We Need The Liberal Arts More Than Ever In Today’s Digital World, Fareed Zakaria Says

A liberal arts education is the best preparation for many careers, especially in the U.S., given today’s global technology-driven economy, CNN host Fareed Zakaria says.

“The future of a country like the U.S. rests on our ability to master how technology interacts with how humans live, work and play,” Zakaria said to The WorldPost. “And that depends on skills fostered by the liberal arts, such as creativity, aesthetic sensibility and social, political and psychological insight.”

Because of tough economic times, the rising cost of higher education and an increasingly competitive job market, too many Americans — and American politicians — are turning away from the liberal arts under a false perception that they are a poor career option, Zakaria says.

In his new book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, Zakaria writes that America’s success was built on a liberal arts education — on multidisciplinary study for the sake of learning rather than vocational study for the sake of a set career path. Liberal arts subjects — such as English, philosophy and political science — teach people how to think, write and communicate; those skills remain useful through the many twists and turns of a career in today’s ever-changing digital economy, he argues. And, he says, it is dangerous to overemphasize STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education as separate from or more important than the liberal arts.

Rather than pitting the liberal arts against STEM, Zakaria says, there should be more cross-pollination between the two groupings. Creativity and innovation occur when disciplines cross paths, he says. There are numerous examples of this in Silicon Valley. Facebook co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who was a psychology major before he dropped out of Harvard University, said Facebook is “as much psychology and sociology as it is technology.”

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