Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bread and circuses

source unknown

Imagine you are a fly on the wall listening to an informal chat among a few UN and EU bureaucrats. Over a quiet cup of coffee their conversation turns to education and what the world must do for its citizens.

“Obviously we need billions of highly educated people to solve numerous problems for humanity at large –“

“No we don’t.”


“We need peasants with only a basic education and without the wit to make trouble.”

“Too cynical - surely.”

“No - it's how things are. We have enough tech and we have enough science so we don’t need billions of educated people. A few million at most – say one percent of the global population. The rest are destined to be peasants so we may as well train them accordingly.”

“Well for one thing they won’t accept it.”

“They have no choice. We must educate the masses to be bystanders, which is what they are anyway. Bread and circuses – tried and tested and the only way it can be done. Should take a couple of generations max.”

“Too cynical.”

“Not really. What the hell will they do when the robots come, these billions of educated people? Watch movies all day? Do you paint your neighbour's house while he paints yours?”

“All the same –“

“We are not all the same though are we - you and I? We are not numbered among those billions. In reality the buck stops here so we have to do what is best for everyone, like it or not. I can’t say I like it particularly but I’m not prepared to duck my responsibilities.”

“I still say it won’t work.”

“Yes it will. There are only two basic policies any government can follow – war or bread and circuses. All governments must pursue one or the other so naturally enough a global government is stuck with bread and circuses. It’s our only option.”


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James Higham said...

Are there, in fact, more than half a million educated and intelligent people?

Paddington said...

Many more. There's probably that number of doctoral-level mathematicians in the world alone.

Paddington said...

A far bigger problem (brought home by conversations with 2 VIP's recently) is that there is no understanding in any of our leaders the level of expertise needed to just maintain a little of what we have. They assume that you can just create say an engineer, given a couple of years of lead time and the right videos.

A K Haart said...

James - there are millions, but how to stretch their abilities may be an issue.

Paddington - over forty years ago, a philosopher friend said that we can judge a civilisation by the quality of its maintenance.

Timbo614 said...

I thought it was always said the "98% of the population is thick" therefore based on 7 Bln there are 140 Million Smarties.

A K Haart said...

Timbo - that's a lot of smarties, but how would we know they were the genuine smarties?

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Sack

I thought the picture had more meat and body to it than the rest if the article ;>)

Sackerson said...

Jim: and thereby hangs a tail.