Unemployment Rate

2-4-6-8, Who Do We Appreciate! Dropouts! Dropouts! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay DROPOUTS!

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Get a job!

Though I would probably like it anyway for reasons of self-affirmation, this Michael Ellsberg op-ed in The New York Times valorizing our country's noble college dropouts does contain some food for thought:

If start-up activity is the true engine of job creation in America, one thing is clear: our current educational system is acting as the brakes. Simply put, from kindergarten through undergraduate and grad school, you learn very few skills or attitudes that would ever help you start a business. Skills like sales, networking, creativity and comfort with failure.

No business in America — and therefore no job creation — happens without someone buying something. But most students learn nothing about sales in college; they are more likely to take a course on why sales (and capitalism) are evil. […]

Start-ups are a creative endeavor by definition. Yet our current classrooms, geared toward tests on narrowly defined academic subjects, stifle creativity. If a young person happens to retain enough creative spirit to start a business upon graduation, she does so in spite of her schooling, not because of it.

Finally, entrepreneurs must embrace failure. I spent the last two years interviewing college dropouts who went on to become millionaires and billionaires. All spoke passionately about the importance of their business failures in leading them to success. Our education system encourages students to play it safe and retreat at the first sign of failure (assuming that any failure will look bad on their college applications and résumés).

Certainly, if you want to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer, then you must go to college. But, beyond regulated fields like these, the focus on higher education as the only path to stable employment is profoundly misguided, exacerbated by parents who see the classic professions as the best route to job security.

There is a pretty unconvincing to-be-sure graf about wage disparities in there, plus some half-hearted policy proposals; read the whole thing.

Tangential point that I've wanted to make for a while now: Remember that great Steve Jobs commencement address at Stanford in 2005, the one where he talked about how he "couldn't see the value" in an expensive liberal arts education, and how dropping out "was one of the best decisions" he "ever made"? Here is how Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum characterize the speech in their we-need-to-do-SOMETHING-about-education book That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back:

There are two messages contained in Jobs's speech. The first is the importance of a liberal-arts education.

No really, that's what they say.

I wrote about That Used To Be Us last month, and also in a forthcoming Reason cover essay.

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  1. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.

    1. FAIL!

      Oh, wait…

    2. Unless you’re really awesome.

    3. The only ones who fail to try are those who try to fail.

      Or something like that. I think I was stoned when they covered that aphorism in high school.

      1. “He is terribly mysterious.”

        1. When you can balance a tack hammer on your head, you will have a balanced attack.

      2. Or something like that. I think I was stoned when they covered that aphorism in high school.

        I think that was in Star Wars. Maybe Empire Strikes Back.

    4. There is no try. There is only do, or do not.

      1. Ok that was definitely in Battle Star Galactica.

  2. Yet our current classrooms, geared toward tests on narrowly defined academic subjects, stifle creativity.

    But they do teach you to fill out paperwork, which the government deems essential in any business endeavor.

    1. The use of the word “deem” also comes in handy for certain gummint jobs.

    2. But they do teach you to fill out paperwork…

      And to mindlessly trust ‘authorities’, obey their commands and the folly of trying to think for yourself.

  3. I think it’s clear that Ellsberg is a tool of Big Dropout.

    And whoever is pictured is just a tool. Looks like Dave Navarro’s Anti-Evil Twin or something.

    1. That would be Steve Jobs.

      1. I’m sticking with Dave Navarro’s Anti-Evil Twin.

        Nice vest…

    2. He looks like a magician.

      1. Or perhaps a young Dr. Orpheus.

        1. Jobs will never be cool as Dr. Orpheus.

          Pumpkin! Fetch me my windbreaker!

      2. He got people to pay close to twice for products that, for the most part, barely outperformed their competitors. He was a magician.

  4. Even medieval serfs worked fewer hours, and at a slower pace, than modern industrialized workers. Ivan Illich has written that at the dawn of the industrial age, they would put a man in a pit that gradually filled with water, and give him a pump, and he would have to pump constantly all day to not drown. Humans are so naturally resistant to hard work that it took something like that to train people for industrial jobs. Now they do it with the schooling system, and with the religious doctrine that hard work is morally virtuous.

    How to Drop Out
    by Ran Prieur
    April 2, 2004 (Updated Oct. 2008)
    http://ranprieur.com/essays/dropout.html

    1. If the man could swim and there wasn’t a cover over the pit why te fuck would he pump. Humans have a remArkable ability to recognize stupid work

      1. You doubt the truthfulness of Lenin’s anecdotes about the dawn of industrialization?

        Shame on you Mr Lost!

    2. The medieval serf was only allowed to keep part of what he produced, but would still have a part claim on the village resources. So why work hard? If you were ambitious you ran away to the city.

      1. Weren’t the medieval serfs under a kind of guild socialism? Something something free healthcare…

  5. If a young person happens to retain enough creative spirit to start a business upon graduation, she does so in spite of her schooling, not because of it.

    Steve Jobs went to public school!..oh, wait…

  6. Yet our current classrooms, geared toward tests on narrowly defined academic subjects, stifle creativity.

    I don’t know about this.

    Is there anyone less creative than the people who fall into the clutches of the creativity-education racket?

    I think that creativity arises from learning a great, great deal about a subject and seeing opportunities for creation within the content you have learned.

    Embracing your inner creativity won’t help you write one line of code.

    Someone who knows a massive amount of content will eventually have an “A Ha!” moment as they face shifting contexts for that content.

    Someone who “learns how to be creative” but learns no content will not.

    1. DUDE! Don’t harsh my mellow!

    2. It depends on the teacher really. I can see creativity being crushed simply because it’s not rewarded, i.e. why go the extra mile and do something innovative when you’ll get the same grade that Johnny will get for copying and pasting a wikipedia entry?

      Also, the general method of teaching is “These are the three main causes of the civil war…” and the test is “What were the three main causes of the civil war?” – simple regurgitation.

      Of course you need the content with the creativity, but the typical, modern day education experience is particularly mind numbing.

      1. Yes I remember being frustrated when during test you attempted to get more indepth with your reasonings on questions like that only to get a:

        “I’m glad your so interested in (insert historical event) subject but really all you needed to say was (insert one word answer). Learned very quickly that school is nothing more than jumping through hoops.

    3. + 10 to Fluffy

    4. I like Fluffy’s assessment. The problem with creativity in general is it’s like catching lightning in a bottle.

      I agree that our system is stifling creativity, yet I also agree with Fluffy’s assessment of the “creativity-education racket”.

      There’s some middle-ground. There’s a way to teach people to write good, proper code (as an example) but also a way to foster and try unconventional approaches.

      1. Someone here was not taught to write good. My guess is he doesn’t talk good either.

        1. “Write well, proper code” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

          Perhaps your real complaint was a possible misplaced comma? We’ll let Tim Cavanaugh weigh in on that. Or better yet, let’s have Stephen Frye weigh in on it.

        2. You philistines. The word “good” modifies the word “code”, as in “good code.” If Paul wrote “to write well, proper code”, “well” would be modifying “to write.”

          Heathens, all of you.

          1. It’s ok. Sparky’s heart was in the write… right place. Sparky probably has a liberal arts education and as such, doesn’t know what ‘write good code’ means.

            I guess I confused the whole situation by writing two adjectives separated by commas. Sometimes less is more.

            1. Joe’z law is wonderful.

              1. Nobody called anyone a moran.

  7. The first is the importance of a liberal-arts education.

    If it wasn’t important, he wouldn’t have agreed to speak. So there.

  8. I have a BA, so I guess I have a classic liberal-arts education; didn’t stop me from becomming an engineer. But I don’t think that’s what most people mean when they say liberal-arts education.

    1. “l have a BA, so I guess I have a classic liberal-arts education”

      One has nothing to do with the other, and no, that a in ba also has nothing to do with it.

      Liberal arts is

    2. “l have a BA, so I guess I have a classic liberal-arts education”

      One has nothing to do with the other, and no, that a in ba also has nothing to do with it.

      Liberal arts is about your major, not the type of degree you got. I have always failed to see how someone could get that wrong, but it happens frequently.

      1. Wrong dickhead. My school was happy to assure me that my Physics/CompSci double was a Liberal Arts degree.

      2. Yup, I went to a “liberal arts” school; spent a third of my time reading Kerouac and Bordieu (and studying US History) but still managed to pack in the Urysohn Metrization Theorem and learn Schlenck technique.

  9. What nonsense. We all know that to succeed, one needs to be greedy, immoral, and plain lucky. Competing with the greedy corporations is impossible; only violence will show them who are their betters!!!

    1. Am I not free to gambol about the NYSE abd The Merc?

      http://www.derp.de

  10. I think the bottom line is that really successful people are special. Not everyone could have done what steve jobs or bill gates did. (regardless of what you think they actually did).

    Univeristies don’t create special people out of normal people. they can, however, create normal people out of special people.

    1. Everyone is special in their own special way.

      1. Everyone is special in their own special way.

        Which is another way of saying that no one is.

        1. You are unique, just like everyone else.

  11. Oh and this article posses me off. It doesn’t mention huntsman, santorum, Bachmann or perry.

  12. So basically the gist of his commencement address was “Everything you spent the past 4 years learning is all BULLSHIT!! Mwahahaha!!!”

  13. schools are not supposed to teach creativity. They are supposed to teach literacy and math skills so that individuals can function in life after school, something they do so poorly that most colleges have remedial classes in math and English.

    Creativity is an individual trait, like entrepreneurship. Some have more than others, and some have little of either. All you need to know about the state of schools is evident in the OWS participants, a gaggle of degreed people who seem to know nothing about our political and economic systems — I submit that this outcome is by design.

    1. I disagree. The modern education process is designed to destroy any sense of wonder that a child was born with. The modern system is designed to turn children into automatons that grind out answers to produce high test scores.

      1. Yeah, but it ends up not even being that cool. I mean, I could deal with it if we were producing Mentats.

      2. ^^THIS

        As I got older, I noticed the number of “WOW, that’s really awesome!” moments decreasing.

        Schooling shouldn’t be scripted. “Math skills” doesn’t mean that you can pass a math test – it means that you have subtle understanding of the meaning of the operations you’re performing. It’s very difficult to pass Calc III if you’re just imitating.

        “Literacy skills” doesn’t mean that you can write a plot summary. It means that you can analyze writing style, metaphors, and interpret the author’s world view through his work.

        High test scores only prove that you’re good at taking tests.

        1. I’d also go so far as literary skills should also impart the ability to critically think. Authors have a penchant for using certain words when they attempt to convey certain messages or meanings. Those same words could have a very different meaning and context depending on the authors. But too few individuals know how to ‘read between the lines’ or extrapolate what they read.

        2. “Math skills” doesn’t mean that you can pass a math test – it means that you have subtle understanding of the meaning of the operations you’re performing.

          The best math teacher I ever had was the type that would actually explain, “This is WHY the function/equation works the way that it does,” as opposed to pasting a bunch of problems on the board and asking us to solve them.

          The current system is so dysfunctional–every year for the last 30 years or so, it pumped out a bunch of earnest, high-energy instructors that have been steeped in Marxist/Deweyian theories, and then dumped them in a bureaucratic nightmare of increasingly mind-boggling complexity. The result has been taking the worst features of the older school systems with the worst features of the new reforms, and mashing them together in an intellectually deadening stew, producing students who think they know everything about everything but with little understanding or wisdom to show for it.

          1. The best math teacher I ever had was the type that would actually explain, “This is WHY the function/equation works the way that it does,” as opposed to pasting a bunch of problems on the board and asking us to solve them.

            Extremely difficult to do that in 150 minutes a week with the massive amount of material you’re supposed to cover in a calculus semester, especially when attempting to do the proofs of Fubini’s Theorem etc in class is bound to result in some negative student evaluations (“He wasted time on things that weren’t going to be on the test!”) and be greeted with sleeping and texting by most of the class.

            Those student evaluations are the worst fucking invention ever. Looking for meaningful opinions from students is like panning for gold in your toilet. They can really fuck you over when you don’t have tenure yet.

            1. If you teach it at a fundamental level, calculus is repetitive. In multivariate calculus, you just add a dimension or two and do the same exact operations you did in one dimension. Throw in a few extra coordinate systems and you’re done.

          2. for the last 30 years or so, it pumped out a bunch of earnest, high-energy instructors that have been steeped in Marxist/Deweyian theories, and then dumped them in a bureaucratic nightmare of increasingly mind-boggling complexity.

            This. Absolutely this

        3. Calc III was trivial. Calc II was the real bear. Trying to figure out exactly how to integrate more complex functions was terrible. Calc III was Calc I in multiple dimensions. Cake.

      3. From standardized tests to school uniforms they are teaching kids that they need to be like everyone else. Based on conversations I’ve had with my kids about school I know most teachers don’t go out of their way to teach why.

      4. The modern system is designed to turn children into automatons that grind out answers to produce high low test scores

        FIFY.

    2. + 3 to wareagle

  14. schools are not supposed to teach creativity. They are supposed to teach literacy and math skills so that individuals can function in life after school, something they do so poorly that most colleges have remedial classes in math and English.

    Creativity is an individual trait, like entrepreneurship. Some have more than others, and some have little of either. All you need to know about the state of schools is evident in the OWS participants, a gaggle of degreed people who seem to know nothing about our political and economic systems — I submit that this outcome is by design.

    1. You’re still wrong.

  15. “If you don’t color inside the lines, and use the appropriate color palette, I will whack you on the knuckles with this ruler and make you stand in the corner during recess. Now, pick up your crayons and begin.”

    1. I worked with a guy right after I got out of college that was talking about his early years in school. The teachers wanted to send him for psych evaluations because he was obviouly severely depressed (he would only color with black crayons).

      He was eventually diagnosed with classic red/green color-blindness. He had gotten tired of being teased by all the other kids for not using the right colors, so he would only use black.

      1. He was eventually diagnosed with classic red/green color-blindness. He had gotten tired of being teased by all the other kids for not using the right colors, so he would only use black.

        I picked up a book at the bookstore about ten years ago on psychological analysis of children via their drawings. “Interesting, I thought.”

        What I was expecting were straight-forward, but insightful assessments. Maybe something about angry figures always appearing in their drawings. Thoughts of violence, detachment. All through the relationships of the stick figures they were drawing. Instead, what I found was the most disturbing astrological, Jungian bullshit I had ever witnessed on paper.

        Apparently, you could tell what kind of relationship the child had with his father by how he drew boxes around his characters. To think that someone out there was making assessments of children based on this was scary stuff indeed.

  16. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are not what most people think of when they think of “dropouts.”

    First, the word dropout is most often associated with high school. High school dropouts have a stereotype as being thugs and/or living off welfare or having the noisiest and hottest jobs (Krabappel). If they’re female, add the stereotype about the half-dozen kids by age 26, all out of wedlock, by three to four different fathers.

    Those images won’t be broken anytime soon.

    1. Actually, when I think of college dropouts, I think of Kanye West.

      1. Kanye obviously has talent for music (and interrupting people). College couldn’t work for him because their type of musical instruction is seventy years behind the times.

      2. Ima let you finish Art-P.O.G., but White Indian is the best troll EVA!

  17. Nigga, am I free to gambol bout the ghetto?

  18. The modern education process is designed to destroy any sense of wonder that a child was born with.

    And to stamp out any pesky tendency toward individuality or independent thought.

    “We have to stick to the lesson plan!”

    1. And school uniforms.

    2. “Wait what? You think that FDR didn’t solve the great depression? You read something by MISES?! Obivously your mind has been posioned by right wing propoganda and you have attention deficit disorder and must be given medication immediatly.”

      1. ADD got me where I am today and it’s going to help my son in his life too. If anyone comes at me with medication I’ll jam it in their eye.

        1. Good for you. It’s proven a bit of a handicap for me in vet school though. I don’t think I could do it without dexedrine.

  19. Yawn.

    Articles like this present, at best, a caricatures of what University can and does do. People are successful “in spite of their schooling”? Puh-leeze. Take any measure of ‘success’ and plot educated vs uneducated (however you want to define those) and show me how education makes success (however you want to define that) more difficult.

    Ironically, the type of schooling that is the most soul-destroying and useless is the very type that Ellsberg seems to want our schools to focus on. But has he actually ever looked at the curriculum of Business Schools, which teach all those ‘useful’ skills like “sales, networking, creativity”? Brutal.

    In contrast, the thrust of Jobs commencement speech was that he took great value from the seemingly ‘useless’ liberal arts courses that he took for free by simply sitting in on them while his classmates paid for the instructor’s salary with their tuition money. More Calligraphy classes please!

    ‘Business skills’ are tough to teach in schools — the best way to learn those is to just go out and do it.

    The solution is not to make kindergarteners little business men, or to take way those ‘useless’ calligraphy classes, but rather to eliminate the business schools and free up entrepreneurial students’ time & money to go and start businesses.

    1. Bob,

      Always remember: “libertarianism” is not about ideas. It is about sarcasm, denunciation, cheap yuks.

    2. But has he actually ever looked at the curriculum of Business Schools, which teach all those ‘useful’ skills like “sales, networking, creativity”? Brutal.

      ^This

      Also, if there’s one thing our university system is good for it’s networking. Zuckerberg met the entire early technology team while at Harvard.

      1. Also, if there’s one thing our university system is good for it’s networking.

        Always has been, from the Middle Ages on. What do you think Prep Schools and the Old Boys Network are all about?

      2. The networking definitely has value. That’s true.

        Articles like this present, at best, a caricatures of what University can and does do.

        I do think the article misidentifies the reason that the university system doesn’t seem to really facilitate entrepreneurship.

        It’s not really a matter of teaching or not teaching the right things.

        It’s more a matter of the fact that the entire reason to seek a university credential is so you can use that credential to talk someone else into giving you a job.

        College dropouts often become entrepreneurs because that’s their best option, precisely because of the credentialism endemic in all fields.

        If I went into another quantum reality and kidnapped Steve Jobs at the very start of his career and transported him back to our time and timeline, he probably wouldn’t be able to get a job at Apple today by sending in his resume or by interviewing there. They’d tell him to hit the road and probably wouldn’t let him so much as manage one of their stores.

        So naturally he’d turn around and open another company, because that’s what he would be driven by circumstance to do.

        1. Credentialism in many areas is a bad thing, but for employers sifting through mountains of applications it’s a necessity.

        2. Is it the job of Universities to “facilitate entrepreneurship”?

          It seems ridiculous to fault Universities for failing to teach something that is not and has never been part of their mandate.

          If you want Universities to really just be Business Schools, then by all means make that (lame) argument. But let’s not try to disguise the argument under fluff.

          1. is not and has never been part of their mandate.

            Is your post directed at me?

            ‘Cause I just said this, using different words.

    3. As a graduate from a business school I can tell you a lot of what business schools teach are pure unadulterated garbage.Perhapes a third, and I am being generous, of what you learn in business school is actually useful. I have learned more about marketing and networking a my job than I have ever learned in the class room.

    4. But what about the people who don’t go to business school because they don’t get the basic “sales” skills from K-12?

  20. This is like the wittiest chat room ever!

    1. We’re so glad you approve.

  21. The best thing a good (expensive) college can do, especially if you’re born poor or (shudder!) middle class, is to help you make contacts to help launch your career.

    Because knowing the right people is worth more than anything in many industries.

    I mean, yes, hard work, skills and dedication may make you successful (Look what a nice big house I have!). But the above in combination with knowing the right people are needed to be launched into Gates/Jobs levels of success.

  22. Don’t you have some mail to bury in your back yard, Mister Mailman?

  23. Matt,

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I think it would be helpful to your readers if you were to provide the quote in its full context:

    CHINA! CHINA CHINA! CHINAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

    There are two messages contained in Jobs’s speech. The first is the importance of a liberal-arts education.

    CHINAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! FUCK YEA!

    1. If you reversed that to CHINA is FUCKed then you got it right. The propensity to churn out students with worthless degrees is even more pronounced in China and India than it is here. Besides, we’ve seen the story on how state run economiesend and it isn’t a good one.

  24. Creativity and networking don’t mean shit if you can’t crunch basic numbers, read about work other people have done that you can use for your own work, and write a business proposal with good spelling and grammar.

    Obviously creativity shouldn’t be stifled, but don’t diss the 3R’s. They really are the foundation.

    1. Ritalin, Reeducation, and Recess?

      I kid.

      1. Ritalin, Reeducation, and Recess

        I fear that you are closer to the truth than you might suspect

        1. He must have gone to school where I did.

  25. *Credentialism in many areas is a bad thing, but for employers lazy fucks in “Human Resources” sifting through mountains of applications it’s a necessity easier than doing their job.*

    1. I don’t think that’s really fair.

      The only other thing they could do is hire on the basis of personal knowledge of the capacities of the applicant.

      But that would almost certainly have a discriminatory impact in defiance of current law.

      The credentialism isn’t just to avoid effort. It’s to be able to paper every employee file with a hiring reason that can survive “Wah you hired a white person!”

  26. The credentialism isn’t just to avoid effort.

    I have asked this (rhetorical) question before: What happened to skills-testing job applicants?

    1. I seem to recall it was found to be racist. Duke Energy? One of you law types help me out.

      1. As soon as your skills testing identifies a disproportionate number of qualified applicants from the Wrong Race/Gender, you have a messy lawsuit on your hands.

        With academic credentialing, you don’t run that risk.

    2. Capitalism happened. It’s just plain cheaper and faster to use creditialism as a crutch. And if you miss out on some applicants who would have been better than the creditialed people you wound up hiring, then that is cost that companies are willing to incur because it is more than offset by the speed and efficiency of the hiring process which would be lost if you had to actually look into and test applicants.

      1. Y’all are missing something here. “Employers” are not looking for self directed entrepreneur types, they are looking for worker bees. And credentials show that they can follow directions and complete mundane tasks. Self starters are not as patient with that shit and therefore suffer in the traditionial 9-5er. I speak from experience.

    3. Skills testing is actually a challenging proposition. Some staffing agencies, a few years ago and suppose today as well, tested applicants for proficiency with various software applications. However, the accuracy and usefulness of the testing was dependent upon the skill of the test authors. For instance, returning a result stating that Joe doesn’t rate an expert in the use of Excel simply because he is not aware of a third way to change the shading of a cell is not all that accurate of an assessment. Joe knows a way, and he might be a wiz at setting up formulas and scenario testing.

      Taking that rather simple example and expanding it to complex, deep professional knowledge, how do you test for understanding? For instance, how would you determine if a young, inexperienced marketer was up to the task of developing marketing plans? Sure, there are some hard skills you can test, such as quantitative methods, and widely known concepts such as SWOT analysis, but plenty of dimwitted numbskulls could regurgitate facts about those subjects from rote memorization – it tells you nothing of their ability to apply that knowledge successfully to a loosely structured problem without hand-holding guidance from management. Can this person make good decisions on their own?

      I propose, (here, in the Reason Magazine website comments thread, where one should always go to propose stuff), that colleges and universities put their forward an indepth degree by examination option, in which self-taught professionals can obtain a degree entirely through examination, with evaluation by experienced subject matter experts. It would be a more indepth assessment of candidate skill, and would often require professional writing and demonstration of well-grounded original thought on the core subject matter of the degree sought. This would be far cheaper and less time consuming than going to school for something you already know how to do, and you could use it again and again to apply for positions here, there, wherever, as well as to provide credentials to investors. For many of the subjects that are primarily common sense, this allows folks to go out and work, learning on the job, and then challenge the examination process when they feel they have obtained understanding and competence equal to or exceeding that of classroom students.

      1. Holy un-closed italics HTML tag, Batman.

  27. I had a lawyer friend tell me once “they don’t teach law in law school, they teach process.” He was a firm believer that actual Law education came from philosophical understand and then using the process to get that point across to a brain dead judge.

  28. The USA and Israel rant low among industrialized nations in standardized test scores, but excel in patents per capital. If invention is your goal, fire the educators.

    1. How many of the patents in the US come from native-born inventors? A majority I would think, but not an overwhelming one.

  29. What’s with the picture of Ashton Kutcher?

  30. Two things:

    1. Corporate culture’s reliance on academic credentialing (“A bachelor’s degree is required. A master’s degree is preferred.”) has the effect of promoting morons. I mean complete, utter, absolutely incompetent twits who couldn’t find up. Now, that doesn’t mean that smart people don’t also get hired and promoted – they do, but they must share space with nitwits. The problem of nitwitocracy is caused by the failure of K-12 education to produce people who can read, write, do math, and have a good grasp of basic science, as well as the government subsidization of unnecessary college education through student loan programs. Businesses have found that a high school diploma most often says absolutely nothing about the person who holds it, and so they require a college degree to prove very basic competence in literacy and simple mathematics. By subsidizing collegiate education, the government encourages people to pursue degrees who would not otherwise have chosen to do so, which floods the market with degreed applicants whose skills do not match their credentials. So, we then see the rise of requirements for graduate level education. Soon businesses will ask for doctorates. If the trend continues, the average worker would have to go to school into their 30s to get an entry level professional position – if they started college at 18!

    2. As most of us know, not all degrees are equal. There is greater knowledge value in a computer science degree than a management degree. I don’t know how the compensation breaks down, but if you can’t perform management without a degree, you will still be an incompetent putz after you get a degree. On the other hand, getting a thorough education in computer science yields knowledge with direct application to the job that you can’t easily replace with common sense. You can learn computer science without going to college, but if you are having a hard time grasping it, and then you go to school for it, I think there will be a greater payoff to you in terms of increased ability. In other words, a computer putz could actually become competent through formal education in computer science, where the management failure will still be a management failure after they complete an MBA.

    Or, to put it another way….

  31. Hey my son the history grad can discuss the Civil War or the Era of Good Feelings with you while you ponder the menu selections if you’d like.

  32. Certainly, if you want to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer,

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