19 January 2012

Paragraphs to Ponder

Statistics are often thrown around in the media, showing that people with college degrees earn higher average salaries than people without them. But such statistics lump together apples and oranges -- and lemons.
A decade after graduation, people whose degrees were in a hard field like engineering earned twice as much as people whose degrees were in the ultimate soft field, education. Nor is a degree from a prestigious institution a guarantee of a big pay-off, especially not for those who failed to specialize in subjects that would give them skills valued in the real world.
But that is not even half the story. In countries around the world, people with credentials but no marketable skills have been a major source of political turmoil, social polarization and ideologically driven violence, sometimes escalating into civil war.
People with degrees in soft subjects, which impart neither skills nor a realistic understanding of the world, have been the driving forces behind many extremist movements with disastrous consequences.
These include what a noted historian called the "well-educated but underemployed" Czech young men who promoted ethnic identity politics in the 19th century, which led ultimately to historic tragedies for both Czechs and Germans in 20th century Czechoslovakia. It was much the same story of soft-subject "educated" but unsuccessful young men who promoted pro-fascist and anti-Semitic movements in Romania in the 1930s.
The targets have been different in different countries but the basic story has been much the same. Those who cannot compete in the marketplace, despite their degrees, not only resent those who have succeeded where they have failed, but push demands for preferential treatment, in order to negate the "unfair" advantages that others have.

The government, by continually pushing college education, has sown the seeds for its own collapse.  And this collapse will come at the hands of those who have fully committed themselves to the government’s own propaganda.  How fitting.


  1. I wouldn't mind if our government were a monarchy. but since it isn't, I would prefer to keep it. We cannot know what form of government will replace the current one if revolt should carry the day. My best guess is that it will be worse than what we currently have. Rebellion seldom builds a better society. Its normal course is to elevate one group of ne'er-do-wells to take the place of the former and to do so at a severe penalty in efficiency during the change.

  2. @Prof. Hale- While I don't think any good will come of any potential rebellion, I still have to laugh at the irony of the government planting the seeds of its destruction. That brings me great joy.