The paradox with any society is that it must be self-sufficient in the act of solving its own problems, lest it suffer a regression. If it cannot teach itself, it cannot survive. Thus, a nation suffers in direct proportion to its ineptitude in critical thinking, which is key to discerning the underlying issues that form the pillar of any issue. What is interesting about any problem that can harass a culture is that the cause of the problem can, in some way, be attributed to a lack of education.
Take crime as an example. It has long been understood that crime rates are statistically higher among undereducated demographics. There is no getting around these facts. The only area where crime is higher among educated societies is with intellectual crime, as is typically seen in cases of corporations that prey on the populace or when governments lie to constituencies to mask unethical behavior. The beauty in these cases is that education provides ample firepower with which to arm oneself against such injustice.
Educated individuals are also historically shown to produce fewer unwanted pregnancies. They are more likely to take measures against such things, which stems from education. In cases of government subsidies provided to the poor in proportion to size of household, we see a direct correlation to the reward being more compelling than prevention. If the individual struggles financially, it is to benefit by reproducing. Again, education is at the root of the issue. Educated people are statistically proven to make more money, which eliminates the desire to become trapped in a system of subsidy. Those that are in it purposefully look for ways to avoid transcending the situation because they will lose the income. It becomes easier to stay dependent.
Without education, leaders – elected or otherwise – are intellectually incapable of performing their duties properly. They are incompetent. In nations that hold elections, the uneducated populace is unqualified to adequately select leadership that is actually qualified to lead and make decisions. The cycle repeats itself. Those who are more qualified are usually ensconced in the comfort of a destiny they’ve built – their success will be better served if they remain in the profession they have chosen. To leave that lifestyle and go into public service would be a regression. So they don’t run for office. Then the populace is left with mostly those who are more apt to chase power than to want to solve problems. The personal benefit of the office is higher when the reward is power. Thus, it stands to reason that these types need a less educated constituency, one that will not recognize when they have failed to perform.
In business, it pays to be educated. The paradox here is that corporations fail without employees. The system is designed to create more employees than it creates leaders. Less educated people have fewer opportunities, smaller networks. They are mostly left with little to no choice other than to fulfill the role of employee. Not everyone can be rich. The logistics will never allow for it. If this were to happen overnight, every company would fail for lack of employees. There would be no one left to provide services. Rich people need poor people and poor people need rich people. It is a symbiotic relationship. In order for one to rise above a humble beginning, one must educate oneself. They educate themselves, they innovate. They find ways to overcome and prevail. This education is less formal, but education nonetheless.
The world will always need innovators and innovators will always rise. They cannot help it. People capable of solving problems always find a way. The ability stems from critical thinking. If one is trapped in a life of servitude, a lack of critical thinking will keep them there. The problem to solve is ironically that one cannot solve the problem. If one lacks critical thinking skills, one cannot innovate a way to overcome their circumstances. In a free market society, an innovative employee might contrive a way to strike out on one’s own, which creates competition. Competition breeds more innovation. Companies need to continually invent ways to stay ahead of the competition. More competition equals more innovation equals more technological/logistical/systemic advancement equals more money exchanging hands. Everybody wins. It literally pays to think critically.
And education is the key. Not necessarily formal education. It’s not about teaching people what to think but rather how to think. Thinking solves problems. If one cannot think, one cannot solve anything. The bottom line is that no problem can be solved without education.