Author(s): David Goodhart
A good society needs a balance between aptitudes relating to Head (cognitive), Hand (manual/craft) and Heart (caring/emotional). In recent decades in Western societies they have got out of kilter. One form of human aptitude -cognitive ability - has become the gold standard of human esteem. The cognitive class now shapes society, and largely in its own interests- in the knowledge economy, the over-expansion of higher education and in the very idea of a successful life. To put it bluntly- smart people have become too powerful.
David Goodhart, who in his last book described the divide between the worldviews of the Anywheres and Somewheres, now reveals the story of a cognitive takeover that has gathered pace in the past forty years. As recently as the 1970s most people left school without qualifications, now in the UK almost 40 per cent of jobs are graduate-only. He shows how we are now reaching 'Peak Head' as the knowledge economy needs fewer knowledge workers, yet there is a crisis of recruitment in caring jobs.
A democratic society that wants to avoid widespread disaffection must respect and reward a broad range of achievement covering both cognitive and non-cognitive aptitudes, and must provide meaning and value for people who cannot, or do not want to, achieve in the classroom and professional career market. This is the story of the struggle for status and dignity in the 21st century.