As a background to understanding the place of lower attainers in what is now generally accepted as a global economy, this chapter briefl y discusses the meanings and criticisms of globalisation and a global knowledge economy, how education is expected to contribute to this economy and the likely place of lower attainers in an assumed knowledge economy. A section on the English economy and problems of unemployment is included as a preamble to chapters on the various groups regarded as lower attainers and their place in the economy.