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Education, Meritocracy and the Global War for Talent

Brown, P. and Tannock, S.

Talk of the rise of a global war for talent and emergence of a new global meritocracy has spread from the literature on human resource management to shape nation-state discourse on managed migration and immigration reform. This article examines the implications that the global war for talent have for education policy. Given that this talent war is a product of neoliberalism, it raises many of the same concerns for educators as neoliberalism in general: the embrace and promotion of social, economic and educational inequality; and a narrow, market-based conception of education, skill and talent. This article argues, however, that the global war for talent represents a new phase in neoliberalism, as it seeks to liberalise the global movement not just of capital and commodities, but of high skill labour as well. In this, it threatens to undercut some of the founding assumptions and goals that have shaped national education policy in OECD countries throughout the post-World War II period, and raises serious concerns for how we are to think about and pursue equality, inclusion and fairness in and through education in the future.

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