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You are living in a different world, Wiybit. Few people care very much about inherited titles anymore. The House of Lords Act of 1999 reduced the maximum number of hereditory Peers in the House of Lords to 92 and no hereditory peer can assume a position in the House of Commons without first renouncing his title. There are very few anyway. Life Peerages are awarded on a merit basis or, unfortunately, on a patronage basis. The title can not be passed on however. It is proposed to further reform the House of Lords in this Parliament.
But being a Noble (I assume you mean some inherited title) does not confer power and, for many, does not confer wealth either.
Inheritence tax tends to curb this, though some escapes to offshore accounts I expect. This is why many of the large estates of the past are now open to the public as a business to pay for their upkeep.We do have a meritocracy and successive governments have tried to make it moreso because the mobility between sectors in society is not considered high enough.
If there are ways to improve this further then there are plenty of people who would be interested. I regret the introduction of tuition fees but it was going to be an inevitable consequence of opening higher education to all; someone has to pay for it.
Governments have genuinely tried to enhance social mobility but they have largely failed to do so. It is easy to criticise but harder to find a viable solution. You are right that much education today is about chasing bits of paper and it is no surprise that the paper is worth less as a result. However, I do not agree that business dominates education.
The spread of degrees in subjects which are certainly not targetted at businesses, but reward with a paper degree worth very little, has been huge, to the detriment of the ones that need a lot of hard work and a certain amount of intellect. Many people in business ask that education be more relevent but this has been largely ignored.
Personally I don't think degree subjects should be tailored specifically to business but I think that it is also not practical to have people spending 3 years on courses paid solely by the taxpayer if there is no net reward. I would love this to be the case but the country has not got the resources to support this.
Wiybit, please read through what I say before extracting and commenting on sections. You comment that I "seek to make the situation worse" based on what I see the situation is, but ignore my comment "Personally I don't think degree subjects should be tailored specifically to business [...]". Please don't presume my views from how I read the status quo.
I can tell you, as someone who has been in the semiconductor business for many years, that most hi-tech businesses have not got the time or the personel to lobby universities or government bodies about how to change the education system.
Most people in such companies, including me, have despaired over the inability of the UK Universities to maintain the reputation of a degree in science or engineering.
Whilst 40 years ago, if someone had a BSc or a BA it was almost the case that an interview was not needed, now, unless it is awarded by a selected few Universities, it is not a very good indicator of ability - in fact A-level results are usually a better guide. This is not because the courses are poor but just that there is less selectivity in awarding the degree. Some Universities award an MSc for just attending for example. I could go into all the reasons for this and the reasons why fewer people are taking the tougher Science degrees but it should suffice to say this does not indicate that it is Corporations that are driving education.
There is much talk that Corporations should drive education, and this has some political support, but apart from a few talking shops, little is actually being done. I will repeat - I don't think that corporations should drive education. I want to employ people who are clever and knowledgeable but I am not looking for people to be specifically trained.
If people see successful companies and want to work in an area they should be able to choose a course that is appropriate and, at least to some extent, Universities should respond to what is needed. This is a long way from education being driven by corporations. There are now some initiatives from Government and the Universities to try to get businesses involved (Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and various Enterprise Initiatives for example). This is all driven by Government and the Universities, not the other way around.Businesses are not getting any sort of free ride because they may need to employ people who have particular aptitudes and selective education. Believe it or not they get paid when they get a job. Education is free to a certain level and, personally, I would like to see this extended beyond A-levels, but I can also see that taxpayers should not have to fund this, particularly, as you say, not everyone wants to pursue higher education at a University. There are many aspects to this whole funding subject. Perhaps questions should also be asked about to what extent University research should be used to raise money for the University
or should such research be free from patents and available to all?
I have to disagree about the extent to which business drives education. There are some synergy effects and funding (at post graduate level), but most of the undergarduate course designs are from the Universities and it is they who frequently ask businesses for guidance, rarely the other way about. I have attended quite a few meetings between the semiconductor business community and various Universities and do have some knowledge about this. There have been people from the business community who have asked for more specific relevance but I, and others, have argued to just teach the basic science/engineering and maintain academic standards. Specific training is not carried out in most undergraduate courses as far as I can see, and nor should it be. If you are speaking of post graduate research, this is a different matter. This does often rely on external funding and Universities are keen to seek out sorces of funding from industry. Believe me, it is the universities doing the wooing and the return on investment by companies is not great.There are other reasons why standards have fallen. One is down to the importing of foreign students who have to pay for their MSc desgree and, not surprisingly, expect to get it whether they work or not. There are plenty of others reasons too.
I am inclined to agree about IP and I have had some rants about the patent system in other postings. It needs a serious overhaul.
Indeed the young of today see education as a chor, everyone wants it quick and easy in todays world, reminds me of the guy that wanted to put a computer chip in his head so he could play the piano, it's a rediculas idea, you wanna learn
Quote from: Wiybit on 11/05/2011 22:11:01Indeed the young of today see education as a chor, everyone wants it quick and easy in todays world, reminds me of the guy that wanted to put a computer chip in his head so he could play the piano, it's a rediculas idea, you wanna learnQuite so. And some of them don't even want to take time to learn how to spell, or punctuate, even when there is a handy-dandy spell checker available right under their nose 
I just watched the Lawson Rollins video. As someone who tries to play the guitar occasionally, I can honestly say that even if I practiced all the time I doubt I could get that good. At least not without the added chip in the head. Unfortunately, it isn't just practice that gets you there. You need ability too, as well as training at the right age. I played club cricket for 25 years and went to all the practices I could, but never got even close to playing at, say, a county seconds level. I still loved playing though.
Oh, I enjoy playing my guitar and I really used to enjoy playing cricket (too old now) and got great satisfaction on minor achievements but, to quote Clint Eastwood (as Dirty Harry, I think) "a man has to know his limitations". Just as you probably can't be a high jumper if you are 5' tall, one's brain is also governed by the genetic start in life it is given. Finding what you can do well is not always easy but generally everyone has some talents that can be nurtured. It doesn't mean you can't improve with practice either, but getting to be really good needs talent AND practice.