Phillip Brown

Phillip Brown
Cardiff University | CU · School of Social Sciences

PhD; DSc (Econ)

About

111
Publications
50,099
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
7,369
Citations
Introduction
Additional affiliations
August 1997 - present
Cardiff University
Position
  • Distinguished Research Professor

Publications

Publications (111)
Article
This article examines China's response to issues of social inequity, talent management and social mobility through an analysis of HE policies aimed at transforming China into an innovation nation, alongside the views of corporate managers and executives. Our analysis identifies a positional convergence between China's elite universities and corpora...
Article
A fundamental shift is taking place in the way we think about the future of work and its relationship to education, training and the labour market. Until recently, expanding higher education was widely believed to result in higher earnings, reflecting an insatiable demand for knowledge workers. In the United Kingdom, this race to higher education i...
Book
Full-text available
Human capital theory, or the notion that there is a direct relationship between educational investment and individual and national prosperity, has dominated public policy on education and labor for the past fifty years. In The Death of Human Capital?, Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, and Sin Yi Cheung argue that the human capital story is one of false p...
Poster
Full-text available
Human capital theory, or the notion that there is a direct relationship between educational investment and individual and national prosperity, has dominated public policy on education and labor for the past fifty years. In The Death of Human Capital?, Brown, Lauder and Cheung argue that the human capital story is one of false promise: investing in...
Article
Full-text available
A major focus of sociological research is on the role of the credential as a ‘currency of opportunity’, mediating the relationship between education and occupational destinations. However, the labour market has largely remained a ‘black box’ in sociological and education policy studies. This article draws on ‘big data’ from over 21,000,000 job adve...
Article
This article examines the role of education in alleviating poverty in a context of high rates of income inequalities. It will argue that despite public attention on the incomes of top earners, education policy has been largely silent on the education of elites. Rather it has focused on extending opportunities to those at the other end of the income...
Article
Policy and academic circles in India put forth the argument that the country’s demographic dividend puts it in an optimal position to win the race between education and technology across nations by expanding higher education opportunities. This article examines the recruitment practices of 13 leading corporations in high-growth sectors in India. Ba...
Article
Full-text available
Singapore has a challenge in building an indigenous corporate talent pipeline. This report describes the structure of opportunities in corporations in Singapore that is based on a narrow view of talent ('war for talent'), and recommends alternative skill strategies for building an inclusive corporate landscape.
Article
Full-text available
This paper undertakes a critical theoretical and empirical analysis of the traditional approach to analysing the education-economy relationship: skill bias technological change theory. It argues that while leading skill bias theorists have sought to address some of the anomalies that the theory confronts, there remain key data patterns that the the...
Article
Full-text available
In the current period of perceived digital disruptions, corporations are locked into an intense 'War for Talent' to get talent to drive corporate change. Here we argue that ‘War for Talent’ is in fact a weak model for capability development in times of rapid change, given that it sets itself up on the principle of a scarcity with the assumption tha...
Book
Originally published 1987 Schooling Ordinary Kids looks at the 'invisible majority' of ordinary working-class pupils. The book explains why these pupils are now at the centre of a major educational crisis surrounding the soaring rates of youth unemployment. The book is a timely examination of educational inequalities, unemployment, and the new voca...
Article
This article explores the complex relationship between transnational elites and civil society through examining the contrasting orientations of two cohorts of ‘elite graduates’ from Paris and Oxford. Both cohorts believe their privileged status has been earned through hard work and ability. But they are also aware that they have benefited from adva...
Article
To what extent does morals still matter for students in elite institutions today? Drawing on a comparative ethnography, this article explores the different ways Oxford University and Sciences Po Paris students explain and justify their social status and position. Comparing their social representations of the school system and Labour market, it appe...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In The Global Auction (2011) we describe why the global skills race needs to be rethought as emerging economies including China and India entered the competition for high skilled work, drawing on a significant cost advantage alongside an expanding supply of highly qualified workers. It also highlighted the role of transnational companies (TNCs) in...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines student accounts of credentials, talent and academic success, against a backdrop of the enduring liberal ideal of an education-based meritocracy. The article also examines Bourdieu’s account of academic qualifications as the dominant source of institutionalised cultural capital, and concludes that it does not adequately accoun...
Article
Despite extensive research on the role of ‘personal’ capital on labour market transitions, little is known about how those with elite credentials use networks and connection to improve their labour market chances. This becomes especially relevant within debates on the meritocratic nature of the post-industrial labour market. This article investigat...
Article
Full-text available
There is increasing interest in the emergence of a 'global middle class' in which high achieving young graduates increasingly look to develop careers that transcend national boundaries. This paper explores this issue through comparing and contrasting the aspirations and orientations of two 'elite' cohorts of graduates. Interviews with students at t...
Article
Full-text available
There has been renewed policy interest in intergenerational social mobility as a route to a fairer society, but in ignoring the sociological evidence this article will argue that the current policy agenda will fail to achieve its goal. Based on an analysis of ‘social congestion’, ‘social exclusion’, and ‘social justice’, it also argues that existin...
Article
Full-text available
This article challenges the widely held view that once Britain has tackled the budget deficit it can return to 'business as usual'. Extensive research in several countries including China and India suggests that this is not only wishful thinking but dangerously misguided, especially in a context of high youth unemployment. This article points to a...
Book
Full-text available
For decades, the idea that more education will lead to greater individual and national prosperity has been a cornerstone of developed economies. Challenging this conventional wisdom, The Global Auction forces us to reconsider our deeply held and mistaken views about how the global economy really works and how to thrive in it. The authors show that...
Book
For decades, the idea that more education will lead to greater individual and national prosperity has been a cornerstone of developed economies. Indeed, it is almost universally believed that college diplomas give Americans and Europeans a competitive advantage in the global knowledge wars. Challenging this conventional wisdom, this book forces us...
Chapter
The dominant view today is that we have entered a global knowledge economy, driven by the application of new technologies and collapsing barriers to international trade and investment, accelerating the evolutionary path from a lowto a high-skills economy. Becker (2002) has depicted an ‘age of human capital,’ where the prosperity of individuals and...
Article
This paper examines the development of global skill webs in transnational companies (TNCs). Based on research in seven countries, it argues that skill webs are becoming more strategic in character as companies seek competitive advantage by relocating high-skilled work to low-cost locations. The paper explores the implications of these findings for...
Article
La mise en évidence des biais sociaux à l’oeuvre dans les modalités de sélection, de fabrication et d’évaluation du mérite par les institutions d’enseignement ainsi que dans le rôle des diplômes et des attributs scolaires dans l’accès aux emplois ne date pas d’aujourd’hui. Dès les années 1970, des travaux d’inspiration wébérienne (Bourdieu et Passe...
Article
This paper examines the sociology of education from the perspective of its recent history and attempts to assess the current state of the field. The authors argue that cognate disciplines such as economics and social policy have taken over some of the key questions that were once the preserve of sociology of education. This raises the question of w...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Article
Full-text available
The dominant view today is of a global knowledge-based economy, driven by the application of new technologies, accelerating the shift to high-skilled, high-waged European economies. This view is reflected in the expansion of higher education and the key role of higher education in national and European economic policy. The Lisbon agenda seeks to ma...
Article
This paper is concerned to evaluate the varieties of capitalism approach to global institutional convergence and divergence as represented by the skill formation and welfare state theory of Margarita Estevez-Abe, Torben Iversen and David Soskice. They argue that the configuration of particular skills and labor markets distinctive of national econom...
Article
Incl. abstract & bibl. The rise of information technology coupled with the globalization of the economy has thrust the identity and sovereignty of the nation-state into sharp focus over the last two decades. Against this fast-changing background, the response of many countries has been to develop policies aimed at creating national information infr...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the dominant view of the changing relationship between education, jobs and rewards in the global knowledge economy. This asserts that the developed economies can resolve issues of individual aspirations, economic efficiency and social justice through the creation of a high‐skills, high‐wage ‘magnet’ economy. Here the authors e...
Article
Full-text available
The challenge confronting governments around the world today is to enhance the employability of the workforce. Every effort must be made to expand access to higher education, disregard social circumstances, gender, and other such barriers to talent, and to harness human creativity and enterprise to meet the demands of the new economy. However, peop...
Article
This paper advances the position that sociology needs to develop an approach to research which focuses on fundamental social problems. In doing so it shares many of the intellectual values and goals of political arithmetic while seeking to move methodologically beyond it. Since such problems are complex they will require, typically, interdisciplina...
Chapter
Positionaler Wettbewerb um Bildungszertifikate und Arbeitsplätze ist ein wichtiges Feld soziologischer Forschung. Allerdings ist der Einfluss ökonomischer Globalisierung auf den Wettstreit um die Sicherung des Lebensunterhaltes bisher nur unzureichend untersucht worden. Hierbei handelt es sich jedoch um eine wichtige Frage für die soziologische Ana...
Article
Full-text available
Incl. abstract, bib. This article examines the concept of employability. The recent policy emphasis on employability rests on the assumption that the economic welfare of individuals and the competitive advantage of nations have come to depend on the knowledge, skills and enterprise of the workforce. Those with degree-level qualifications are seen t...
Article
Full-text available
This article is based on the Keynote Address to ECER, Lisbon, Portugal, 11-14 September 2002. The opportunity to make a better life is enshrined in democratic societies. In recent decades the growth in personal freedom and the rhetoric of the knowledge economy have led many to believe that we have more opportunities than ever before. We are told th...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the issues, challenges and prospects for 'high' skill formation in a context of economic globalisation, technological change and the fall-out from the Asian financial crisis. This crisis led many Western commentators to predict a global convergence based on a shareholder model of market capitalism. Such a convergence is also p...
Chapter
Gaylord Freeman retired from being chairman of the board of the First National Bank of Chicago in the mid-1970s. In describing what a career meant for his life he explained how he had worked for the bank all his working life. He tried to be in the office by 6.45 a.m. each day until five-thirty or six. He explained: ‘I haven’t played bridge in thirt...
Chapter
At the beginning of the twenty-first century a return to regular full employment is little more than a pipe dream. Unemployment and non-standard forms of work, including part-time, temporary and contract employment are as much a part of the economic landscape as the rust-belt, silicon valley and the Dow Jones Index. Nevertheless, some commentators...
Chapter
The euphoria which followed the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 led a number of commentators to announce the ‘end of history’. Western capitalism had not only assigned communism to the archives of world history, but had also offered a final vindication that a market economy was the only way to deliver prosperity, democracy and social justice...
Chapter
In John Maynard Keynes’ essay on the ‘Economic possibilities for our grandchildren’, he suggested that from the early eighteenth century, greed, self-interest and market individualism have been necessary evils to advance the material prosperity of modern societies. In the post-war period this form of social deception appeared to be paying dividends...
Chapter
We have reached a tantalizing moment in Western history. We live in an age of extraordinary wealth, of technological revolution, of a global compression of time and space, of great transformation in our secret worlds of dreams, aspirations, desires and expectations for self-fulfilment, love and sense of purpose, of new gender relations and ways of...
Chapter
Economic prosperity now depends on the capacity of nations to take a high skills route which utilizes the collective intelligence of their people.1 We need to create a virtuous circle of rising skill levels, increasing wages based on gains in productivity, and the obliteration of poverty through an investment in the collective intelligence of socie...
Chapter
In previous chapters we have looked at the foundations of economic nationalism. Now we need to see how the state was able to build on these foundations to produce the so called ‘golden era’. To do so we need to go back to the close of the Second World War. For it was the lessons learned during the war the enabled consensus about the future directio...
Chapter
The nineteenth-century German philosopher, Friedrich Hegel, observed that the strengths that build great nations invariably become obsessions which eventually destroy them. In America and Britain we have argued that the dominant response to the transformation of social and economic life has been to return to the first principles of western capitali...
Chapter
In 1915, enthusiastic crowds at the San Francisco ‘Palace of Transportation’ rioted in their eagerness to see a working replica of Ford’s new Highland Park assembly line.’ In their excitement at Ford’s technological novelty the citizens of San Francisco could hardly have imagined that over the next sixty years Ford’s production line was to change t...
Chapter
The monolithic nature of the modern corporation evoked the same feeling that one gets sitting on a jumbo jet waiting for it to take off, it is simply too big to crash. For millions of employees and their families the corporation had become a life support machine. The massive expansion of the middle class in the post-war period was, after all, a pro...
Chapter
The road to primitive capitalism is the road to Barbarism. Its naked market logic exaggerates social differences, insecurities and human greed. Primitive capitalism feeds off the fears of personal and national economic catastrophe which at the same time serves to protect the very forces that perpetuate this danger. But what of the opponents of prim...
Chapter
In August 1941 two old men sat on deck chairs on board a ship off the coast of Newfoundland. One was wearing a homburg and puffing a cigar, the other had a blanket over his knees and, as old men often do, they were putting the world to rights. They were talking of building a new world order of which the principles of national self determination, ec...
Chapter
Michael Milken came from modest family circumstances to gain international fame and fortune. In 1986 he ‘earned’ $550 million dollars trading ‘junk bonds’ on the world’s financial markets. Along with the likes of other entrepreneurs and corporate raiders such as Donald Trump, Alan Bond, Robert Maxwell, Genshiro Kawamoto, he came to symbolise a new...
Chapter
In 1867 Horatio Alger published his first book Ragged Dick, which was aimed at teaching the virtues of enterprise, responsibility, patience, hard work, honesty and ambition to juveniles who would shape the American nation. The main characters in Alger’s books, and there were many, all achieve success through the victory of character over social cir...
Chapter
In a survey of the moral and spiritual worlds of ‘middle’ Americans, Robert Bellah and his colleagues concluded that if there was a selfish ‘me generation’ in America they did not find it. But what they did find was that the language of individualism, as the primary language of self-understanding, limited the ways in which people think.’ In another...
Article
Why are America and Britain wealthier than ever but millions of children live in poverty, neighbourhoods want for basic amenities and the middle classes fear for their families, jobs and futures? The answer is not to be found in globalization, technological innovation, or our personal failings to adapt to changing circumstances as we are so often t...
Article
Full-text available
Positional competition for credentials and jobs has been a major focus of sociological inquiry. However, there has been little attempt to examine the impact of economic globalisation on competition for a livelihood. This is an important question for sociological analysis as centre-left Modernisers, including New Labour in Britain and the Democrats...
Article
Positional competition for credentials and jobs has been a major focus of sociological inquiry. However, there has been little attempt to examine the impact of economic globalisation on competition for a livelihood. This is an important question for sociological analysis as centre-left Modernisers, including New Labour in Britain and the Democrats...
Article
Full-text available
This paper seeks to develop a methodology for the comparative study of the political economy of skill formation with a particular focus on policies designed to develop routes to a high skills economy. It is argued that the advanced economies face a series of ‘pressure points’ in common which can only be addressed by making a series of policy trade‐...
Article
Incl. index, bibliographical references, further reading, list of contributors, biographical notes on the editors
Article
This paper critically examines two trajectories for economic development under the new global economic competition: the neo‐Fordist route of the New Right and the post‐Fordist route of centre‐left Modernizers. It is argued that both positions are unlikely to achieve economic prosperity and equality of opportunity for all, although there are element...
Article
Full-text available
The dominant forms of cultural capital associated with middle class access to `bureaucratic' careers are being devalued due to credential inflation and changing patterns of symbolic control within employing organizations. At the same time, the demand for cultural capital in the reproduction of class location has increased in a context of volatile g...
Article
The dominant forms of cultural capital associated with middle class access to 'bureaucratic' careers are being devalued due to credential inflation and changing patterns of symbolic control within employing organizations. At the same time, the demand for cultural capital in the reproduction of class location has increased in a context of volatile g...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Editors: Wing On Lee, Phillip Brown, A. Lin Goodwin & Andy Green The last two decades have witnessed significant changes in the education landscape worldwide and in the Asia Pacific regions. Overhauls in education have taken place in order to adapt to rapidly changing economies which are often described as ‘VUCA’ (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), featuring rapid turnovers of job types and an uncertainty in economic restructuring. This has led to education reforms in many countries that focus on equipping the younger generation with 21 st century competences, generic skills and global competences, based on UNESCO’s four pillars of education – ‘Learning to know’, ‘Learning to do’, ‘Learning to live together’ and ‘Learning to be’. Currently, the education curricula in many countries are evolving rapidly to keep pace with increasing social, economic and environmental complexities and developments as a result of the fourth industrial revolution. Results which have direct impact in terms of an increased prominence of artificial intelligence (AI), digitalisation and data analytics, which are not only used for science and technology development, but also in industrial and commercial production, aspects which will be integrated into our daily lives. The higher education sector has also experienced expansion, one that is characterised by massification and even post-massification movements. Yet, neo-liberalism, as demonstrated by managerialism, entrepreneurship and governance, and accountability have major impacts on the measurement of university achievements. University rankings have also become a significant driving force that affect the ecology of higher institutions. As well, lifelong learning has grown significantly across countries, with many universities offering continuing and professional education programmes. These programmes not only offer upskilling training for the workforce to cope with changing economies, but also offer certification and degree programmes. Despite significant educational development, it has been pointed out by many observers that social and educational inequities have widened, not only in countries where th