Wealth of Nations

The OECD has published a new skills assessment for adults.  This is a follow up to the student assessment, PISA, described in Amanda Ripley’s book.  We sometimes think the OECD runs these surveys just to humiliate Americans.  “Go ahead, ask them where the equator is, LOL.”  Here is how we ranked in math proficiency:

NumeracyThe OECD deserves props for a well organized study.  Their thesis is that people need advanced skills to thrive in the modern economy, and the study analyzes the distribution of those skills.  The report also makes policy recommendations.  One look at this chart proves their thesis.  The failing European economies are right there at the bottom.

Descriptions of the proficiency levels for this chart are given on page 76 of the report.  To put it crudely, the 35% of Americans on the right side of the line are employable.  They will have decent jobs and pay taxes, to support the other 65%.

This is the root cause of income inequality.  Obviously, we need better education, but that’s a long term project.  In the meantime, politicians will look to redistribute income.  That’s not too bad in a balanced country, like Germany.  Here in America, each smart person must carry two of the others.


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