The Classical Economist View on the Importance of Education

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The world has recorded an improvement in the living standards over the last millennium, most of which can be attributed to the embracing education around the world. Education is a powerful instrument with a huge potential to increase opportunity for individual, community, and countries. It involves the refinement of human resource to explore its infinite potentials to achieve sustenance. It has huge potential to increase human capital in the labor force and also improve the innovative capacity of an economy.

Because of the significant impact of education to economic development over the years, early scholars even acknowledged education as a very relevant form of investment in human capital and continue to propose means to explore its effectiveness to improve economic growth and eliminate poverty. Plato for example recognized education is important for the right use of wealth and considers education one of the greatest priorities in human life. Bessarion was also an early prominent figure that made the connection of production and techno-logical education, recognizing the economic significance of education (Lampros 1930, vol. IV.). The Mercantilist emphasized a rudimentary educational system with practical orientation and efforts to improve the existing infrastructure. And the Physiocrats advocated a system of education that stresses a political system in accordance with the natural order.

In the pre-modern era, collective investment in human capital was not considered important to any country. People, communities and government spent less on schooling, on-the-job training and other forms of human capacity improvement. However, the industrial revolution witness a more systematic investment in human capital as s...

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