers of this book. In the concluding chapters of the volume, Spring presents a thoughtful analysis and a powerful argument emphasizing the importance of human rights education in a global economy.

This volume is a sequel to Spring's earlier book, Education and the Rise of the Corporate State (1972), continuing the work he has been engaged in since the 1970s to describe and analyze the relationship between political, economic, and historical forces and educational policy.


In Education and the Rise of the Corporate State (1972), I described an educational vision shared by a wide range of U.S. citizens with differing political viewpoints. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, conservatives, socialists, Democrats, Republicans, progressives, and unionists were convinced that a corporate model of schooling would provide industrial efficiency and equality of opportunity.. Although there were disputes over certain issues, the commonly held corporate model included (a) administration by trained experts; (b) use of standardized tests to measure student IQ, achievement, and interests; (c) character education; (d) extracurricular activities; (e) junior high school; (f) athletics; and (g) vocational guidance and education to track secondary students according to their future occupations. The goals of the corporate school system were to identify student potential through scientific testing and, after consultation with a vocational guidance counselor, place students in educational programs that would lead to appropriate occupations. The school functioned as a sorting machine to separate and train human resources to meet the demands of the labor market. Character education programs developed cooperation and school spirit in preparation for the cooperation and loyalty required by modern corporations.

The corporate model has evolved into the new global model discussed in this book. This book analyzes changes in education and economics since Education and the Rise of the Corporate State was written. Certain aspects of the corporate model still remain. Testing and human resource development continue to be important. However, the new global model addresses problems of technological change, quick exchange of global capital, and free markets. Rapidly occurring technological changed have left many workers unprepared for the new labor market and, according to some economists, have increased economic inequalities. The easy movement of global capital . . .

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