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Higher Edn is Elephant In the Room

Intellectual Stagnation in Development Research

The heavy lifting has been done and the solution for persistent underdevelopment in postcolonial countries now exists. It’s called the Implicit Curriculum of Higher Education and the full details are on our site. All that remains to be done is to implement it so that developing countries can begin to indigenously supply the effective managerial leadership required for development in the quantities they need instead of relying on scarce expatriates from the West and China.


For 2 years, the guardians of the development space such as academia, the World Bank, IMF, and others have been aware of our breakthrough solution that is based on their own foundational premises and empirical facts. Yet, the solution is ignored. Instead, the source of underdevelopment that the solution targets remains a taboo subject, the “elephant in the room” that every major player in the development space actively avoids like the plague. These experts are yet to inform the world of how a problem can be solved by avoiding its cause in all their investigations.


The source of underdevelopment is the shortage of effective managerial leadership. Developing countries cannot indigenously meet their need for effective managerial leadership. They have to rely on expatriate agents in the quantities they can afford or tolerate, which is much smaller than the numbers required to develop. Underdevelopment is persistent because the shortage of effective managerial leadership is permanent.


At the same time, the constantly implied promise of higher education is that it will provide such leadership systematically. It is the default and only source of supplying indigenous managerial leadership. But the promise has proven empty. Developing countries have accumulated higher education graduates in large numbers who cannot provide the managerial leadership of expatriate agents who operate successfully in their midst under the same conditions that allegedly hold locals back.


In effect, higher education has served developing countries as technical or vocational training with a fancy name. Poverty, corruption, bad governance, instability, dependence on the advanced economies, and hopelessness for the masses are merely the symptoms of the attempt to operate the economic model imposed by colonialism without effective managerial leadership and with technical knowledge alone.


Underdevelopment is therefore not a failure of developing countries. It is a failure of education that promises to deliver such leadership but consistently fails to do so, not recently but never. This is the problem that our solution addresses. But it is also the problem that the guardians of the development space actively avoid and deny, a position that is quietly endorsed by the deafening silence of the privileged educated elite in developing countries.

 So as the vast majority of the human population languishes in the degradation and hopelessness of persistent underdevelopment, the guardians of the development space continue to perpetuate the false hope that they’re doing “something” about it at the highest intellectual level, that they’re making incremental progress towards a solution. Nothing can be further from the truth. 


Despite the size of the resources that it consumes and the hope of humanity invested in it, the development space has remained intellectually stagnant since the 1950s when Robert Solow narrowed down the underdevelopment problem to the concept of TFP.[1] No other area in the study of the human condition has remained so gratuitously and wantonly stagnant. At the same time, organizations in the development space have become increasingly bold in their complete disregard for reality.


For example, the highest award in the field of economics, the Nobel Prize, has been awarded several times for “underdevelopment” while the problem remains unchanged. Huh? As if that’s not bad enough, the latest recipient has the temerity to openly claim that there can be no “grand theory” or solution that can solve underdevelopment.[2] A statement that happens to be false.


Every approach to the underdevelopment problem has failed miserably exactly because they have been piecemeal. And it’s been obvious for a long time that the sum total of ALL piecemeal “solutions” does not add up to a viable grand solution. By definition, a grand solution is whatever will predictably and systematically make the indigenes of a developing country perform as effectively as the expatriate agents who already operate in their midst. Given the seriousness of underdevelopment in our world, the search for a grand solution should have been the singular, unrelenting commitment of the development space with the urgency of the Manhattan Project. Not temporarily but permanently until such a solution is found. That hasn’t happened. But there’s no need for that anymore, as all the work is already done by us.


Nevertheless, to claim that no grand solution can exist is not only the epitome of the arrogance of “knowing everything”, it condemns developing countries–the vast majority of humanity–to eternal penury. The same intellectually bankrupt echo chamber that allowed such a declaration without challenge is the same one that peddles doomed-to-fail MDGs and SDGs that give the appearance of incremental R&D progress in the development space while in fact, they are activities irrelevant to solving the problem.


Worse yet is the unprovoked announcement by the World Bank in 2016 not to use the term “developing country” any longer for describing the global south.[3] Mainly because middle-income countries are comparable with low-income countries according to the Bank’s subjective measures. 


It was a shocking broadcast that the World Bank is not only in denial of the essence of underdevelopment, but also engaged to classify it out of existence. The realistic interpretation of their premise is that middle-income Malaysia is more like the US than low-income Malawi because Malaysia has a wider and deeper penetration of expatriate managerial leadership in its economy than Malawi, where expatriate penetration is meager and sparse. This fact can’t be wished away. Middle-income and low-income countries merit the “developing countries” designation precisely because both are almost totally dependent on expatriates and the diaspora of developed countries for effective managerial leadership, with no means to attain self-sufficiency. Furthermore, the so-called middle-income trap exists because middle-income countries either can’t afford or tolerate the additional level of expatriate penetration needed to raise them to developed status.


The World Bank announcement signals that “higher education for development” is an empty slogan the Bank itself does not believe in. And that the only means to indigenously fill the dire shortage of managerial leadership in developing countries is not expected to work–FOREVER. What an “uplifting” message from an organization with the primary directive to reduce poverty.


Research in the development space has proven to be self-serving dynamism that is tuned out from the real problem. If the situation was not so serious, if the suffering of billions of people was not involved, all of this would be hilariously comical. The time for change is long past due.


[1] “What Is the Basic Theory of Robert Solow?”

[2] “Nobel Winner feels no grand theory can explain underdevelopment”

[3] “The World Bank is eliminating the term ‘developing country’ from its data vocabulary”

Why countries are rich and poor
Implicit Knowledge of Economic Model
Education for Development
Unmasking Implicit Knowledge
The Implicit Curriculum
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Why countries are rich and poor
Implicit Knowledge of Economic Model
Education for Development
Unmasking Implicit Knowledge
The Implicit Curriculum
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Addressing the Wealth and Poverty of Nations

The economic model of the Industrial Revolution began in the 18th century. This model introduced machine manufacturing and modern industry to serve human needs. But the Industrial Revolution was a lot more than technology. It was the introduction of a new language. A language driven by the same human capacity used for speaking and writing.

Ever since that time, economic development has separated nations in our world. Nations in the West and a few in Asia (China included) now express the language of the economic model fluently. As a result, they have enjoyed continuous economic development.  while the majority of humanity has lagged behind and have lived in persistent underdevelopment. There has been no means for them to learn the language required to operate the industrial revolution with success.  That is the SINGULAR reason why some countries are rich and most are poor.

The countries that are fluent in the language of the economic model, developed countries, do not see their own development in the way we present it here. As a result, they do not have a way for even their own people to deliberately acquire the language of the economic model. Instead, some believe they are developed because they have superior intelligence or because they hold superior moral values.

But Human Rethink sees it that way. When compared with developing countries, developed countries consistently interpret the economic model correctly and respond with expressions that create results measurable as effective management, administration, entrepreneurship, and innovation that sustain and propagate development. Maintaining such vigilance on a permanent, ongoing  basis is too demanding to be a matter of conscious will. Instead, it has to be an unconscious process acquired in their culture. The only other human phenomenon that comes close to that is the use of language.

The language of the economic model is not taught in formal education. So, it must be acquired passively in the cultures of developed countries. That is why the economic model has not been thought of in that way, and the reason why conventional education is not enough to impart the language to others and developing countries continue to accumulate large numbers of higher education graduates while underdevelopment and its symptoms remain persistent. 

We believe the ability to express the economic model fluently is based on the human ability to use language. Human beings of every race and in every nation already use language. So, people everywhere meet the basic requirement for expressing the economic model fluently. But because cultures are different, there has been no means for developing countries to passively acquire the language of the economic model regardless of the quality of conventional education they receive. 

For developing countries, education that does not impart the language of the economic model amounts to technical training, good only for getting a job. It does not impart competency in the managerial, administrative, and entrepreneurial abilities needed to create good, enduring jobs in the economy and to maintain and improve infrastructure or to operate social institutions efficiently.

Human Rethink has come up with a way for developing countries to integrate the language of the economic model with their existing ability to use language. This new way of learning is called The Implicit Curriculum of Higher Edition.  With our solution, persistent underdevelopment in our world and its symptoms of economic stagnation, instability, and poverty can become a thing of the past. 

The hard work has been done. All that remains is to adopt the Implicit Curriculum. That is why this website exists and why the Human Rethink Podcast exists. We ask that you join us to make this happen.

What is Development?

What is development & Underdevelopment?

Development is the rise of a nation to meet the West and other developed countries as an economic equal based on the managerial and entrepreneurial leadership of its own indigenous people, as China is doing—Human Rethink Underdevelopment is a permanent shortage of the effective managerial leadership needed for development because such leadership is not imparted by the only known means for doing so, which is higher education.  While higher education imparts technical skills to graduates, it has not imparted the competitive managerial and entrepreneurial leadership ability that will raise productivity and create jobs for the type of prosperity seen in developed countries.  So, developing countries have to import competent managerial leadership (expatriates) from developed countries in scarce numbers. Underdevelopment is persistent because of a dire shortage of effective managerial leadership that cannot be remedied with any known method, until now—Human Rethink

Why is higher education ineffective for development?

The term “higher education for development” suggests that higher education is the incubator of the managerial leadership needed for development. But while it has proven useful for imparting the technical knowledge of development, it has been ineffective for training the managers, supervisors, and entrepreneurs of development. That’s because higher education does not impart the language of the economic model, which is indispensable for the effective expression of the model. Otherwise, developing countries would be developed by now. After all, many of their people have obtained contemporary higher education either at home or from developed countries.  So, nothing is wrong with the people of developing countries, and higher education is ineffective for development because it is missing the component that is most important for developing countries. Higher education may impart technical knowledge. But the autonomous behaviors labeled as management, administration, or entrepreneurship are too complex and contingent to be effectively expressed with technical knowledge alone. Such expressions can be successfully made on a consistent basis only under the direction of the same ability that makes spoken language possible. Such training is not supplied by conventional education at any level, including the best quality of higher education.  On the other hand, the cultures of developed countries passively integrate the economic model with the language ability of the members of that culture. But due to cultural difference, developing countries have no means to acquire the language of the economic model no matter how much education their people receive. That is the problem the Implicit Curriculum addresses—Human Rethink

The Implicit Curriculum of Higher Education


Colonialism imposed the technical aspects of the economic model of the West on post-colonial countries. But it could not impose the foreign language of the economic model because developed countries never perceived their economic power in that way. As mentioned, the economic model of the industrial revolution which began in the 18th century was more than technology. It also introduced a language that even its most fluent users, till this day, do not know that they’re using because they passively acquire it in their culture. There has not been a way for people from other cultures to acquire this language. That is the singular cause of persistent underdevelopment in the global south.

Learning to fluently use a foreign or second language means that the second language has been integrated with the human ability that enabled the use of the first language. But a foreign language can’t be directly taught. Competence in a foreign language can only be acquired [1]. So, the Implicit Curriculum (IC) does not attempt to directly teach the foreign language of the economic model either.

Instead, the language of the economic model is imparted to students by the Implicit Curriculum in the same way that a person acquires a foreign language. According to Stephen Krashen, competence in a foreign language emerges in the student through the provision of a large amount of “comprehensible input,” which is input about the use of the language that is understood by the student. As that happens, the existing ability of the student to use their primary language automatically supplies the grammar that is required to interpret the foreign language. With a steady supply of comprehensible input, acquisition of the language becomes “inevitable, unavoidable, and cannot be prevented” [1].

The Implicit Curriculum uses the same process to impart the language of the economic model. 

Persistent underdevelopment shows that the professional training of higher education is of little value for indigenous development, since all it seems to do is teach technical skills only. The technical skills required for development are abundant in developing countries already. So, the Implicit Curriculum is a replacement for undergraduate education in its entirety. Graduates of the IC will competently manage and administer technical knowledge in the same way that expatriates from the global north  sit at the top of the food chain in developing countries.

Because of its cognitive demands, the same qualifications needed to enroll in higher education are needed to enroll in the IC. In the program, the student must render executive level decisions on dozens of controversial real-world situations that add up to the same amount of learning credits required for an undergraduate degree over a 4-year period. In the literature review for each topic, the student will discover the concepts and policies behind each controversy, and their history. These are the basic inputs supplied by the IC. 

In 5 simultaneous research projects per semester, and under faculty supervision, the student of the IC will organize, analyze, and synthesize input from his or her own library research about controversial topics in the economic model of a developed country for the purpose of resolving them. The literature review, analyses, and conclusions for each topic are then presented in writing to demonstrate  that the components of the topic are understood and that the solution is logically and morally well reasoned. 

There’s nothing strange about this process and there’s already a name for it. It’s called the controversy-centered capstone (CCC). According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities, the capstone is the crown jewel of liberal higher education[2]. And they’re not shy about heaping praise on its cognitive benefits, interdisciplinary learning, and coherent  knowledge integration. But the capstone is currently only a single course in the final year of undergraduate education. A single dose is of no value for imparting the language of the economic model because it is too weak and meagre. The IC accomplishes the best intentions of the liberal curriculum in a manner that higher education has only promised to developing countries by replacing all  other jewels in the crown with capstone jewels. And in the manner of the trivium and quadrivium of the Europe of old, technical training that is stripped of the liberal arts becomes optional specialization after graduation in the IC. Such optional training will thereby take a shorter time to complete than is currently the case.

Also, supervision of IC courses is to be conducted by faculty in higher education institutions in developed countries. That’s because the measure of economic success for a developing country is the standard seen in developed countries. The IC is about results, not politics. Learning is made local with  Enrichment Classes. 

By these means, the student discovers the details and complexities of the economic model in a quantity that isn’t provided by conventional education. Through research, analyses, argument, and written presentations, these inputs will be comprehended to expand, correct, and reinforce what the student knows about how the world works and how it could work.  With time, these rigorous exercises will train the student to decipher modular cognitive patterns and regularities (or grammar) for how to use the economic model in his or her own unique way for effective contingent expression. Over 4 years, so much “comprehensible input” from so many areas of the economic model will take place that the integration of explicit knowledge of the economic model with the existing ability of the student to use language is “inevitable, unavoidable, and cannot be prevented.” Yes, in the same way that a foreign spoken language is acquired.

The mechanism of spoken language is not fully understood and has been the subject of endless controversy at least since Noam Chomsky introduced the field of modern linguistics. Likewise, the mechanism of the language of the economic model in the mind is equally speculative. But it’s clear that the concepts and content of the economic model are more numerous, varied, dispersed, and more subtle than those of a spoken language. Only the governance of our language ability can automatically organize and manage such complexity for coherent expression. The economic model cannot be reliably expressed on a continuous basis with technical knowledge alone. Which is what developing countries have tried to do and failed. Nobody can do that. The success of developed countries show that they’re language-faculty-driven economiesThe IC is the way for developing countries to become as efficient, so they too can escape persistent underdevelopment and middle-incomeHuman Rethink

[1] Stephen D. Krashen, The Input Hypothesis: Issues and Implications (New York: Longman Press, 1985): 80.

[2] Association of American Colleges & Universities. “Capstones & Signature Work.” Accessed Sep 21, 2019.

The Inclusive Theory of Change

The Implicit Curriculum, along with the Inclusive Theory of Change derived from it, constitute a higher-order paradigm that is proven true by the performance of graduates in the real world as effective managers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. In contrast, conventional explanations have served to only explain the status quo. They include biological, moral, statistical, psychological, mathematical, and economic explanations. Compared to the Implicit Curriculum, conventional explanations are ineffective placeholders that have failed to make development happen. They have failed because they do not challenge the narrative of ‘higher education for development’ in developing countries and, instead, divert attention away from ineffective education by citing causes that ultimately hold developing countries responsible for their plight. Moreover, conventional explanations cannot be falsified—Human Rethink

Development and Total Factor Productivity

Although more specific that Adam Smith’s “invisible hand,” the concept of TFP (Total Factor Productivity) marks the boundary of what is objectively known about the difference between development and underdevelopment, beyond which redundant speculations begin. To be useful, any answer to the TFP puzzle must translate into a means for equalizing productivity differences between developed and developing countries. The Implicit Curriculum does that—Human Rethink

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