Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture
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Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture

What it Means to Take Japan Seriously

Ronald Dore and D. Hugh Whittaker

Social Evolution, Economic Development and Culture brings together Ronald Dore’s key writings for the first time, making his work accessible across a wide range of social science disciplines. It produces a distinctive perspective with four interlinking themes – technology-driven social evolution, late development, culture and polemics. These are highly topical in the current context of rapid technological innovation and socio-economic change, globalization and accompanying policy choices.
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Chapter 11: The late-development effect in schooling and education

Ronald Dore and D. Hugh Whittaker


* It is time for some general propositions. I will offer three. Other things being equal (we’ll consider what things later), the later development starts (i.e. the later the point in world history that a country starts on a modernization drive): G G G the more widely education certificates are used for occupational selection; the faster the rate of qualification inflation; and the more examination-oriented schooling becomes at the expense of genuine education. Let us look at each of these in turn. . . . THE MORE JOBS DEPEND ON QUALIFICATIONS Chapter 3 has already tried to show how and why educational qualifications counted for more in Japan than in Britain. To be sure, ‘late development’ is not the only factor. Britain’s non-reliance on formal qualifications was extreme, even among early developers, partly, presumably, because Britain has never since Cromwell experienced the sort of modernizing spurt which in Napoleonic France created the Grandes Ecoles, or at least established them in such a position that they soon acquired very important qualifying functions for government and industry. But the ‘late-development effect’ is clear. Certificates undoubtedly counted for more in Sri Lanka in the 1950s than for, say, Japan in the 1910s; more for Kenya in the 1960s than for Sri Lanka in the 1950s. It is easy enough to explain why. Part of it is the later developer’s need to catch up fast - by importing knowledge and skills in formal educational packages. The most important part is the general tendency of the late developer to...

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