Alan Johnson’s solution to youth crime (http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,,2026571,00.html) will just move the problem around. No matter how educated the workforce, some people will be needed for low paid jobs in cleaning, retail, and personal care. A tenth of the workforce will need to do the bottom tenth of jobs: they will go to those with the worst credentials in terms of qualifications, experience and so on.
Last year 10% of full-time jobs paid less than £244 per week. 10% of 18-21 year olds in full-time work earned less than £184 per week, and if, remembering the UK’s lack of social mobility, they stay in the bottom 10% they’ll never earn more than £277 per week . That’s £14,400 per year. Given the prevailing culture of consumption and money proving people’s worth, I’m not surprised some resort to crime.