Great Gap

Luis Rubio

In their novel entitled 2034, Ackerman and Stavridis extrapolate the currently prevalent tendencies in cybernetic matters a decade in advance to describe a world of extraordinary complexity in which computers cease being a tool for the processing of information and facilitating the daily life of persons and companies, becoming, instead,  mechanisms that dominate all aspects of everyday life worldwide, from education and health to armies and public administration. While the novel devotes itself to military affairs, its message is razor-sharp: what previously were mere tools are now transformed into ubiquitous factors of the quotidian agenda,  in all of its facets and no one can  abstract themselves from it. In that world, only those who possess the capacity to employ computers, program them and use them deftly can thrive and be successful.

It is not necessary to read works of fiction to observe how the world is advancing and what that would imply for all inhabitants of the planet. As increasingly more aspects and activities of life are incorporated into the world of cybernetics, two things occur: on the one hand, it becomes even more obvious that what adds value in productive supply chains Is human creativity and the ability of individuals to participate in that life dimension. On the other hand, the person who does not have the ability or possibility to access that segment of the supply chains remains thwarted in advancing economically. In a word, if the inequality experienced today in Mexico and, in general, in the world, is already extreme, what’s coming will be a thousand times worse.

Any government with a modicum of common sense and clarity of vision should be asking itself how to face the challenge and what it should do to skew the probability of success. The key factor characterizing the world of knowledge, of which cybernetics comprises a core factor, is that the success of persons lies in their capacity to add value and this no longer relevant to the traditional factory assembly lines, but rather to the individual’s creative capacity. This is not an ideological statement as the government’s new educational policy assumes.

That world requires skills that are only developed through an education favoring mathematics, science and language and that rewards merit to achieving a population with all the capacities demanded by the new reality that humanity is approaching by the minute.  It is not by chance that nations -essentially Asian, but also certain European ones- that prioritize education are those at the vanguard of the cybernetic world. The big question is where Mexico stands in that race and whether it will be possible for it to be a successful player in the world beginning to take shape.

Education has evolved into the transformative lever in the entire Asian milieu because, on providing youngsters with skills, it contributes to breaking decisively with the sources of origin of the inequality plaguing Mexico today. In Mexico, given the educational policy (old and new) of preserving the status quo and its consequent inequality, that is to say, thus avoiding the upsurge of individuals with capacities to be successful in life, there is a guarantee that inequality will remain true, thus impeding an integral development of the country.

Inequality is not privy to Mexico; what impresses about Mexico is the indolence with which the importance of education is ignored, and even more so in the information and knowledge era.  In contrast with those Asian nations, our system of education is designed to hold back the progress of persons not only by the way education is conducted but also by the absence of understanding the way the world’s economy has been evolving. In successful countries, children not coming from homes that provide them with benefits stemming from the very fact of having environments and tools of modernity, find in education a means to gain achievements such as those of children of privilege. An educational system oriented toward transformation breaks through inequality, promotes social mobility and raises productivity with its consequent benefits in terms of consumption, well-being and economic growth. No one can say that takes place in Mexico today.

In the last twenty years there were at least two serious attempts to transform the education of the country (2007 and 2017), both failed due to the might of the teachers’ union and the preference of governments such as the PAN as well as that of the PRI to ally with that’ union for electoral purposes. The result is a stagnant and unproductive economy that predates the current and very destructive government which not only consciously ignores the world’s evolution, but that also considers that turning education into indoctrination will allow it to return to an idyllic past while reducing inequality and being successful.

Nearly 250 years ago. harkening back to another era of the world, Benjamín Franklin affirmed that “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” His clairvoyance is astounding, but the message is transcendental. Only a political project that favors the control and subordination of the population could ignore this now that the evidence of its importance is inexorable.