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That was a point in my earlier comment on this thread:
The other big obstacle is the degree to which the neo-classical mythos has been written into the brains of so many of our populations.  Given over 30 years of repetition and conditioning and the extent of biblical world views I wouldn't be surprised if >50% actually think that "The Invisible Hand" is "The Left Hand of God."  Half or more of such folks would rather believe that the present financial crisis is all an evil plot of the Democrats, even if the Democrats didn't have a black man as their presidential candidate.

I also believe that education can help.  That is another reason I support any and all direct aid to students in higher education.  But a purely technical education won't help.  The core humanities and social sciences requirements are vital, but not necessarily sufficient.  

Too many students are able to compartmentalize their thinking and emerge as "bi-conceptuals," who apply rational analysis to the area of their core competence, but retain more traditional world views in the rest of their lives.  I know a very able PhD in physics who teaches Sunday school, holds to the "old time religion" and votes Republican.  Naturally, he works in the "defense industry."  They can be very certain of his "values" and of the appropriateness of his security clearance level.

The remaining problem is the workplace, which, especially in small companies, is the most un-democratic place in society.  Workplace attitudes constrain the thinking of too many.  I speak from experience.  Either you shut up and go along or you take on 80% of your co-workers, including supervisors.  I had the Director of Operations of my company say to me:

"Things just work better when one person says what to do and everyone else follows his lead, don't you think?"

I disagreed and had a very hard time getting everything I designed built and installed.  He was one of four partners in a very successful contracting company and was very good at getting everyone moving in the same direction.  It was my sad duty at times to point out that, if they didn't change direction, they might all go over a cliff.  Fortunately, I had the support of two of the four.

Once we were sending out batteries for installation in an emergency power backup system.  The batteries were of the lead acid type.  I suggested that he send out some baking soda with the delivery.  He asked me why!  The knucklehead apparently  never took chemistry in high school.  I was in engineering.  People who were his hire didn't dare question him as I did.  Many just adopted the attitude that this was the way things ought to be.  Guess it made it easy for them.  Didn't work for me.    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Sep 19th, 2008 at 01:50:35 PM EST
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