Saturday, February 20, 2010

When “Human Capital” Is Not Enough

The development of human capital is commonly identified as one of the prerequisites to sociocultural and economic success.

Normally, building human capital is presented as educating our people in science and technology, as well as in marketable skills.

But something is missing from this modern conception and it is not a small thing: It is a suicidal omission.

The citizens of a socioculture that plans to live long and well, must also teach their children an accurate history of their own culture and a system of guiding ethics with which to maintain it. As importantly, these future citizens must also be taught to love and respect their own history and comply with societies moral/ethical guidelines.

In America, these critical ingredients of human capital were once taught by schools, churches, families, Boy and Girl Scouts, and the like. Though it may be hard to believe, America’s entertainment media once, long ago, also provided a strong assist to teaching these form of social capital to our children and youth.

At the present in Post-Modern America, who now teaches these ethical virtues to our children? It is not the schools, our government has greatly impaired that function. It is not the church, as families are much less intimately involved than they once were. It is not the families who are working two jobs or more, reduced, reconfigured, geographically split, and who are often divorced into four parents and eight grandparents (or more). In this last problem “too many chefs” often spoil the brew. It is not in our other strong organizations dedicated to acculturating our youth in the values and ethics of Americans. Boy Scout and Girl Scout (also Cub and Brownie Scout) enrollments have been diminishing. America’s entertainment media have savagely betrayed it’s parents and children to wreak moral and ethical havoc upon them.

Who is teaching our children the essential moral/ethical components of Social Capital in Post-Modern America!?

Thank God some folks are, but their numbers are diminishing.

If something is lost, the most effective to way to find it again is to retrace our steps to the place that we once possessed it.

True, we cannot turn back time. But we sure as hell can begin to teach ethics and values as we once did, even if we do it in many different and new ways. It is just a matter of admitting the lethality of one of our own stupid oversights in America, the will to work and sacrifice as a nation, and the drive to survive in a very hostile world.

Many of us are wondering if we have what it takes anymore.

Our youth will probably know the answer within their life-time.

Dr. Tom 2/20/10


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