Effects of Illiteracy on a Societal Level in Canada in “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society”
Ka Ho Hui
Mr. Anthony Dayton EAC150IE College English November 3, 2011
Illiteracy in Canada not only affects the individual, but it has major consequences on economy, social and political for Canadian society.
1. The economics of the country depends heavily on the productivity and the ability to best allocate resources.
a. Illiterates have low productivity compare to the skilled workforce.
i. Even janitors need to read
ii. Couldn’t read the instruction from the management.
b. Illiterates increase the cost of health system and other social assistance.
i. They lack the information regarding general health care.
ii. They could not read the warning label result in higher accident rates
iii. Illiterates need more support from the social assistance.
2. Social problems like the crime rates and the cost of social services like health system will be increased by illiterates.
a. Illiterates being both victims and criminals
i. Easy to fall victim to fraud. They have to believe what the other people said.
ii. Illiterates will most likely have low incomes and have to buy brand-name groceries. The result is increased number of robbery
3. The government will not be able to act for and represent the people of the country if illiterates could not make informed decisions in terms of who to vote.
a. Most of the illiterates do not vote.
i. They do not have a mean to acquire information to make the vote decision.
ii. They vote for a face, a smile, or a style, not for a mind or character or body of belief.
iii. Because the government is chosen by the people who voted, it will not benefit the illiterates as much as the well-educated, wealthier people
In Kozol’s article “The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society” identifies many problems that impact America on both societal and individual level. Similarly, Illiteracy in Canada not only affects the individual, but it has major consequences on economy, social and political for Canadian society.
Economy is the economic system that analyzes the production and distribution of resources of a country. It is determined by the productivity of the country and the ability to best allocate their limited resources. In Canada, most of the workforces are focusing on manufacture and service. As an illiterate, it is impossible to have high productivity in either manufacture or service field. Just like the quote in Kozol’s article “Today, even if you’re a janitor, there’s still reading and writing… They leave a note saying, ‘Go to room so-and-so…’ You can’t do it. You can’t read it. You don’t know.” (99) They do not know what they have to do because they could not read the instructions especially in this digital age. Moreover, the inability to read the warning label on the machine or chemical will also unnecessarily increase the accident rates of manufacturing. In general, illiterates also lack the knowledge of health care like nutrition and potential food hazard because they could read neither the magazines nor food label. Unhealthy or injured Illiterates will have no productivity and directly increase the cost of health system. As a result, heavily damage the economy of Canada.