Isaac Asimov’s 1984 predictions for 2019

In 1984, 35 years after George Orwell’s grim novel was published, The Star asked Isaac Asimov to write about what he thought things might be like in 2019.

Asimov said that “three considerations must dominate our thoughts” – 1. Nuclear war. 2. Computerization. 3. Space utilization

This has been republished – 35 years ago, Isaac Asimov was asked by the Star to predict the world of 2019. Here is what he wrote

If the United States and the Soviet Union flail away at each other at any time between now and 2019, there is absolutely no use to discussing what life will be like in that year. Too few of us, or of our children and grand· children, will be alive then for there to be any point in describing the precise condition of global misery at that time.

So far there has been no nuclear war so we have survived that threat, for now. But going into 2019 the risk is still there.

Let us, therefore, assume there will be no nuclear war — not necessarily a safe assumption — and carry on from there.

Computerization will undoubtedly continue onward inevitably. Computers have already made themselves essential to the governments of the industrial nations, and to world industry: and it is now beginning to make itself comfortable in the home.

1984 was early in the adoption of computers in homes. I was selling them then, and it was a small market, but it gradually grew from there.

An essential side product, the mobile computerized object, or robot, is already flooding into industry and will, in the course of the next generation, penetrate the home.

Various types of robots are very common in some industries, like manufacturing, but apart from toys they have been slow to take on in homes. Is there anything much other than robot vacuum cleaners available? They don’t seen to have caught on much. I think you can get robot grass mowers, but they have hardly taken over our gardens.

Automated functions in cars have become common, but they still only assist driving. Robot cars still seem to be unproven technology and could be years away.

The growing complexity of society will make it impossible to do without them, except by courting chaos; and those parts of the world that fall behind in this respect will suffer so obviously as a result that their ruling bodies will clamour for computerization as they now clamour for weapons.

The growing complexity of society is a real issue, or could be if humans become too dependant on computerised devices.

The immediate effect of intensifying computerization will be, of course, to change utterly our work habits. This has happened before.

It is changing things, but not really a large amount.

I have worked in computing jobs over the last 35 years. I still go to an office and help people use computers. There have been some changes – site visits are less necessary, a lot can be done via remote connections, and we can and do support customers around the world – but I wouldn’t say that my work has changed dramatically over that time.

Destroying our minds

The jobs that will disappear will tend to be just those routine clerical and assembly-line jobs that are simple enough, repetitive enough, and stultifying enough to destroy the finely balanced minds of those human beings unfortunate enough to have been forced to spend years doing them in order to earn a living, and yet complicated enough to rest above the capacity of any machine that is neither a computer nor computerized.

Certainly clerical and manufacturing jobs have been lost, but there are still many jobs, more jobs, in other industries like hospitality and tourism.

…a vast change in the nature of education must take place, and entire populations must be made “computer-literate” and must be taught to deal with a “high-tech” world.

Many more people are “computer-literate” as users of devices, but our education systems aren’t a lot different to what they were like in 1984.

The change, however, is much faster this time and society must work much faster; perhaps faster than they can. It means that the next generation will be one of difficult transition as untrained millions find themselves helpless to do the jobs that most need doing.

By the year 2019, however, we should find that the transition is about over. Those who can he retrained and re-educated will have been: those who can’t be will have been put to work at something useful, or where ruling groups are less wise, will have been supported by some sort of grudging welfare arrangement.

I don’t think that the changes to education have really happened much yet, and the ‘transition’ is far from over, in fact it may never be over. We now live in a relatively rapidly changing world.

First: Population will be continuing to increase for some years after the present and this will make the pangs of transition even more painful. Governments will be unable to hide from themselves the fact that no problem can possibly be solved as long as those problems continue to be intensified by the addition of greater numbers more rapidly than they can be dealt with.

Food production for an expanding population has been an opportunity for New Zealand, an agricultural country. But there are problems here, for example with housing being unable to keep up with a growing population.

Efforts to prevent this from happening by encouraging a lower birthrate will become steadily more strenuous and it is to be hoped that by 2019, the world as a whole will be striving toward a population plateau.

A transition to low birth rates in developed countries seemed to largely happen without encouragement being needed. The easy availability and social acceptance of contraceptives and abortions seems to have worked this one out. Improving living standards in high birth rate countries seems to be the best approach to deal with the population explosion.

It is more likely that in the future people will need to be encouraged to have babies to prevent the population declining too much.

Second: The consequences of human irresponsibility in terms of waste and pollution will become more apparent and unbearable with time and again, attempts to deal with this will become more strenuous. It is to be hoped that by 2019, advances in technology will place tools in our hands that will help accelerate the process whereby the deterioration of the environment will be reversed.

There are plenty of wills to achieve this now, driven by the threat of climate change, but limited ways still.

Asimov did not mention climate in his look into the future.

That is the driver for radical change, but the technological solutions have been slow to materialise.

Third: The world effort that must be invested in this and in generally easing the pains of the transition may, assuming the presence of a minimum level of sanity among the peoples of the world, again not a safe assumption, weaken in comparison the causes that have fed the time-honoured quarrels between and within nations over petty hatred and suspicions.

In short, there will be increasing co-operation among nations and among groups within nations, not out of any sudden growth of idealism or decency but out of a cold-blooded realization that anything less than that will mean destruction for all.

There may have been increased talk between nations on some things, but action  is lacking. And so is cooperation – the country with biggest economy in the world, the US, has chosen not to cooperate for now.

By 2019, then, it may well be that the nations will be getting along well enough to allow the planet to live under the faint semblance of a world government by co-operation, even though no one may admit its existence.

With the increased self interest of the US under Donald Trump, and the UK trying to exit from the European Union, the opposite seems to be happening.

Education, which must be revolutionized in the new world, will be revolutionized by the very agency that requires the revolution — the computer.

Schools will undoubtedly still exist, but a good schoolteacher can do no better than to inspire curiosity which an interested student can then satisfy at home at the console of his computer outlet.

There will be an opportunity finally for every youngster, and indeed, every person, to learn what he or she wants to learn. in his or her own time, at his or her own speed, in his or her own way.

Education will become fun because it will bubble up from within and not be forced in from without.

This may be happening to an extent, but I’m not sure about how much-  I see kids more interested in using devices to play games rather than to educate, but I see some learning as well. I have a seven year old granddaughter with a wide knowledge of insects and fish in particular.

While computers and robots are doing the scut-work of society so that the world, in 2019, will seem more and more to be “running itself,” more and more human beings will find themselves living a life rich in leisure.

This does not mean leisure to do nothing, but leisure to do something one wants to do; to be free to engage in scientific research. in literature and the arts, to pursue out-of-the-way interests and fascinating hobbies of all kinds.

Like blogging? Technology makes it possible, but I don’t know that it makes much difference to the world of politics.

Add my third phrase: space utilization.

It is not likely that we will abandon space, having come this far. And if militarism fades, we will do more with it than make it another arena for war. Nor will we simply make trips through it.

We will enter space to stay.

With the shuttle rocket as the vehicle, we will build a space station and lay the foundation for making space a permanent home for increasing numbers of human beings.

We are a long way from this happening.

By 2019, we will be back on the moon in force. There will be on it not Americans only, but an international force of some size; and not to collect moon rocks only, but to establish a mining station that will process moon soil and take it to places in space where it can be smelted into metals, ceramics. glass and concrete — construction materials for the large structures that will be put in orbit about the Earth.

One such structure which very conceivably, might be completed by 2019 would be the prototype of a solar power station, outfitted to collect solar energy, convert it to microwaves and beam it to Earth.

And humanity, not its structures only. will eventually be in space. By 2019, the first space settlement should be on the drawing boards; and may perhaps be under actual construction.

It would be the first of many in which human beings could live by the tens of thousands, and in which they could build small societies of all kinds, lending humanity a further twist of variety.

This looks to be a long way from happening.

There has been significant changes with computing and technology, but institutional education and ‘space utilisation’ haven’t really changed advanced a lot in the last 35 years.

But it’s not 2019 yet. The revolution may still happen, but time is running out.

 

Leave a comment

65 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 31, 2018

    Not a bad forecast by Asimov. Probably underestimated human and political inertia and overestimated technological investment compared with investment in comfort and entertainment.

    Reply
  2. Griff.

     /  December 31, 2018

    Education at lest higher education is going on line.
    The girl has to transfer from a lecturing students in front of her to a 100% on line delivery this year.
    She will be grumpy and over worked as it is a lot of work to set up the on line content as well as teach.

    Robots are every where.
    We just take it for granted you dont need to get up to change the channel by turning the dial.
    You can use an app on the phone to remotely turn on your lights,set the climate control, arm your alarms, record your favorite shows and many other tasks.
    Not the classical metal man but still “robotic” .

    humanity, not its structures only. will eventually be in space. By 2019, the first space settlement should be on the drawing boards; and may perhaps be under actual construction.

    Plans for the 387-foot Big Falcon Rocket were officially revealed back in September. Eventually, the company hopes that it will replace the company’s existing Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon rockets. The craft is currently being developed at the Port of Los Angeles, at an expected cost of $5 billion and will be capable of taking up to 100 tons of cargo or 100 passengers as far as Mars.
    SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell said the company hopes to start doing uncrewed launch tests of the new rocket in late 2019. If all goes well, Musk believes that this could be followed by an initial uncrewed flight to Mars in 2022 with a crewed flight taking place as early as 2024. A mission to fly around the moon with a private passenger on board is planned for 2023. However, given that the Falcon Heavy took nearly twice as long to complete as expected, and that only five percent of SpaceX’s resources are currently spent on the Starship, it’s best to view these plans as an aspiration.

    https://www.theverge.com/2018/11/20/18104389/big-falcon-rocket-bfr-starship-spacex-elon-musk
    Musk time as slightly longer than human time.
    He delivers eventually.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 31, 2018

      Good comment, Griff.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  December 31, 2018

        I remember when remote controls were an optional extra for televisions. We didn’t bother because there were so few free channels that it didn’t seem worth it.

        I remember when computers were a luxury – and expensive !!! Our first one was the Dell sold by The Warehouse, a cumbersome thing but we loved it.

        Robot lawnmowers are expensive, but I should think that they’d be worth it.

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  December 31, 2018

          If you pay someone $40 to mow every 3 weeks, that’s the cheapest robomoa paid for, or all but. Even the dearest ones wouldn’t take long to pay for itself…I was amazed that one cost $873; I looked just now.

          Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  December 31, 2018

    ‘for example with housing being unable to keep up with a growing population.’

    This is not really true.

    33,000 empty houses in Auckland alone roughly equals the amount of stock needed.

    No one foresaw the effects of Q.E or the escalation in the number of ‘millionaires’ in China and how western housing markets were impacted by land as a store of wealth for money laundering and became the only asset to be really trusted.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 31, 2018

      Self-indulgent excessively-powered bureaucracy not bothering to keep up with the need for housing and infrastructure.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  December 31, 2018

        not the major cause by far.Added expense.. yes.

        Reply
      • Griff.

         /  December 31, 2018

        Actually it is more the National goverment and its use of immigration to expand the economy without taking into account the unintended consequence.
        70,000 extra New Zealanders a year is a lot of stress on infrastructure that should have been planed for .
        Especially as they come in as adults already using roading, housing etc not as baby’s with a twenty year gap between birth and impact.

        Reply
  4. Conspiratoor

     /  December 31, 2018

    “I think you can get robot grass mowers, but they have hardly taken over our gardens”.

    Your thought is correct pg although best to keep them out of the graden. I’ve had mine for a while now and in that time he’s turned the lower 45 into a bowling green. Packed with electronics including ultrasonic sensors, GPS and even a SIm card for two way communication.

    Once these catch on we are going to see the death of the ride-on mower

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  December 31, 2018

      Very nice. It’s also a good example of just how hard true ‘robots’ really are, mowing a lawn would appear to be a simple task, yet requires far more computing than most would ever imagine.

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  December 31, 2018

        Ominously though like all good robots he will very ocassionally go rogue by messaging me “I’ve disconnected”. He continues to nibble away quite happily but sometimes he just feels the need to inform he will take no further instruction until it suits

        Reply
    • PartisanZ

       /  December 31, 2018

      I’d like to see a “robot grass mower” cut the slopes at our place …

      Just like I’d like to see a self-drive car get up our driveway …

      Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  December 31, 2018

    An essential side product, the mobile computerized object, or robot, is already flooding into industry and will, in the course of the next generation, penetrate the home.

    A few robotic cruise missiles penetrated some of Sadam Hussein’s homes as I recall.

    Reply
  6. duperez

     /  December 31, 2018

    I haven’t read Asimov but from here it seems the changes he wrote of were about peripheral things not about what they and other factors would mean for the shape of the world through what they do to people. Or for them.

    In some countries lives are determined by conflicts from hundreds and thousands of years ago. It seems in little places with the type of society we have it’s about the the type of people the peripherals have produced and there is focus on the ‘nature of the beasts’ – Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials – and the consequences of the characteristics of those beasts.

    Reply
  7. kluelis

     /  December 31, 2018

    Asimov did not predict pro rugby, Liverpool going 30 years with out the title.
    He did not predict American idol, Bruce Jenner going trans gender Lady gaga, a Black President , Game of thrones, the Christchurch earthquake Kim Dot Com, the Prime minature. No the guy is a frord.

    Reply
  8. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 31, 2018

    Damn. Just had to give G two upticks – almost three.

    Reply
  9. Pink David

     /  December 31, 2018

    Clifford Simak got the closest I believe, in his masterpiece, City.

    Given he wrote it in the early 50’s, rather well done.

    Reply
  10. PartisanZ

     /  December 31, 2018

    “There will be an opportunity finally for every youngster, and indeed, every person, to learn what he or she wants to learn. in his or her own time, at his or her own speed, in his or her own way … Education will become fun because it will bubble up from within and not be forced in from without.”

    But no … We’ll persist with the Industrial Revolution Factory School …

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  December 31, 2018

      There already is that opportunity. There’s no reason why school attendance and individualised learning can’t happen, as it already does in many schools, and kids can access the internet as easily as the rest of us to learn what else they want to when they want to. Unfortunately a lot of them just want to learn how to play games. Might be good US killer drone pilots but possibly not much good at anything else.

      Who do you see supervising this bubble up from within learning for the kids? And how do you see Employers working out whether they’re literate and numerate enuf for jobs they applly for?

      Have you got some kind of concept in mind for managing and testing learning to stop kids just playing at it and learning nothing that will earn them a living, or are you just daydreaming?

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  December 31, 2018

        The most listened to TED talk of all time supports PZ’s point in a compelling and entertaining way. Instead of nurturing creativity, industrial revolution era schools have stifled it. I think this may challenge your views and prejudices G. Well worth a listen!

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  December 31, 2018

          Yeah I’ll watch it (I’ve started) but meantime would you answer the question I posed.

          Also could you explain how your school education made you the total failure you are today & incapable of progressing your own learning further in addition to it? Or if this is not the case, why it isn’t the case?

          Reply
          • Conspiratoor

             /  December 31, 2018

            Excellent. Quick response then I’m off for a long walk with TED

            Question – “Could you explain how your school education made you the total failure you are today”

            Answer – I’m a little less than a total failure but I do reflect on what opportunities education beat out of me. More time at school stimulating an interest in dance might have helped

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  December 31, 2018

              Yes I’ve seen it now. I mean, he makes some good points, but like PZ he doesn’t deal with so how a country should manage education in the basics of literacy and numeracy and say the general sciences that most of us need to understand outside of a school environment – leave it up to parents? Leave it up to the kids.

              If the education system worked the way he posits I would have been doing music, because playing by ear comes naturally, and trying to make a living out of that. But back then, given how hard it is to make a living, how much travelling is involved, and how very, very few succeed in making a comfortable living in that area of work – and how much resilience (something I lacked) is required – if I look at that realistically, it wouldn’t have worked out, in all likelihood. It was better to have that as a hobby and play in some bands to work out the dream wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

              Education at school enabled me to get other work that put a roof over our heads and acquire the usuals for the kind of lifestyle we aspired to.

              Some of what he said is basically just comedy, and he focuses on exceptional people, then extrapolates that out to mean that everybody is is exceptionally good in some area. Imo, that’s just not so.

              “All children are naturally creative” is something of a warm fuzzy catch cry that blissfully glosses over a multitude of sins & disasters creative children get up to that often don’t work out so well, so I tend to be a bit leery around buying in to that one.

              It will be interesting to see how education does develop over the next few years because elements of it seem pretty chaotic these days.

              An issue I have with his talking about how drama and dance are undervalued is that he might be interested in it, but for example I’m not remotely interested in drama (apart from movies) and one niece, who uses drama to get her way – everything’s a drama. (When she studied it she wasn’t actually very good because, well, everybody teaching her was hopeless. Apparently. She now works for a talent booking agency in London though, so I guess it worked out ok in the end. It’s handy that she married a chef. At least they eat well.)

              And dance. I hate dance. I think there are limited opportunities in these fields because they don’t interest a lot of people.

            • PartisanZ

               /  December 31, 2018

              An extended family having a picnic on the beach at Normandy is answered by the D-Day landings …

              You’re not interested in drama … apart from movies … and TV dramas … and documentary storylines and commentaries … music videos … sports broadcasting … creative writing … advertising … and political spin-doctoring … and blogging … all based-upon and reliant upon it …

              There are limited opportunities in dance … Perhaps because we’re acculturated to NOT be interested in it …?

            • Gezza

               /  December 31, 2018

              There are limited opportunities in dance … Perhaps because we’re acculturated to NOT be interested in it …?

              No, it’s just never interested me. Or any of me mates. Same with drama. Hated it. Bored me shitless.

            • Gezza

               /  December 31, 2018

              Drawing and art I was pretty good at. Going thru my report cards the other day I was surprised to see a couple of firsts in art. Both my brothers were good at it too, but I’m the only musical one. I was especially keen on cartooning & used to do them for our work in-house mag & colleagues’ farewell cards at one stage. But it wasn’t something there was a lot of call for paid work wise so I eventually lost interest.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  December 31, 2018

              A good summary G. I take your point that some folks are destined to be eternal critics but seem unable to muster up a solution.

              I think the main message here is instead of throwing the young into the academic grinder, give them space to explore and develop their natural talents wherever this takes them. Has to be better than a machine churning out grads with increasingly worthless degrees.

              Some of the most gifted people couldn’t read – Einstein, da Vinci, Beethoven and ask yourself what stimulated innately productive dropouts such as Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg and Ellison?

            • Gezza

               /  December 31, 2018

              Leave Zuckerberg out. His name is crap these days. A cunning, bullshitting rotter of the first order.

            • Gezza

               /  December 31, 2018

              @c

              I think the main message here is instead of throwing the young into the academic grinder, give them space to explore and develop their natural talents wherever this takes them. Has to be better than a machine churning out grads with increasingly worthless degrees.

              Yes, good point. But do we churn out grads with increasingly worthless degrees to the same extent that the US does? And of those degrees that are worthless, don’t they tend to be ones that are worthless because they’re things that people developing their natural talents have created for themselves in the world of genderisational studies & hip hop studies (cos they’re useless at DOING hip hop)?

              What you’re suggesting has big implications for how schools are structured and how much resourcing and what kind of resourcing needs to go into education. Maybe the Labour Werkinggruppe will produce some answers – but given their being so beholden to the teacher unions major change looks unlikely to happen any time soon.

            • duperez

               /  December 31, 2018

              Gezza, you have major change stopped by teacher unions. Have you considered that major change is unlikely to happen any time soon because of the fear of letting educationists who think like Ken Robinson do what they think should happen? Who is going to trust teachers?

              The regime operating in schools today is more likely to be unimaginative technicians trained to think and operate with limitations. That impacts on not just how they operate, but inhibit their even understanding Robinson let alone envision what it means for practice. What he’s on about would be beyond most of them.

              There was a time where the sort of thinking needed to develop approaches he talks about would have been welcomed, an environment which would have saluted and accepted what he sees as important.

              That sort of system, back when, was the basis of acclaim as ‘world class schooling’ and had people around the world using New Zealand as an example of excellence.

              Those days are gone. Ironic that it seems some who killed the golden goose are now complaining that all that’s left is a piece of dried old KFC.

              https://www.nzherald.co.nz/new-zealand-herald-150-years/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503278&objectid=11141612

              https://www.nziff.co.nz/2016/auckland/the-heart-of-the-matter/

            • Blazer

               /  December 31, 2018

              @Con..the first 3 undeniable,irrepressible ..talent..the other 4 ..luck.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  December 31, 2018

            My conservative and regimented school produced more than its share of rebels and risk takers.

            Reply
            • PartisanZ

               /  December 31, 2018

              Let’s extrapolate that logic shall we Alan …

              A return to vicious, socially-stratified, brutal corporal punishment schooling will lead to the advent of more-and-more innovators and entreprenuerial risk-takers … the most desirable members of neoliberal society …?

              War will produce Peace …

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  December 31, 2018

              War is often recognised as producing innovation albeit at huge cost. Extrapolation to absurdity is just that.

          • PartisanZ

             /  December 31, 2018

            @Gezza – ” … could you explain how your school education made you the total failure you are today …”

            Oh jeez Gezza … I wasn’t going to say it but you spout a lot of reactionary bullshit sometimes …

            The above and things like “US drone pilots” further up in reply to mine are applications synonymous with The Consultant’s assertion that believing something might be improved is equivalent to feeling miserable about it …

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  December 31, 2018

              I wonder though if TC was right. You never seem able to articulate how you see your proposed alternative system working. Just the eternal critic.

      • PartisanZ

         /  December 31, 2018

        Lengthy reply to yours required … sometime …

        ” … just playing at it and learning nothing that will earn them a living, …”

        Or alternatively, ” … earning a living that will learn them nothing”?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  December 31, 2018

          If you can’t learn anything while earning a living you’re retarded.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  December 31, 2018

            Where did Parti go to school ? Borstal ? I don’t remember any school remotely resembling his ideas.

            Reply
  11. Gezza

     /  December 31, 2018

    @ duperez

    Gezza, you have major change stopped by teacher unions. Have you considered that major change is unlikely to happen any time soon because of the fear of letting educationists who think like Ken Robinson do what they think should happen? Who is going to trust teachers?

    No, I am thinking that how our current crop of teachers will manage to run an individualised teaching environment structured to the individual talents of every student will be stymied by unions demanding higher pay and more teachers and that will dominate the teachers’ educational landscape, not change in the way they teach, and what they teach.

    The regime operating in schools today is more likely to be unimaginative technicians trained to think and operate with limitations. That impacts on not just how they operate, but inhibit their even understanding Robinson let alone envision what it means for practice. What he’s on about would be beyond most of them.

    Obviously it’s not beyond you, then. I’m interested because I think the idea of structuring all students’ learning individually to their (or their parents’ – “My kid’s a bloody genius, like his dad”) preferences, is a good one, but, how to do it, and what will require are different things than just waffling on about what a cool idea it is, or how necessary it is going to be. For example:
    1. what kind of teachers do you think will be needed?
    2. what kind of certification if any will be needed to ensure they don’t get people who eg can’t do more than paint crude water-colours to teach art?
    3. what core subjects do you think all schools should cover – eg English, Maori, Maths – to what level, NZ history … ?
    4. how could you structure learning in arts at schools so that every kid who wants to do it gets the same opportunities if they live in different school zones

    And remember some kids will always want to be rocket scientists but will never understand maths; others will want to be ballerinas but will have two left feet. Kids wants and dreams and abilities often don’t match.

    There was a time where the sort of thinking needed to develop approaches he talks about would have been welcomed, an environment which would have saluted and accepted what he sees as important.

    There’s always been that time. It’s always been talked about. Why hasn’t it happened to any great degree. If you can answer my questions 1 to 4 above I might be able to get some idea. I think the problem of people coming out of institutions skilled in stuff that pleases them but nobody’s really interested in is a problem for them and whoever has paid for it.

    That sort of system, back when, was the basis of acclaim as ‘world class schooling’ and had people around the world using New Zealand as an example of excellence.

    When was this? Because one thing I remember New Zealand being used as an example of once was providing a good solid free education to all children – and their being able to build on that if they wanted. We did art. We did drama. We did cadets (fkn excellent, got to strip and fire bren guns, not too many schoolkids get to fire machine guns as part of their curriculum these days).j There were all those options for people to pursue at higher education level but the basis of education was certainly to skill you for employment, whether in trades, professions, retail, running your own businesses.

    In other words, to be able to earn a living by providing services that someone wanted and contribute to society in that way. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s how most people have got by. Because they don’t want to take the risk of following dreams that won’t earn them a living, because not enuf people will pay them to do that.

    Those days are gone. Ironic that it seems some who killed the golden goose are now complaining that all that’s left is a piece of dried old KFC.
    Well, what do you mean exactly? Do you want taxpayers to subsidise artists because they can’t pay their way? For example. I mean I like that idea but does it mean they should also pay every kid who wants to start a garage band as well as the NZSO? Every person who wants to flog off oil paintings? Can you just tease that out a bit for me.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 31, 2018

      Mrs Al’s class provides a possible solution. They made a deal that if they finished their year’s normal curriculum in six months they could organise their own studies for the rest of the year. Did all kinds of interesting things.

      Reply
      • PartisanZ

         /  December 31, 2018

        Subversive … I LIKE IT!!!

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  December 31, 2018

          Yep. Mind you, you don’t want to stand between Mrs Al and something she wants. A mere teacher would stand little chance of resisting.

          Reply
          • PartisanZ

             /  December 31, 2018

            I could imagine a stage play or movie based on that storyline:- Teacher makes deal with students … and where each [or a selected few] students learning went …

            Reply
      • Gezza

         /  December 31, 2018

        It’s a good plan. How did they go with the normal curriculum? Did performance rise in that area too? Does she remember Al?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  December 31, 2018

          I gather they all did very well. A lot of Jews in the class. She was mostly interested in telling me the trips she organised and things they made.

          Reply
  1. Isaac Asimov’s 1984 predictions for 2019 — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition
  2. Isaac Asimov’s 1984 predictions for 2019 — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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