Where is the UK? Do British kids really need to know?

Apparently one in five British pupils cannot locate the UK on a world map. The survey targeted children between 6 and 14 years of age and the BBC has an interesting article that describes the study in more detail. Really, the question is, do our children really need to know such pointless information? I mean, most of them are either going to end up working in a call centre, talking to other geographically illiterate British people, or smoking crack.

If we want to prepare our next generation for the challenges ahead we need to be teaching them how to answer the phone better than an Indian in Mumbai, or basic principles of demand and supply in free market economies. How else can you sell crack at the most efficient profit margins?

We might find it funny that people working in Indian call centres watch Eastenders in order to have a better rapport with British customers, but it won’t be long before the tables have turned, and our children need to learn Mandarin and talk about Super Girl in order to build relationships with the Chinese consumers who we need to service respectfully.

What we forget is that the western world’s short term cost cutting, through the outsourcing of innovation and production to countries such as China, is inversely related to our own long term success as an economically stable and prosperous nation. Globalization brings great benefits to investors, but if the country you live in is neglected as a result, in terms of job opportunities, then the long term suffering is obvious.

The west is increasingly focusing on pure service based and brand economy and as a result we simply market and support the goods that are made cheaper elsewhere. This is fundamentally like asking the thief to design and make your locks and then asking him to give you a copy of the key.

The question is, do our governments even realise this and if so, do they care one way or the other? I think they know, but care very little. Governments only exist for short periods of time, which is normally just long enough to line one’s own pockets as fast as possible before retiring to work one day a year in several companies as a non-executive director.
We the people are the ones who need to actually do something about it, because nobody else is going to do it on our behalf. The sooner we realise that the better. I’ve long said that all goods should be stamped with the percentages of economic input per country. Underneath that should be the following obligatory health warning:

Buying goods and services from abroad, based on the cheapest price, may cost you and your family your jobs!

Last night I watched Syriana, and in the DVD extras George Clooney makes an interesting point. What he basically says is:

Through our addictive consumption of petroleum based goods, we are implicitly supporting the global companies that produce these goods.

Hence, through our ignorant consumption we grant those companies a carte blanche to act on our behalf, whatever those actions are, as long as we don’t know about it, and the cost of those goods produced is stable.

Of course there is a presumed corporate responsibility, but as the consumer, you don’t hear what happens in the areas in where oil companies extract crude oil. We don’t hear about it, because it would make everything more expensive, and that is unacceptable in a fundamentally price-based economy.