Thanks to Eurasian Sensation, who posted this article: The One-Shot Society. The article is about the educational system in Korea, where students cram like mad for one college entrance test, a test which determines the career that they will have for the rest of their lives. In Korea, as the article mentions, people rarely change jobs, so it’s imperative that students get into the best university and then into the best company. We’ve spoken about this trend in Korea and how it limits their opportunities to make decisions later in life, which is why many Koreans try to become doctors.
I think this system is reflective of what Koreans value: intelligence, diligence, preparation, and consistency. This system will greatly help Korea in many ways, but of course, there are side effects as well. I like how the article mentions the tech entrepreneur who can’t find employees because he’s not Samsung. In the U.S., that guy would have no problems recruiting (especially with our high level of employment).
I can’t really say whether their system is better or worse than ours–they don’t seem to have the stagnation or unemployment that we do. What I would like to say is that America has an ambiguity problem. I think we like to think that we value education, but we really don’t. Whereas Koreans value intelligence, diligence, preparation, and consistency, Americans value selling and entrepreneurship. I remember one of Robert Kiyosaki’s books where he tells a novelist that if she wants to be a well-known writer, she should learn to sell, so that she can sell her book. Even our most powerful citizens, the politicians who run this country, spend much if not most of their time selling themselves to voters.
I think that’s ultimately our problem these days. We’ve got great salespeople and a great culture of entrepreneurship and sales communication. Outside of the low-cost computing innovations, we just haven’t invested in creating great new technologies to sell. Whereas in the past we were going to the moon, taking on nuclear technology, or miniaturizing transistors, we no longer invest as much in the new technologies that we need: green technologies, alternative energy, etc. We need to shift more of our resources into research, so that we have great new technologies to sell to the world.
Related to this topic, Shark Tank is back. Today, there was a great episode in which a manufacturing entrepreneur told the sharks he wanted to keep jobs in the U.S. and refused to outsource to Asia. The sharks told him he was being stubborn and short-sighted. One shark told him that he should follow Apple’s example. Another said that even though it was not cost-effective to manufacture in America, it would still create jobs here since they would eventually need sales and marketing people! So you can where our nation’s focus is.