Brown’s “holistic approach” ?


FORUM: Current development and discourses on work and learning


Geoffrey wrote:

Brown’s statement concerning the means to reform social and economic institutions for high skill formation: ’This requires a holistic approach that reconnects enduring questions about the relationship between the economy, politics, and society to those of globalization and the changing nature of work.’

Hi Geoffrey, (link to forum)

I also caught Brown’s proposal for a holistic approach. I find that he uses that term (holistic) in a reductionist way, as he does not include or discuss fundamental factors that have become central to any discussion on our common future. As much as I like his inclusion of “social justice” in the equation of skill formation policies, I believe he fell short on many other pressing issues. His “holistic” model is historically dated.

Here are some aspects that he does not properly address:

  • population growth,
  • environmental issues and the scarcity and limitedness of resources;
  • the viability of small-scale economies not based on perpetual growth of knowledge, skills and income;
  • the consideration that should be awarded to what many perceive as “low skills.”Such skills are very viable in certain economic and social contexts and upgradingthem would not necessarily lead to improvements. The contrary may be true.
  • issues of globalization,
  • intercultural/cross-cultural dimension in training a multicultural work force in a globalized economy,
  • power issues concerning stakeholders (such as nation states, international bodies, individuals, unions, etc.)
  • other ways that “skill formation” would affect people. In his model emphasis is placed on growth of wages and income as if nothing else mattered.

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