The use of school education to educate children to appreciate the free enterprise system has been carefully thought out and is a conscious strategy to win children over at an early and impressionable age. Businesses have been very active in promoting free enterprise values in schools since the 1940s in the US, and since the 1970s in the UK, Canada, Australia and NZ. Their materials encourage an unquestioning acceptance of "the virtues capitalist economic system" rather than a thoughful consideration of "its positive and negative aspects".
Visa Game for School Children
Business, industry and trade associations of industry who want to show the role of industry and its products in the economic system produce teaching aids and teaching units consisting of printed materials, films, record sets, text books, activity books, teachers guides, wall charts, and tests. They also provided speakers, tours, awards programs, and career conferences and programs for secondary school students and symposia, seminars, workshops and panel discussions for college students.
Many school students doing economics courses in school “are learning from textbooks, classroom activities, and websites paid for by corporate donors whose ideological influence goes unrecognised”.
Visa has a website entitled Practical Money Skills for Life which contains lesson plans and other classroom resources. amongst other things, there are lessons on choosing and using credit cards that claim that it is safe to borrow up to 20 percent of a household’s income (after taxes).
Corporate-sponsored economic education, business studies and enterprise education seeks to get young people to view the world through the eyes of employers and assume that what is good for employers is good for them. This is insidious because, whilst it promotes the virtues of the pursuit of self-interest and profit, and therefore raises the status and benefits of business enterprises in the minds of the children, it subverts their ability to look after their own interests in the world of work. Most children and young people will become employees and their interests will often conflict with those of employers and corporate executives. Their self interest may well involve joining unions and fighting management to protect their pay and work conditions, particularly as labour markets around the world are increasingly deregulated.