January 21st, 2013
03:44 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

By the end of this decade, China expects to have almost 195 million graduates from community colleges and universities, while the United States will have no more than 120 million, according to a piece in the New York Times last week.

“China is making a $250 billion-a-year investment in what economists call human capital. Just as the United States helped build a white-collar middle class in the late 1940s and early 1950s by using the G.I. Bill to help educate millions of World War II veterans, the Chinese government is using large subsidies to educate tens of millions of young people as they move from farms to cities.”

Also, is outdated information on guns making it difficult to draw up policy recommendations in the United States? As I wrote recently, as with almost everything relating to this conversation on gun violence, it is extremely helpful to start with facts. But NPR notes why gathering the facts isn’t always straightforward:

“In 2003, Rep. Todd Tiahrt, a Republican from Kansas, added language to the Justice Department's annual spending bill. It says the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives can't release information used to trace guns involved in crime to researchers and members of the public. It also requires the FBI to destroy records on people approved to buy guns within 24 hours.”

And what did the Holy Roman Empire have in common with today’s EU? Quite a lot, according to a fascinating piece in the Economist at the end of last year.

“Even the problems sound familiar. Property values had crashed, as the depopulated land vastly exceeded tenants. And many princes, after years of paying mercenaries, were drowning in debt. As Mr Whaley explains, these debts were dealt with through a combination of moratoria and debt commissions. The emperor sent administrators to negotiate restructurings, rather as today’s “troika” of European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund does. These bail-outs became a recurring feature, with 57 over the next century.”

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. JAL

    I didn't see an episode out there this week...

    January 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  2. Quigley

    This goes to show that the Chinese are smarter than we are. While we keep sinking our money into the military, the Chinese are spending on education. We already have a military far bigger than we'll ever need and that's what's driving up our financial deficit. We can start by turning our foreign military bases over to our allies, such as Germany by getting Polish, Czech and Hungarian troops to replace ours there and having the Philippines and Taiwanese to replace those of ours in J apan. The Chinese, on the other hand, have no troops outside of their country!

    January 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Reply
    • wjmccartan

      Excellent idea, Quigley. Let's hand these overseas bases of ours over to the so-called "allies" and spend the money here at home and do like the Chinese are doing. As for gun control, Piers Morgan has it wrong. We're all living in a sick society where guns have become a necessity. We simply don't need any more gun control laws!

      January 22, 2013 at 10:37 am | Reply
  3. rightospeak

    It is meaningless to talk about more college graduates when for over a generation there is a surplus of highly educated people in the US looking for jobs.Unless off shored jobs return the graduates will be working at Wal-Martt stocking shelves and in debt.
    Gun control is about taking guns away from people, because little is done about mental illness which is at the root of the problem in recent shootings.Piers Morgans may foam at their mouths to convince the public about taking away guns , but the public is not going to fall for the propaganda. As the sale of guns indicated the propaganda has the opposite effect. With billions in welfare for the rich and imperial posturing there is little money left for social safety nets.

    January 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    China will soon catch up with the top OECD-countries, where education is so self-evident that an office employee needs to have completed a course or training and reached the required level of competence. Two decades ago, admission to legal profession in many European countries didn't require a law degree. Today it's absolutely out of question!

    January 22, 2013 at 6:35 am | Reply
  5. JAL

    It is all about the parents instilling faith in education in our nations youth during the hard times. Even though I am unemployed and believe in education, I sometimes complain about my situation. I now see the direct effect my complaining has on others. When China sees its first recession, they will see the same decline. They can learn from us and create a cultural faith in education during tough times through good parenting practices.

    January 22, 2013 at 7:32 am | Reply
  6. warrenleemedia

    Reblogged this on Warren Lee Media.

    January 22, 2013 at 11:54 am | Reply
  7. Ger Republikinz!!!!!!

    wii don ned 2 raz taxiz fer skools. wii kin bii hom skoold lyk wii r dun sowt. u demokrates unly wunt 2 raz taxiz fer skools, n rodes, n brijiz, n stuf. u demokrates wunt 2 tay wey r gunz 2. iv wii pud jezuz bak un da skools jezuz wud purtek uz frum gunz. jezuz lyks gunz 2. iv u demokrates raz mi taxiz den i kant bi nu weelz fer mi hom. Ger republikinz!!!

    January 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply

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