Source: Fortune, Mar 2012
Incomes in the broad middle have gone nowhere for more than 20 years after rising slowly but steadily through most of the 20th century
. Why? Many theories have been advanced, but the one that holds up best is set out by Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz in articles and a book, The Race Between Education and Technology. The economy continually demands higher-level skills from workers, they argue, and for most of the 20th century the U.S. workforce kept up. In 1900 few people stayed in school past eighth grade; by 1970 a large majority finished high school, and many went on to college. American workers became the world’s best-educated and earned the rewards.
The problem is that the middle class isn’t supplying the new skills that the world is demanding.