Experimental feature

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00
Experimental feature

This article is from today’s FT Opinion email. Sign up to receive a daily digest of the big issues straight to your inbox.

When businesses, concerned about how to find well-educated and work-ready employees, also lobby for tax cuts, how far ahead are they thinking? Not very, argues Rana Foroohar. In this week’s column she takes US corporations to task for failing to engage with the need to properly fund America’s public schools and reform tertiary education.

US education, says Rana, has not been retooled for decades and needs an urgent update to deliver a workforce adapted to the digital age and to “new-collar” jobs. State funding for education hit a peak in the 1980s, and has been falling ever since, a decline that has created a huge class and skills gap.

She recommends that business groups grapple with the failings of the college system — did you know that only 54 per cent of Americans who enter tertiary education receive a degree within six years? — and face up to the message of the current teachers’ strikes. Education needs some stronger advocates.

How will Xi use his power?
Eswar Prasad argues that after securing his supremacy and longevity, China’s Xi Jinping now faces a serious test: will he, after assembling a dream team of economic reformers, follow through, defy the reactionary forces, and tackle the dangerous flaws in the Chinese financial system.

Dr Who and earth’s unknown unknowns
Did other advanced live-forms and their civilisations precede humans? Anjana Ahuja explores the Silurian hypothesis, an intriguing thought experiment that suggests the ultimate success of a previous, extinct culture may have been its absence of traces on the planet. Might we be able to erase our own marks too?

Best of the rest

Mrs May’s attempt to muddle through Brexit is fast approaching crunch time — Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer

Diplomacy without diplomats — Matt Peterson in The Atlantic

What do we do with these men? — Katie J M Baker in The New York Times

The man who saved Havana — Tony Perrottet in The Smithsonian

What you’ve been saying

UK must address gender gap in pension entitlement— letter from Neil Walsh

Women are disproportionately excluded from automatic enrolment to occupational pension schemes because of the earnings trigger. They are also disproportionately impacted by the loss of tax relief for low earners in net pay pension schemes.

Comment from gkjames on Rein in Facebook like we did AT&T

In principle, an ordered, reasonably regulated market is a good thing. But, in the case of Facebook (where users and their data are the product), is there a consensus as to the problem that needs solving? If, despite negative press attention, investor and user behavior shows that, by and large, the value of what Facebook provides is deemed to exceed the downsides, what’s there to regulate and on whose behalf?

Forget about productivity, focus on resuming work— letter from Lawrence Haar

The concern over productivity is misguided anyway. The big issue is whether someone’s salary or wages reflect the value of their marginal productivity. There is nothing wrong with using less productive capital, including human capital, provided it is priced correctly. We should stop worrying about productivity in the UK and get back to work.

Today’s opinion

Donald Trump’s trade war with Europe look inevitable
The EU has run up against the US president at its moment of maximum vulnerability

FT View: President Erdogan is trampling on Turkey’s freedoms
As Germany has shown, Ankara does sometimes respond to pressure

Bonds and oil prices worry investors
Rising yields and crude prices have hit confidence, but will not cause a bear market yet

A business answer to America’s broken education system
The biggest problem for companies is the number of under-skilled workers

Xi Jinping’s economic dream team must be allowed to succeed
China needs a financial system that allocates resources more productively

How do we know that humans are earth’s first advanced race?
In the planet’s 4.5bn years of existence, cultures may have developed — and vanished

The Big Read: Corbyn’s Britain: Why Labour’s path to power runs through the suburbs
FT series: if the opposition leader can capture the ’white van man’ of areas like Chingford, he may conquer Britain

Asda deal frees Walmart to focus elsewhere
Handing day-to-day management to Sainsbury’s is recognition that US giant has bigger fish to fry

FT View

FT View: President Erdogan is trampling on Turkey’s freedoms
As Germany has shown, Ankara does sometimes respond to pressure

The Big Read

The Big Read: Corbyn’s Britain: Why Labour’s path to power runs through the suburbs
FT series: if the opposition leader can capture the ’white van man’ of areas like Chingford, he may conquer Britain

Get alerts on Newsletter when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.