Sunday, 6 May 2012

A serious read

I've recently finished reading David Willetts "The Pinch: How the Baby-Boomers took their Children's future and why they should give it back."( reviews here and here) As a baby-boomer (born 1946) myself, this was an intriguing read. Some of the assertions David Willetts makes don't seem to apply to me, although many do. I think, when he asserts that there was a rise in women's increased access to higher education, he overstates the case somewhat. I entered post 18 education in the later 1960's, and not all my school fellows went on to university (as I didn't) but to other forms of higher education, such as teacher training college, colleges of commerce or advanced technology, where the qualifications they were aiming for were more vocational in nature than a degree. Most of these type of higher education institutions later became or were absorbed into universities. The actual rise probably came a bit later, in the 70's. The first chapter, however, does give a quick and interesting potted social history of marriage and property in England
I found the number of statistical tables interesting, although sometimes a bit overwhelming., and occasionally the saying "there are lies, damned lies and statistics" came to mind. Willetts also states that educated middle class women have taken jobs that might previously have been done by working class men, thus reducing social mobility. But many of the old working class jobs in heavy industry, such as steel-working, mining, car-making, and similar have disappeared, as those  industries have been sold off or consigned to history. And although Willetts gives perfectly valid reasons for the baby-boomers to give their children a future, he doesn't, as far as I recall, say exactly how this should happen.

As an antidote to this serious stuff, which is nevertheless perfectly readable, I 've just read Michael Wright's follow -up to C'est La Folie, titled Je T'aime a La Folie, and which I enjoyed just as much as the first book.

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