Wednesday, May 8, 2013


In the news:

1. A former Secretary of Education has written a book which argues that only a dozen or so American Universities now provide graduates a possibility to earn enough to cover the cost of attending them.

2. A Bloomberg article explains that American Universities are "soaking the poor" by providing mostly merit based scholarships, which overwhelmingly go to the rich, leaving the poor to pay their own way.

3. A wire service report documents the new "education inflation": apparently it is now an established fact that to get a job at Starbucks or like establishment in a major city, due to competition among the unemployed a college education is a minimum requirement.

Add them up, prospective college students:

If you are rich, you will attend one the dozen or so schools that pay off, and you won't pay anyway.

If you are not rich, you will not attend the dozen or so schools which wouldn't take you even if you could pay, you will be unemployed or pay for another school, and you will get a job at Starbucks or the equivalent, getting a salary which will never enable you to pay your debts.

To be fair, you will be working at Starbucks, according to the former Secretary of Education, only if you made the mistake of taking classes in philosophy, art, history, literature. The former Secretary Of Education, whose yearly pension, just reward for doing such a good job, is about ten times your Starbucks salary, jokes about himself studying philosophy. He doesn't joke about whether he or the friends who helped him to his job went to one of the dozen or so schools that pay.

The problem with courses in philosophy, art, history, literature is that taking them you might get an idea of what a human being is and what a human being is capable of, and resent a lifetime of indentured servitude. Thinking like that disqualifies you. Schools of management are turning out millions of art-free, philosophy-free, history-free, literature-free conformists. You can't compete.

As they say at Starbucks,
What can I get started for you?

Further Reading:
Revolutionary Ideas: An Intellectual History Of The French Revolution, Jonathan Israel, Princeton University Press, 2014