Saturday, May 23, 2009

We Are So Scre**d

I know many students in high school take various social studies courses. At my school, students take Civics & Economics. So, I assumed that they actually learned something about how our economy works.

I read this post today, and, after the final tests, I'm going to survey them as to their understanding about the American system - in short, I'm going to ask them to state "What is Capitalism?" Given the level of understanding of the students whose answers are below, I'm more than a little fearful of what they'll write:
In January, for instance, I surveyed 50 recent high school graduates, now all in college or on their way. To the question, "Define capitalism in 10 to 20 words," here are some of the written responses, not atypical:

"Capitalism is making the most money for the government and having the government control the people."

"Capitalism is the money that is in the government. It is when the government controls all the money."

"Capitalism is based on a money-hungry nation, seeking to establish power through money."

"Capitalism is when an economy is based on the needs of the people."

"Capitalism is when the government takes a bigger role in the economy and controls more things."

"Capitalism is when the government is the only one deciding laws and regulations."

"I have no clue what capitalism is because I've never paid any attention to politics or the world around me until this year."

"Capitalism is everything that makes our government run properly."

"Capitalism is how the government is run. It is the government system."
I just hope the kids at my school have had the benefit of good teaching.

I hope. Because otherwise, I truly fear for the stability of my retirement.

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