Here’s a new item for those who are, like TCT, tracking the theme of the rise and decline of dominant social classes. The prevailing spin on this new result is to see it as a question of “culture.” In reality it is pure class: the aspiring hegemons are at the top, and the declining emperors are in laughable decline. And it absolutely figures: Comparatively wide-spread educational excellence is meaningful and important in societies whose ruling elites are still young and open enough to at least consider exploring unconventional, reality-based answers. In places like the United States and Britain, meanwhile, the superannuated corporate overclass nailed its windows shut 30+ years ago, and keeps adding new layers of boondoggle and cant to wall out the world. Despite its de rigueur claim to care about “catching up” again, few things would be more threatening to long-established patterns of domestic stratification than a sudden wave of actual concern for good teaching and popular educational advancement.
[Source: The New York Times, December 7, 2010]