In Paul Krugman’s “Degrees and Dollars”, he expresses his views on how education nowadays has been influenced with the amount of technology growing and advancing more day by day. Krugman wants to bring up the fact that many jobs that are “manual” and jobs that are high paying and with a high education are being computerized with robots and other types of technology. He states his predictions about what the employment projections are and how education is influenced in this situation. This being said, are Krugman’s predictions true?
Krugman points out that “In order to get a good job these days, job seekers need “ever high levels” of education”. (206) With this statement, the author does not specify what kind of “higher levels” of education is needed and he does not specify what types of job seekers he is speaking of. Krugman wants people to know that what they think is the truth, is not. He speaks of a quote that Barack Obama said, “If we want more good news on the jobs front then we’ve got to make more investments in education”. (Krugman 206). After analyzing the information Krugman provided, he states “The belief that education is becoming ever more important rests on the plausible- sounding notion that advances in technology increase job opportunities for those who work with information- loosely speaking, that computers help those who work with their minds, while hurting those who work with their hands”. Krugman thinks that education cannot fix everything in society. He thinks people should focus on restoring the middle-class society to make it the same as before, this way the attention on education is taken away and put on “real world” problems.
Krugman also points out the fact that technology is advancing and could easily eliminate some jobs for people. “Jobs that require many years of schooling are vulnerable to elimination by new technologies”, with this statement Krugman wants to provide the readers with his stance. Krugman explains that manual labor will be hard to automate in the future compared to jobs that have to do with processing information and dealing with technology. Most manually done jobs like janitors, truck drivers, etc. There are things that exist now that can help these jobs such as the Roomba vacuum and self-driving cars. Technology is advancing, with these advancements come new opportunities for creators to build new things that could possibly take over their jobs before they even realize it. Even though new technology is being created, technology cannot necessarily take over everything. Krugman points out the fact that “white collar” workers will soon be left jobless because of automation.
Krugman is predicting that society needs to be rebuilt and the only way to do that is by looking at other factors that affect society, not only education. Krugman wants to restore the middle-class. According to Krugman, “Many high-wage occupations that grew rapidly in the 1900’s have seen much slower growth recently, even as growth in low-wage employment has accelerated”. (Krugman 207) Middle wage-jobs have not been growing rapidly according to Krugman. Middle class people have been slowly but surely disappearing. There is beginning to be a gap in between high class and low class people, and this gap is becoming bigger and bigger the smaller the middle class gets. Krugman wants to prove his point that education is not what society should be focusing on right now, it is rebuilding the middle class so society can be the same as it was before.
After analyzing Krugman, as a reader being able to understand his points are key to commenting on his work. There are many points that a reader can agree or disagree with. One of the big disagreeing points is when Krugman speaks of the important education. To him, it seems like it is not that big of a deal compared to other problems happening in society today. What will happen when there are no people who are capable of sustaining the new robots and the new technology because education was put aside and rebuilding the middle class was put as a priority? On the other hand, an agreeing point would be the fact that technology is indeed increasing and advancing to the point where it is automating some jobs. It is safe to say that for the future, technology is going to be more advanced than now and it will get to the point where it will get out of hands. It will make a bigger impact than most people will think.
As a professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Paul Krugman has a lot of experience in researching globalization and economic trends (Krugman 206). From Krugman’s perspective, the importance of education is not a priority in society today. Krugman points out, “If we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer- we’ll have to go about building that society directly” (Krugman 208). Krugman has very clear arguments, and proves his points to the best of his ability to convince the reader and his audience of the importance of rebuilding society and on his perspective on education.