Worth reading

While I have been using this post to explore the findings in our new report, I have stockpiled lots of articles that I wanted to write about. Rather than wait until I get to them here is a list of recent articles that I think are worth checking out.

• Probably the most important education article I have read in a long time comes from the New York Times Magazine by Paul Tough. It deals with the essential question of what skill set students need to succeed in college. And suggests that character – actually performance, rather than moral, character – may trump academics. Built around the common learnings of an elite private school and a KIPP middle school.

• The Atlantic’s Can the Middle Class be Saved is highly recommended. It provides a good overview of how a changing economy is eliminating or lowering wages of formerly middle class jobs. Core to all of our work at Michigan Future is the belief that globalization and technology are mega forces – far more powerful than public policy – which are fundamentally changing our economy. This article raises all the right questions about winners and losers in that transition.

• A disturbing Yahoo News article deals with the widening wealth gap between the old and young. Now the widest it has ever been. The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday. While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation.

• Another disturbing and thought provoking article comes from Bloomberg Businessweek. Its title and subtitle say it  all: Why Americans Won’t Do Dirty Jobs: In the wake of an immigrant exodus, Alabama has jobs. Trouble is, Americans don’t want them.

• A terrific Ron Dzwonkowski column for the Free Press entitled: Forget taxes and regulations, Michigan must build it so they’ll come. Based on the Michigan Municipal League’s new book The Economics of Place. (I am one of the chapter authors.) Read the article, better yet if you have time, buy the book.

• Last, but certainly not least, another Yahoo News story. This one an interview with Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, the authors of the new book Race Against The Machine: How the Digital Revolution is Accelerating Innovation, Driving Productivity, and Irreversibly Transforming Employment and the Economy. More on the constant change being driven by technology. Specifically the ability of machines to do more and more of the work humans used to.

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