By Jim Landers
12:00 AM CDT on Tuesday, September 28, 2010
WASHINGTON – America’s ability to compete in the global economy seems to be moving in opposite directions. Apart from South Korea, most developed countries now have higher labor costs than the United States. That’s attracting labor-intensive work here, like a Brazilian jeans maker planning a factory in South Texas.
On educational attainment, meanwhile, we are falling further behind. The two schools now providing the largest number of Ph.D. candidates to American universities, for example, are China’s Tsinghua and Peking universities.
Taken together, the results suggest stagnation – in incomes and in knowledge.
Peter O’Donnell Jr., head of the O’Donnell Foundation, a Dallas education philanthropy, says the United States will not win against other nations with these kinds of results. “We have to have education so we can produce the people who can innovate,” he said. “We’re not going to go toe-to-toe with China on wage rates. No way.”