Today, technology (once again) appears capable of reducing labor force participation, in the near future. However, it won't be as easy for fiscal policy - much of which still includes the compensation of knowledge based services - to "come to the rescue". This is problematic, in that services formation has been a greater contributor to growth than traditional manufacture, for decades - particularly in developed nations.
Fortunately, broad educational integration proved to be a strong contributing factor, for greater labor force participation in the twentieth century. Increased services formation also smoothed over losses in agricultural employment, as work on the farm gradually became a small percentage of the population. Small wonder, that the progressive movement gained momentum which resulted in real knowledge based gains. But how much of this desire to "bring education to the masses", was more about the creation of educational jobs, as governments benefited from technological wealth?
Education remains vitally important, in spite of the fact its current configuration is generating doubts. "Education as access" (to a crowded general equilibrium) is less certain, in worldwide economic circumstance which now include excessive monetary tightening. Among other problems, education's current organizational capacity, will prove less capable of contributing to long term growth.
Granted, some degree of formal education will remain tenable, but a growing number of nations may not be able to sufficiently maintain asymmetric compensation for knowledge use. The progressive format for education is no longer enough. Not only is formal education too open ended for a wide range of actual work patterns, but education as experiential product was largely abandoned, in favor of the product of access. As a result, real value is in danger of being lost, for multiple disciplines of which their greatest contribution is in the form of experiential product.
Education needs a more direct connection with daily life, in order to overcome the new technological divide of the 21st century. In an earlier era, fiscal support for educational capacity perhaps made more sense. But today, education needs to come into its own - in terms of pragmatic challenges and experiential challenges as well. A marketplace for time value - in particular - would allow education to become better integrated with everyday life.
If educational capacity hasn't sufficiently evolved, there's also the fact that widespread knowledge use potential is a relatively new circumstance. This value in use potential need not be a threat, to the value in exchange services systems which define today's most prosperous cities and regions. The fact that not everyone can live in the most desirable regions of the world, should be incentive enough to bring knowledge use to those who have inadvertently been shut out from wealth and prosperity. Should this occur, education and knowledge use could gain the ability to overcome the technological - and social - divide of the 21st century.