The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 22, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta
January 22, 1974 THE LITHMIDOI HERALD -S The manpower principle of education By Howard R. Bowen, reproduced from University Affairs The following article it aa abridged verstoa of a talk given at the 24th annual conference of the Association of Graduate Schools la the Association of American Universities. Howard R. Bowen, (then) chaacetlor, Claremont Colleges, is the author of many studies and ar- ticles on the financing of higher education. A nation's system of higher education can be managed ac- cording to two basic prin- ciples. One is the manpower principle where the objective is to produce the right numbers of persons for various vocations and professions. The other is the free-choice principle where the objective is to supply education in response to the choices of students. The nations of the world differ in their relative emphasis on the two principles. In the United States today the free-choice principle is un- der attack and increasing attention is being given to the manpower principle. American higher education is being widely criticized because it is alleged to be producing too many of certain kinds of manpower, especially engineers, PhD's, etc., or because it is simply producing too many persons with higher education. It is often asserted that the labor market cannot absorb the numbers being educated in various fields, or in all fields, and that the U.S. should move away from the free-choice principle toward the manpower principle that higher education should be rationed according to man- power requirements. Essentially, the manpower approach is based on the following ideas: that as our economy evolves it will need, or demand, certain inven- tories of trained manpower at successive future dates; that these needs can be predicted in some detail; and that education at all levels should be geared to meeting these needs. The evolution of technology and economic organization is thought of as a predestined process determin- ing future employment oppor- tunities. People, and therefore the educational system, should adjust to this evolutionary process. Prom this line of thought it is only a hop-skip-and-jump to centrally planned education designed to supply the "right" quantities of each type of manpower. And it is only too easy to declare that education especially higher education is being overdone and that expenditures for higher education should be reduced or that subsidies should be eliminated and the costs shifted to students through a system of high tuitions and loans. This line of thought has some truth in it. Obviously, some degree of balance in dis- tribution of people among vocations and professions is desirable. Nevertheless, I believe these ideas are riddled with fallacies and misconcep- tions. MISCONCEPTION 1 The first misconception is that the economy requires a more or less fixed inventory of occupational skills at each stage in its evolution. On the contrary, the economy is highly flexible in its ability to adapt to different mixes of skills. If it lacks certain need- ed skills, it can train people often quickly to do the necessary jobs or it can invent machines to substitute for people. In some cases, if peo- ple cannot be found to per- form certain kinds of work, for example the work of ,domestic servants, the economy can learn to do without and invent washing machines and packaged TV dinners as substitutes. It is true that the way we use different skills and the way we compensate them will depend on relative supplies. If certain skills are scarce, for example, physicians' ser- vices, we economize on them and we reward the owners of such skills handsomely. If cer- tain skills are abundant, we find new and less urgent uses for them and the rewards are reduced. For example, if we should train many more physicians in the next decade, we would expect some physicians to be doing different and less urgent kinds of work than they are now doing, and all physicians would be earning less money. One of the purposes of train- ing more of them would be to reduce the cost of health care. But they would not be un- employed. That the skill requirements of the economy are not fixed and predetermined is demonstrated by the amazing speed with which we can mobilize for war and reconvert to peace con- ditions that provide quite different lists of jobs. MISCONCEPTION 2 The second misconception is that we can predict the character of the economy and its skill requirements for periods long enough to be per- tinent to educational planning. Education has a time perspec- tive of forty to sixty years. Despite the current fad of futurism, to try to estimate the detailed specifications of the economy over several decades is clearly beyond our reach. Our future skill re- quirements are quite indefinite. They depend on whether we are at war or peace; whether or not we are exploring space and the oceans and the interior of the earth; whether we are concentrating on domestic problems such as the en- vironment, the city, and early childhood education; whether we decide to emphasize private consumption of material goods or decide to emphasize personal services; whether we decide to devote our leisure to contemplative and artistic pursuits rather than conventional recreation and entertainment; whether we change our methods of production to reduce emphasis on assembly lines and repetitive operations and bring more creativity and meaning into work. The man- power requirements depend on what it is we want to do. Indeed, what we want to do or can do will be affected by the kind of manpower we have, by the way they have been educated, by the values they cherish, by the tasks they think worth accomplishing. The adjustment between what people want to do and the kinds of people the economy can employ is a two-way ad- justment. Young people and their educational institutions are Hot called upon to do all the adjusting. Indeed, they are among the most influential groups in determining what it is we want to do or ought to do. Education is an active generator of values, not mere- ly a passive adjuster to them. MISCONCEPTION 3 A third widespread mis- conception is that an ex- panding technology will lead to increasing unemployment and that eventually only a fraction of the labor force can be fully employed. This idea has persisted for at least two centuries. Economists since the time of Adam Smith have been busy dispelling it. Only a few years ago, I was chairman of a federal com- mission whose main purpose was to determine whether the unemployment in the United States, which had exceeded seven per cent of the labor force in the late 1950s and ear- ly 1960s, was due to the cumulative effect of technological change. The commission, consisting of well-known economists, businessmen, and labor leaders, unanimously rejected this idea. Their conclusion (with some qualifications) was that the unemployment was due to inadequate fiscal and labor-market policy and could be corrected. One of the ironies in the life of the commission was that the unemployment problem of the early 1960s had largely vanished before the group could'finish its work. Today, the unemployment we are ex- periencing again gives rise to theories about technological change. These theories are as dubious as ever. The evidence is quite clear that there is an enormous amount of work to do in our society, and that we lack suf- ficient manpower to get it all done. Moreover, as technology ad- vances and fewer people are needed to produce our food, clothing, automobiles, and other physical things, we turn our attention to personal ser- vices. There is virtually no limit to the number of persons who could be usefully employed in the service in- dustries The ideas that we need to prepare for increased leisure, that higher education is need- WHEN IS MAX GOING TO HAVE A BABY? The vet announces that Max, the cat, really is a Maxine and that soon the patter of little paws will be' heard around your house. When? Look in The World Almanac! It tells you the gestation period for a cat is 63 days. The 1974 World Almanac tells you many other useful facts about ani- mals, as well as about history, geography, space, government, sports, per- sonalities, the world a million facts on hundreds of subjects packed into larger pages with easier-to-read type. Also contains full-color indexed maps and flags of the world. Every home, office and classroom should have the completely revised and up-to-date 1974 edition of The World Almanac and Book of Facts. Want to know something? Read TheWorid Almanac. Clip and mail this handy order form for for your copy of The World Almanac Please mail-------- copies of The World Almanac I am enclosing 2 25 plus 35c for handling and mailing charges dor each copy NAME CITY STATE ZIP Now on sale af bookstores, newsstands, supermarkets, drug stores and our public service counter. Use coupon and add 35 cents pos- tage and handling to order by mail. If you prefer to pick up your copy The World Almanac is availab'e at The Lethbridge Herald Business Office for 2.25 per copy. Mail to The Herald. P.O. Box 670, Lethbridge. The Lethbridge Herald South" ed to keep people busy who would otherwise have nothing to do, that we have a surplus of skills all these ideas are patently false. Admittedly the technical and political problems of maintaining full employment while restraining inflation are extraordinarily difficult, especially at a time when exceptional numbers of young people are entering the labor force. But the problem is not that of a shortage of work to be done. MISCONCEPTION 4 A fourth misconception is that technological change is rapidly accelerating, and that whereas it may not have led to unemployment in the past, it is bound to do so in the future. It is very hard to prove whether the rate of technological advance is accelerating or slowing down, and perhaps I am not justified in calling the acceleration theory a mis-conception. However, I believe reflection on the matter will suggest that technological change is slowing down, not speeding up. Our new technology is technically marvelous but on the whole is mainly concerned with details, refinements, and gadgetry. Indeed, change has been largely institutionalized and takes the form of an endless and predictable succession of new models and new gadgets. There is one im- portant exception. In recent' decades great and fundamen- tal changes (of doubtful value) have occurred in the technology of war. But on the whole it is by no means self- evident that we live in a period of more rapid technological advancement than our 19th-century forefathers. Invention, research, and development are subject to diminishing returns as much as any other productive activity. MISCONCEPTION 5 A fifth misconception is that people in the foreseeable future will enjoy vast amounts of leisure and that education should be directed toward leisure rather than labor. It is true that we have the power, if we wish, to give up some non- essential production in favor .of greater leisure. It is also true that many people, es- pecially the young, are ques- tioning material values es- pecially as expressed in growth of GNP. A few are deliberately choosing simpler lives less cluttered with material possessions. These same people, however, are ad- vocating the improvement of our cities, the cleaning up of our environment, the enrich- ment of our culture, the im- provement of our health ser- vices, the humanization of work, etc. It is far from cer- tain that the new an- timaterialism even if it gains strength will result in less work and more leisure. It is more likely to result in a redirection of our economy toward different goals with no diminution of the amount of work to be done and with a sharp increase in the amount of professional services needed. MISCONCEPTION 6 A sixth misconception is that unemployment is widespread among educated people. It is true that there has been unemployment among aero-space engineers and some difficulty moving recent graduates into employment. This unemploy- ment has been due primarily to sudden shifts in public budgets, to a pause in general economic growth, and to the exceptional number of young people entering the labor force, not to a surplus of educated people or to a lack of useful work for them to do. Indeed, unemployment rates among the uneducated are far greater than those among the educated. MISCONCEPTION 7 Still another misconception is that the market for educated workers should be conceived solely as a national market. Even if the United States became saturated with educated talent, the world as a whole would still be desperately short of engineers, physicians, businessmen, economists, teachers, agronomists, etc. One of the most parochial features of current practice is to tie education, not even to the national labor market, but to the labor market of a single state or even a single locality. Such a policy is obviously restrictive, in view of the geographic and occupational mobility of the American peo- ple and the change over time in the character of local employment. (to be continued) Edmonton women's magazine By Andy Ogle, Herald staff writer A new Canadian magazine for women made its appearance in Edmonton over the Christ- mas holidays. Describing itself as "by women and for women, Canadian the monthly periodical called "Branching Out" carefully disassociates itself from the extreme end of radical feminism. Rather it addresses itself to what it calls a maturing of the women's liberation movement. Says staff editorialist Susan McMaster in the magazine's opening editorial: "We have restricted the production (although not the purchase) of "Branching Out" to women because we feel there is a female point of view towards society and the arts which has not been sufficiently explored by either male- run general interest magazines or traditional women's magazines. "There are certainly many men who have sympathy for our point of view: we are not rejecting their ideas, support or suggestions. However, we feel it is important for us to dis- cover, for ourselves, what it means to be a woman in Canada today." The magazine will not deal only with "female" or "Canadian" topics there may be such articles on traditional women's problems like how to get a husband, or on the issues of female liberation and nationalism, the editorial adds. But the focus of the magazine will be upon the work that women in Canada are doing today. The magazine's premiere issue reflects this policy, containing a good deal of artwork, photography, poetry and fiction as well as ar- ticles on contemporary topics. Contributors to the first issue came from grandmothers, housewives, and professionals. There's some Margaret Atwood poetry, a photo-essay interview with an Edmonton skid-road second-hand store proprietor and some of his visitors, an interview by The Ed- monton Journal's best columnist, June Shep- pard, with Canadian writer Margaret Laurence; and an opinion piece challenging some of the precepts of Gloria Steinem's identification of sexism with racism. While the quality of the effort varies from piece to piece, the whole is a good opening demonstration of the magazine's declared intention of: "providing a forum for the dis- cussion of subjects relevant to Canadian women, whether these subjects are as general as current trends in English Literature or as specific as the effect of cer- tain Canadian divorce laws on women." Branching Out sells for an issue or a year's subscription can be obtained from "Branching 1144377th Ave., Edmonton, Alberta T6G OL9. What's the rush? By Chris Stewart, Herald staff writer It's possible we're the last family in town with our Christmas decorations still up. Some took them down on Boxing Day, others waited 'till Twelfth Night and the Swedes until St. Knut's Day, January 13th, but it's likely ours will be glittering come Valentine's day. Our aversion to throwing out the Yule tree stems from away back when our children were small when their exuberance in preparing for Christmas was matched only by their reluctance to dismantle the decorations. It would go on and on, until in desperation (sometime toward the end of February) I would order a clean-up. The wreaths and tinsel and the wilting tree would finally have to go until next November when they would re-emerge as beautiful as ever and their sub- sequent departure would be equally as pain- ful. This year I decided it would be different a mass-exit early in January so I an- nounced. But things haven't changed here. The manger scene still graces the piano, the giant stocking fronts the fireplace and the festooned tree stands smiling in the corner. Part with them? No sir! Not until, in an effort to save face, we finally ease the decorations into containers in time to display our annual Easter lily. Crazy? I'm not sure, especially since I was confronted in a downtown variety store with a counter full of valentines the first week of January. "Why the I wondered. The carols had barely been silenced when here I was faced with cupid steamrolling February 14th right at me before we've hardly wish- ed each other a Happy New Year, so to speak. "Our latest spring styles will be in by the middle of announced an obliging clerk observing me browse through the marked-down winter coats, to which I wanted to question, "Will the bathing suits be in before I remembered my disap- pointment last August, when I learned the summer dresses were sold out and the winter styles already in Even before I'd had my vacation! The trend setters are going too far. We're shopping for spring styles in the depth of winter, and purchasing fur-trimmed coats prior to Labor Day. The pre-Christmas hysteria engulfs us before we've distributed our Halloween handouts then mounts steadily into a two-month crescendo only to fall flat on its face on Boxing Day almost before we've even digested our Christmas dinners. Observe the expression of post-Christmas shoppers clambering for marked-down bargains and you'll ask yourself where the merry season's gone. The meaning of Christ- mas' What was it anyway? Is it any wonder some families choose to celebrate Christmas at times other than December 25th in order to avoid the trap- pings? They want their children to learn its meaning minus Frosty and Santa and the tinkle of jingle bells. Late in disrobing my tree this year? Yes, perhaps I am. But what's the rush to put Christmas away? Perhaps in January I've only begun to realize what Christmas and the birth of Christ was all about. Inferiority view worthless Reprinted from the Wall Street Journal The latest furor in the academic world concerns William Shockley and his contention that blacks are genetically inferior in terms of intelligence. While we of course unders- tand why this assertion outrages so many people both black and white, there is also an important sense in which the controversy is an empty one. The truth or falsity of Mr. Shockley's view should have no bearing whatever on law, ethics or public policy. The chief importance of the Shockley controversy, indeed, has nothing to do with its substance. Its importance, rather, is as a test of how far freedom of speech on university campuses has recovered from the turmoil of the 1960s. In that decade force and threats were used to anathematize unpopular views on campuses, supposedly citadels of free in- quiry. While his views are extreme, Mr. Shockley is a serious man, the winner of a Nobel Prize in physics. Whether he can be heard is a test of the universities' devotion to their own professed principles. So far the results are mixed-to-bad. He was able to speak at Princeton, which is faint progress. Threats prevented his appearance at Harvard, and he was shouted down at Staten Island Community College. Worse, the University of California at Berkeley has acted to ban any academic research that might jeopardize "the reputation or status of a social group or an institution." Now that the Vatican no longer worries much about its Index, it appears one is being established at Berkeley. Were it not for these overtones of academic freedom, Mr. Shockley's views would be a mere curiosity. The techniques of social science do not permit any sure test of his assertion, but we see little reason to accept it. No doubt genetic factors are the most im- portant in determining intelligence, but ex- treme environmental differences would still have a measurable impact. And the differences in the typical environments of the races have been and remain substantial. The most telling evidence against Mr. Shockley's view is the startling progress of blacks in American society as environmental handicaps have been reduced over the last 15 years. The Census Bureau has found that among young couples outside the South that is, at the age and in the regions where en- vironmental differences are the least blacks have already achieved full income parity with whites. This is not the behavior of an inferior race. Yet ironically, the finding of this degree of progress is itself often a can- didate for the Index of Proscribed Knowledge. Black leaders of all people are at pains to refute and discount it, ap- parently from fear of letting society's feet slip away from the fire. More profoundly, suppose Mr. Shockley's views were demonstrated to be true. Suppose a test were devised to measure genetic intelligence, and that while some blacks scored as well as any whites, the median score for blacks proved to be below the me- dian for whites. Then what? Would we go back to legalized segregation? Would we erect legal and social barriers against all blacks? Would we say to a high-scoring black: yes, you personally measure up, but you must be penalized because of the median of your race? Surely this is absurd. The moral core of the race question is that individuals ought to be judged on their own merits rather than on their race. This is the truth on which law and public policy ought to be based, and it remains true regardless of any group attribute, real or imagined. This moral core is not always as clearly recogniz- ed as it should be; it is violated, for example, by the thinly disguised racial quotes we now find applied to jobs and schools. If the moral core were more clearly recognized, Mr. Shockley could be seen in far better perspec- tive and with far less alarm. We have trouble understanding why Mr. Shockley wants to agitate this question, which is of little social or even scientific significance, and which is bound to be a psy- chological affront to blacks. But he does want to, and his right should be protected. That people are trying to stop him from speaking is the best reason to pay attention to him. In fact, it may be the only reason. The second glance By Doug Walker When I walked into the living room some teen-agers were on the television screen. "At first I remarked to those in the room, "the girl on the end looked too old to belong to the group. Now I see that she really is younger than my first impression suggested." "That's the way it is with me, too, isn't it Elspeth said to me. said Paul, "on second glance you look older."