Monday, September 6

Economic illiteracy

Niranjan Rajadhakshya puts stress on the importance of economic literacy than scientific literacy. We are still being taught that the Eartth is flat.
Recently, I realised that the roots of economic illiteracy run deeper - all the way down to our schools. School children are not taught much economics. But the notions that are drilled into their heads at a very young age must be doing some harm. I often come across such notions when I go through the textbooks my two daughters use to study. Stories about evil merchants. Theories about how natural resources, rather than people and their skills, are the real wealth of a country. Claims that only the government can provide roads, education and healthcare. A lot about governments, but very little about the rights of individuals. And, perhaps most important, a complete blanking out of knowledge about the people of other countries. Is this how we are going to prepare the next generation for a global tomorrow?

The ideological assumptions of our education continue to be unthinkingly statist, even though statism has been thoroughly discredited since 1990. It's akin to teaching school children that the world is flat, even after scientists have shown it to be round. In economics and the social sciences, the flat-earth gang still seems to have control over school curriculums.

Nobody seems to bother about this. The political establishment seems happier raging on unnecessary fronts - be it Murli Manohar Joshi's devious attempts to rewrite history or Mani Shankar Aiyar's senseless attack on Savarkar.