One of the books I read in the early part of this decade, which made a lasting impression on me, was James Fallows' More Like Us: Making America Great Again. What impressed me the most was Fallows' assertion that America had adopted a Confucian idea regarding education: That it was necessary to differentiate the noble from the peasant classes. In insisting that all must have college degrees, millions of people have been kept from work that they are perfectly capable of doing well, and of learning quickly on the job. College, if not provided by one's parents right after high school, is a costly, lenghty and tedious process. It can take someone over a decade to work their way through a bachelor's degree.
I had noticed this disturbing trend in America since the '80s (Fallows tells us it began in the '60s). It is my hope that Obama with his Youth Corps and Civilian Corps and his insistence of "college for all" ( with the implication that maybe it would be easier to just skip it) will further the remedial suggestions Fallows lays out in his text.