The 21st century has not been kind to public institutions of higher education—or to their graduates. While the number of total American undergraduates increased by 34 percent from 2000 to 2013, many of them going to state-run schools, public universities saw their funding cut by 26 percent in the five years following the Great Recession. As enrollment increased and funding was slashed, the job market, which graduates meet upon leaving the nest of the university, significantly diminished due to 2008 financial crisis and its tedious aftermath. More students may be going to college but it’s not clear that they are better prepared for life afterward as a result.
Clyde Prestowitz’s rousing Japan Restored documents the contemporary phenomenon of students, businesspeople, and indeed entire nations “passing over” Japan in favor of supposedly more dynamic and vibrant societies elsewhere in Asia. Like many Japan watchers, Prestowitz finds this to be a curious habit. The thought of passing over a country with a population the size of Britain and France combined, the most technologically advanced military in East Asia, and one of the world’s largest economies seems nothing short of bizarre.