Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More Propaganda for the Education Establishment?

Bloomberg Reports that "College Graduates Spur Economic Growth".


"This year’s college graduates are likely to make the global economy more productive because of their education, judging by the results of a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research."


Oh really? How so?

“Human capital, particularly attained through education, is crucial to economic progress,” Barro and Lee wrote today in a posting on the Centre for Economic Policy Research’s Vox Web site that summarized their findings."

Unless one conflates primary and secondary education with "higher" education, which would be ridiculous given the marginal utility of the latter, those findings lend no support to the writer's point.

The fact of the matter is that college graduates, at least in this country, have already had a lot of their productivity negated due to time spent in college learning non-productive information and by going into debt to spend said time in college.

Removing government-backed student loans for college and graduate school would lead to more production, not less. Marginal students will get jobs and produce rather than wasting their time. Further, the cost of education would go down due to the diminished demand, and the value of the degree would go back up.

I know some want higher ed to be a "right" (which cannot be the case by definition, but I digress), but doing such will only continue to flood this country with degrees and make them worthless. There's a reason that, during time spent in Russia, I met a PhD who had to sell hot dogs in a Metro station for a living.

"You got a degree? Great! Too bad there's no demand for it in the workplace!"

Now, who wants to hear that (again)?

4 comments:

  1. The problem is that there are a lot of people who buy into the "education is evidence of quality" outside the ivory towers of white collar work. One of my closest friends has had (multiple times) to produce a copy of her college transcript to interview for waitress positions in Chicago. A lot of positions, including random salesmen positions, are requiring college degrees, even though they don't care what you got the degree in.

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  2. Higher education has always been about ability signaling more than anything else. What you learn is largely irrelevant. A Harvard degree matters because it means you were intelligent and diligent enough to get into Harvard - and intelligence and diligence are desirable qualities.

    The system has become so screwed up that, honestly, if I ever get back on my feet and in a position to hire, I'm going to hire based on the wisdom of not attending college - assuming the applicant seems otherwise intelligent and literate. Kind of a reverse ability signal - I know you're smart because you avoided the massive, non-dischargable debt of higher education!

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