“The first half of the Age Of Commerce appears to be peculiarly splendid. The ancient virtues of courage, patriotism, and devotion to duty are still in evidence. The nation is proud, united, and full of self confidence. Boys are still required, first of all, to be manly- to ride, to shoot straight, and to tell the truth. (It is remarkable what emphasis is placed, at this stage, on the manly virtue of truthfulness, for lying is cowardice- the fear of facing up to the situation.)
Boy’s schools are intentionally rough. Frugal eating, hard living, breaking the ice to have a bath and similar customs are aimed at producing a strong, hardy, and fearless breed of men. Duty is the word constantly drummed into the heads of young people.”
XV: The Age Of Affluence-
“There does not appear to be any doubt that money is the agent which causes the decline of this strong, brave, and self-confident people. The decline in courage, enterprise, and a sense of duty, however, gradual.
The first direction in which wealth injures the nation is a moral one. Money replaces honour and adventure as the objective of the best young men. Moreover, men do not normally seek to make money for their country or their community, but for themselves. Gradually and almost imperceptibly, the Age of Affluence silences the voice of duty. The object of the young and the ambitious is no longer fame, honour, or service, but cash.
Education undergoes the same gradual transformation. No longer do schools aim at producing brave patriots ready to serve their country. Parents and students alike seek the educational qualifications which command the highest salaries.”
The last one kicks me right in the nuggets. Out of 34 OECD countries we ranked fifth in spending per student. However we ranked 26th in math, 21st in science, and 17th in reading.