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From a commenter on the always entertaining Economics Job Rumors Journal:

Peter Thiel on Stanford Econ:

“I think the question we have to always ask is: how many people should we be training? My intuition is you want the gates to be very tight. One of my friends is a professor in the Stanford Economics department. The way he describes it to me is that they have about 30 graduate students starting PhDs in economics at Stanford every year. It’s 6-8 years to get a PhD. At the end of the first year, the faculty has an implicit ranking of the students, where they sort of agree who the top 3-4 are. The ranking never changes. The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much. We’re pretending to be kind to people when we’re actually being cruel.

…It’s the supply and demand of labor – if there are going to be good positions in academia where you can have a reasonable life, it’s not a monastic vow of poverty that you’re taking to be an academic… if you’re going to have that, you don’t want this sort of Malthusian struggle. You have 10 graduate students in a chemistry lab, where you have to have a fist fight for a Bunsen burner or a beaker, and if somebody says one politically incorrect thing, you can happily throw them off of the overcrowded bus. The bus is still overcrowded with 9 people on it. That’s what’s unhealthy.”

 
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  1. The problem is these candidates, all bumbling along on student loans and grants, have no real perception of skin in the game: Send the 10 fighting over the bunsen burner into a Hunger Games arena in combat to the death, and you might get better results.

    • LOL: bomag
    • Replies: @Counterinsurgency

    Send the 10 fighting over the bunsen burner into a Hunger Games arena in combat to the death, and you might get better results.
     
    That's the current system. It's been that way for a long time (search _Science_ for articles about this in the 1960s) in pre-med. You get students coming in early to perform labs, then hiding or disabling equipment so that other students in the same course can't complete their lab or, at the least, have to spend more hours to complete it.

    Make the prize large enough, and people will use theft, fraud, or violence to get it.

    Counterinsurgency
    , @Hapalong Cassidy
    Do PhD students actually pay tuition? My understanding is a lot of them get grants that cover the cost of their schooling and then some. They do have to teach and assist the professorial staff.
  2. I think an econ PhD at Stanford of any implicit ranking will find a “good job” (in or out of academica) by layman’s standards. It’s certainly been my understanding that that discipline, uniquely among the social sciences, is actually quite employable. Still, the idea is clearly pertinent elsewhere.

    • Replies: @Kronos
    You mean my $70,000 degree in puppet theater is worthless because I was only the 9th best in the troupe?
  3. it’s not a monastic vow of poverty that you’re taking to be an academic

    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It’s the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

    • Agree: Cortes
    • Replies: @Massimo Heitor

    it’s not a monastic vow of poverty that you’re taking to be an academic

    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It’s the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

     

    No... Normal people want money and middle class lifestyles. Scientists and teachers should operate on a job market with salary determined by supply and demand forces like everyone else.
    , @Autochthon
    It used to be that entering academia was indeed a path of toiling in relative obscurity with little recognition or remuneration. Just as Martin Luther (an academic, too, by the way!) certainly never dreamt of the life of charlatan Joel Olsteen, so too, academics well into the twentieth century were dedicated to their fields despite the pay and fame – not because of them. Hell, many of the best scholars and scientists were amateurs with no affiliation to any university, either working on a shoestring budget or as wealthy heirs wanting be productive rather than idle or hedonistic. One's discoveries made the rounds in journals and conferences (and the conferences were not in Honolulu and Paris, as often as, say Scranton or Reading, with no elaborate receptions sponsored by Reed Elsevier or speeches by minor celebrities!). One was lucky to get a breakthrough published in the Journal of Very Obscure Things and he neither sought nor would have achieved recognition in national newspapers or broadcast media (when those came along).

    Thiel is spot on: we need to make college – especially graduate schools – a place for extraordinarily intelligent people again, but you are right, too: we do also need to make careers in academia not half so full of cash and prizes as they are.
    , @Anonymous
    Right, traditionally universities were affiliated with the Church and trained clergymen. It was explicitly and implicitly assumed that they were places for those devoted to a monastic or semi-monastic lifestyle. They weren't supposed to provide cushy, comfortable "careers" for "professionals".
    , @Reg Cæsar

    you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth.
     
    Please. Don't tempt the guy.
  4. Anon[330] • Disclaimer says:

    As EdReal says, those second rate Ph.D.s could be teaching high school, and they’d have job security and an income stream to start to pay off their loans.

    But forget about grad students: More and more major companies are accepting applications from people with no college degree. I think they realize that the degrees don’t mean that much anymore due to affirmative action and so on. They do not indicate college level (or even high school graduate level) intelligence, they no longer indicate conscientiousness nor conformity, since you’re allow to skip classes and exams for protests and professors get cancelled if they tell you to take your feet off the chair in front of you.

    Companies can look at a proxy IQ test, like an SAT, and then eyeball the applicant for conscientiousness and conformity (white? if not white, seems to be comfortable in standard English dialect? dress appropriately for an interview? well spoken? wasn’t fired by McDonald’s in high school?), then train them in-house. Cheaper starting salaries for the company, no loans for the workers, who also start life four or more years early.

    And sexist comment here: Women can consider getting married to a nice guy and having kids before their ovaries dry out and they have to go the Frankenkid route with IVF. And also work in a job that pays as much as they’d get with a useless Ph.D. ten years later on loans.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    To your last point: we can restore replacement level childbirth by prohibiting women in college until they've had kids. Career-focus is the thing causing that, but they can still get credentials and become academics once they've served society as only they can. What's funny though is on the other side of that a lot less women will be interested in academia.
    , @Art Deco
    As EdReal says, those second rate Ph.D.s could be teaching high school

    Very little manpower is devoted to teaching economics in high school (and from what little I've seen, the way it's taught can be execrable). That aside, if there are positions in post-secondary teaching institutions, positions in public agencies, and positions in business, why would you wish to teach high school (unless, of course, secondary school teaching were your actual vocation, in which case you should be studying mathematics or history or perhaps accounting)?

    , @Kronos
    But what about the lawsuits? Education serves only to IQ-launder and bypass existing Civil Rights legislation. If it’s a big company, it’ll lead to disparate impact lawsuits. The point of paying the education big bucks is to pass through this regulatory entrapment.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griggs_v._Duke_Power_Co.
    , @Moses

    More and more major companies are accepting applications from people with no college degree.
     
    Virtue-signaling empty talk.

    How many ppl without college degrees are they hiring to do more than clean toilets? That is more meaningful.

    Reminds me of Zuckerberg’s pledge to donate his wealth the press gushed over.

    Yawn.

    Talk is cheap.

    Wake me up after he actually donates the money.

  5. Economics is a lot like reading tea leaves…just not as accurate.

    • LOL: fish
    • Replies: @Duke84
    Ecomomists were put on the Earth to make astrologers look good.
  6. It reminds me that the Trump coalition is something of a barbell or high/low coalition itself: down and out blue collar types, and the disaffected would-be elites that comprise the alt-right (ie, the 1 out of 10 thrown off the bus for PC transgressions, not the 9 out of 10 still frantically sucking up harder and harder to keep up with the ever climbing bar for self-abasement). It helps that the latter, having some sense of foresight and empathy, realize that they could very easily, very quickly and very likely soon be in the shoes of the former. The liberal 9/10 seem to be mentally incapable of acknowledging this reality.

    This excludes the mediocre normiecons, but they’re really just along for the ride by dint of the two-party system: they’ll happily run back to a Romney type at first opportunity.

    • Agree: Hail
    • Replies: @Desiderius
    The Trumpster blue collar types that I know are the opposite of down and out.

    They’re slammed.
  7. “One of my friends is a professor in the Stanford Economics department. The way he describes it to me is that they have about 30 graduate students starting PhDs in economics at Stanford every year. It’s 6-8 years to get a PhD. At the end of the first year, the faculty has an implicit ranking of the students, where they sort of agree who the top 3-4 are. The ranking never changes. The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much. We’re pretending to be kind to people when we’re actually being cruel.”

    I think that is the way academia operates – and always has. The differences among now and the years 2000, 1985, 1965, 1950, 1925, and 1900 are the slightly different biases of the Elites that determine the biases of academia. ‘The chosen few” grad students in a PhD program always have been chosen largely because of who and what they are vis a vis the operating biases of America’s Elites. Yes, they are smart enough to do the work, but so are many who enter a PhD program, many of whom finish the degree, but are not ‘chosen’ and are not part of some group that the Elite favor.

    2 things messed up that closed system. First, ‘ethnic’ Catholics then had not assimilated to WASP culture and so sacrificed and founded their own colleges and educated their own people to be professors. Second, the growing Liberalism of what we would label Mainline Protestantism meant that conservative white Protestants began following the Catholic example and founding their own colleges and training their own people to teach at them.

    Those professors, of course, all could have had IQs of at least 120 and been extremely good as classroom teachers and small group mentors, but they were not ever going to be the type to be socially acceptable among the faculty and administrations of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the colleges that bowed to their standards. And they always were going to find that whatever they wrote would not be readily accepted as having merit by the academic elites.

    The GI Bill meant that those peoples and their colleges could have continued their growth without so much as bothering to give a second thought to the academic Elites, whose were antagonistic to them religiously, culturally, morally, and socially. But the desire to be accepted as having ‘made it in America’ meant that they always were easily tempted to sell out parts of what had made them. And when the 1960s saw the Elites demand that all white trash (non Elite white Gentiles) begin worshiping the Numinous Negro, the jig was up.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    In my father's day, you had to have a law degree to qualify as an insurance adjustor.
  8. “You have 10 graduate students in a chemistry lab, where you have to have a fist fight for a Bunsen burner or a beaker, and if somebody says one politically incorrect thing, you can happily throw them off of the overcrowded bus. The bus is still overcrowded with 9 people on it. That’s what’s unhealthy.”

    This is VERY similar to promotion within the military. There are alot more colonels who would like to be generals than there are general positions in the military*. Virtually all colonels are very, very good. Thus, any small slipup (whether due to the candidate or due to other circumstances) results in removal from consideration-its no loss to the military (as Thiel said: there are 9 others still waiting in line…).

    This is the cause of the cautious officer, or politically correct officer, or make-no-waves officer.

    joeyjoejoe

    *note: colonel-general is just an example. This environment exists for promotion from major-lieutenant colonel, and all ranks above.

    • Agree: Old Prude
    • Replies: @Lawyer Guy
    In the 80s in the military, officers ranks got cleaned out at the O3 level because, with the exception of academy grads and ROTC honor grads, they competed at about that stage in their career for augmentation from a reserve commission to a regular one.

    In the 90s the Marine Corps started combining that step with the normal promotion selection process. As of the mid 00s the army also started doing that, at the O4 level.

    That means the up or out worries last a lot longer. Under the old system a guy with 4ish years in knew if he had a pretty good change of making his 20 and O4. He could screw up badly and lose his chance, but otherwise things could be okay without worrying all the time and scrambling for every advantage.

    That is gone now.
  9. All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don’t have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald’s in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is “renaissance man”, if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it’s chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it “study sessions” and “seminars”.

    • LOL: Autochthon
    • Replies: @prosa123
    My reasoned guess is that the average income of Stanford economics Ph.D's a few years after graduation is into the six figures even if one excludes the top three or four graduates.
    , @bomag

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.
     
    True enough, but one should be able to find this out much faster than via a Phd program; better to use testing and apprenticeships.

    Alas, the market has responded by making Phd a requirement for jobs that could be filled without the degree.
    , @Simonini
    LOL. Completing an economics PhD is generally a pretty hellish existence. Professors expect you to be working 80 hours per week, it's highly stressful and brings out a lot of mental health issues, and you have barely any money. I had a high-pressure consulting job before starting and it was much more relaxed and pleasurable.
    , @Peter Johnson
    Peter Thiel (or his Stanford U. econ department contact) is exaggerating quite a bit in his claim about Stanford PhD graduates. Virtually all the economics PhD graduates from Stanford will get solid jobs as economists (academic, business, or public sector). Admittedly only the top two or three will get jobs at very top schools like Princeton, Yale, and such, but that is an extremely high benchmark. They will virtually all get reasonably high-quality jobs as economists. Peter Thiel has extremely high standards for a "good" job in this statement, or is not correct in his evaluation of the graduate economics job market.
    , @L Woods
    That does not conform to my understanding of doctoral study at all: it sounds quite grueling.
    , @ricpic
    You really believe a McDonald's employee is "living better than 99%+ of people in human history?" Have you ever worked at a McDonald's? Or at any chain fast food restaurant? Or in a factory for that matter? It's not whining to say that the people who work those jobs, not temporarily but for years, live miserable lives. Yes, they have a roof over their heads and they don't go hungry. But they are in a permanent state of exhaustion. 99%+ of people in human history have NOT been in that state.
    , @Massimo Heitor

    PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it’s chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.
     
    No... I know many adults who weigh the choice between full time PhD work versus full time job. Doing PhD work would mean stepping down to ~$30k/year. Many adults have reasonably easy jobs making much more money. The upside is PhDs are very high status and open more long term career prospects.
    , @Autochthon
    I second Simonini.

    You pretty obviously have no experience of actual grout work, and a lot of hilarious impressions gleaned from satire thereof. Possibly you went to a graduate program that had no business existing, because (and therefore?) it was indeed as slack as you describe.

    For many of us in the real world, graduate school was far, far more grueling than our subsequent or previous gigs throwing rocks into the ocean from cubicles for people a lot less intelligent than us: reading hundreds of pages of esoteric material every day (with the expectation it be understood and retained); working thirty hours a week to help pay the bills, editing journals, writing and revising papers, managing not-for-profit endeavors, struggling to get papers published, fighting for grants, repeating an experiment that takes three months of coming to the lab at six-hour intervals every day because someone used the wrong pipette Tuesday...

    Indeed, one of the other points about Thiel's observations is that it leads to a perverse system whereby brilliant people who do pass the trial by fire then must reconcile themselves to putting pegs in holes like a monkey for the next fifty years under the "leadership" – ha! – of morons whose sole qualification is "Beneficiary of Cronyism" once one realizes it is all a rigged game.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald’s in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.
     
    On one metric. What about all the others?
    , @Laurence Whelk

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it’s chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.
     
    I am enjoying the PhD as a luxury good of sorts. After 30 years in the military, during which time I slowly and sporadically completed an undergrad and masters degree, I am using the GI Bill to get a PhD in a performing art. No loans, and no worries about the practicality for career. If I can leverage the PhD into occasional teaching work, great, but in any event I am enjoying the experience virtually worry free.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    A bit off topic but related: does anyone know how difficult a Ph.D is to obtain in the field of Sociology? Does having a Sociology Doctorate also apply that it took 6-8 years, and you’ll end up making six figures? Besides teaching, what does one do with a Sociology Doctorate? In other words is Sociology similar to a STEM or Econ Doctorate, or would it be considered a BS Degree?

    Anyone?
    , @Desiderius

    what is “renaissance man”, if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life
     
    A man with an education that transcends mere training, even the Magic STEM. Our erstwhile elites believe (falsely) that they, uniquely, have obtained such an education at the top of the greasy pole their parents climbed on their behalf.

    They couldn’t be more mistaken, which is why “learn to code” rankles - training would be a step up from the mess of maleducation pottage they received for selling out their people, their country, and their God.

  10. Perhaps it’s the economics of academia that are being misunderstood.

    Academics spend a large portion of their time teaching undergraduates and graduate students with the assistance of those same graduate students to share the load.

    To support a single academic requires the fees from many students and likely the support of several graduate students.

    The ratio and turnover of graduate students relative to faculty makes the situation analogous to a Ponzi scheme.

    I don’t see how this will change in the current system. I think a better question to ask is whether student fees (and a funnel of underpaid work to unlikely tenure) are the most appropriate way to fund r&d?

    • Replies: @David Davenport
    Antipodean, graduate students in American STEM programs are paid as KL says a couple of posts below here:

    Ph.D. students in science do not pay tuition, and get stipends as lab workers or teaching assistants. Physical sciences like chemistry have many international students* who are willing to work for comparatively low wages. Even Americans are willing to sacrifice income for the glory of academia

    From what I see, more American grad students are lab workers, a.k.a. research assistants, than teaching assistants.... Sometimes serving as substitute teachers if Prof. Poindexter is away at a conference. Instead of student loans, the source of the money is the gooberment, via DoD, NASA, NOAA, or I don't who in the biology sector.

    An important point is that American private industry does very little pure and not that much applied research nowadays. Elon Musk's SpaceX is an exceptional case. Research is mostly done by universities. Granted, Boeing ( at least Boeing military and space ), Lockheed, Ratheon etc. develop new military technology, but those notional private businesses are really quasi-gooberment bureaus., not that different from the Russian/Soviet mode.

    Also, I am bemused at the notion that tenured or tenured track faculty at state U.'s are losers. No, I am not a faculty member anywhere. There's a lot of snobbery in the notion that only alumni of prestige U.'s are first-class academicians. A fellow gets his doctorate from, say, U. of Tennessee and end up at U. Oklahoma -- oh the horror.

    * a number of Chinese grad students in STEM are spies for China.
  11. Part of the reason – in my opinion – that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college ‘free’ for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.

    If suddenly schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we’d see basically any department with the word “studies” in it eliminated.

    • Replies: @blank-misgivings
    In theory I sort of agree, but certainly not in practice as I'd be on the border line of being cast into the street!

    The only problem is it's not only academia. I think (irritating but interesting) David Graeber wrote an article called "bullshit' jobs" which summed up the situation quite well. If you take the left's bullshit jobs they will come after all the bullshit jobs in health insurance, the military etc. Bullshit jobs exist everywhere outside of small businesses and the causes for them are not just leftist ones - it's what happens when a society's survival is no longer at stake and people start to value the alleviation of any and every risk and need an office to implement that.(OK call that leftism but it's just a structural condition)

    Get rid of all the bullshit jobs and pretty soon you have de facto 50% unemployment and social chaos. What then?

    , @Hockamaw
    Exactly right. What the student loan bubble really is is a jobs program for academics. Academics get these cush jobs at directional state Us to teach idiot students who pay absurd tuition, fees, etc. which in turn pay these useless professors their nice salaries.

    We have the middle class subsidizing the lifestyle of an effete, useless intellectual class which despises them in return. Recipe for a Pol Pot type situation some day if left unchecked.
    , @Harry Baldwin
    ...schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default...

    I absolutely agree. What the Democrat candidates are proposing is a massive transfer of wealth from taxpayers to universities. The universities do not have clean hands in this situation; they are exploiting the naivete of youth and an artificial requirement for credentials. It's a moral hazard situation, because they bear no cost for encouraging students to mortgage their futures for a worthless education.
    , @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Part of the reason – in my opinion – that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college ‘free’ for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).
     
    Perhaps I'm giving our adversaries too much credit, but a caste of eternally indebted, poorly paid and therefore arrested-in-adolescence hangers-on at the thousands of American Universities with pretenses to being intellectuals and with lots of free time on their hands does create a large and geographically dispersed activist class for the left. I'm not only writing about Antifa foot soldiers like Eric Clanton, but also (and probably primarily) volunteers, organizers and agitators in all manner of leftist organizations.

    I recall some general strike or protest in France for government benefits maybe twenty years ago in which the organizers and protestors were made up largely of "students" in their twenties and thirties and remarking to myself "well, I suppose we're better off than the French since we don't have an entire class of idle malcontents." I do not think this view holds any longer.
    , @Anonymous

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.
     
    The education-industrial complex.

    WSJ: Who’ll Take a Pay Cut for Free College?
    ‘It’s so inspiring, I’d do it for nothing.’ Put that piety to a test.

    By Joseph Epstein
    July 17, 2019

    Democratic candidates for president, in their impressive expansiveness, are promising free college. Some limit their proposals to community colleges, others to state-run schools, and a few, going for broke, want also to forgive student debt for private-college tuition. Since no realm of American life has undergone greater inflation in recent decades than higher education, this is no piddling promise. The cost to taxpayers could be in the trillions, though the prospect would please a nephew of mine who this autumn is sending a son to Dartmouth at the annual price of $76,000.

    If government is going to pay for college, at least it ought to try to bring down the cost. I taught at a university for 30 years and have a few suggestions. Start at the top: I would reduce the salaries of university presidents by, say, 90%. (At the institution where I taught, the president made more than $2 million when last I checked.) I would also evict them from their rent-free mansions and remove their cadres of servants. The contemporary university president, after all, has little or nothing to do with education, but is chiefly occupied with fundraising and public relations. If universities were restaurants, the president would be a maître d’. To encourage their fundraising skills, perhaps they could be paid a small commission on the money they bring into their schools—cash, so to speak, and carry—excepting that on money used to erect more otiose buildings filled with treadmills, computers and condom machines.

    The next big cut in the cost of higher education would be in superfluous administrative jobs, for the contemporary university is nothing if not vastly overstaffed. All those assistant provosts for diversity, those associate deans presiding over sensitivity programs, those directors for student experience—out, out with them...

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/wholl-take-a-pay-cut-for-free-college-11563404022

     

    I don’t think most parents know they are largely subsidizing sinecures when they pay their kid’s tuition.

    If suddenly schools had to co-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we’d see basically any department with the word “studies” in it eliminated.
     
    I doubt it.

    Myths of Student-Loan Debt

    ...Basically, borrowers tend to be wealthy, and non-wealthy borrowers drowning in debt already have options for getting rid of their burden. Thus it’s hardly surprising that forgiving even more debt can easily amount to a handout to the upper middle class. An analysis by the Brookings Institution found that Warren’s plan, despite phasing out benefits for the highest-earning households, would give two-thirds of its benefits to the top 40 percent of households by income.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/07/29/myths-of-student-loan-debt/
     

    Except for STEM disciplines, I agree with James Altucher (in the video below). But he would disagree about even STEM degrees (nb: Altucher has his BS from Cornell and MS from Carnegie- Mellon in computer science).

    https://www.businessinsider.com/college-waste-time-money-james-altucher-work-experience-2015-5

    JAMES ALTUCHER: College is a waste of time and money

     

    , @Alan Mercer
    Do you also think the seller of a house should have to pay off the new loan should the buyer default? Maybe the person entity creating the loan should bear some responsibility instead?
  12. KL says:

    Ph.D. students in science do not pay tuition, and get stipends as lab workers or teaching assistants. Physical sciences like chemistry have many international students who are willing to work for comparatively low wages. Even Americans are willing to sacrifice income for the glory of academia.

    Economics pays better than physical sciences. Top programs have a high attrition rate because many students flunk qualifiers or can’t finish a dissertation. I was surprised to see Stanford Econ graduates around 19 Ph.D. students per year. https://economics.stanford.edu/graduate/student-placement

    Stanford places around one third of graduates in U.S. academic jobs. A smaller fraction get international academic jobs. The rest go to government or industry. While Stanford has a good placement records, only around 5 students per year go to strong research departments. Some will get tenure at those places, or other strong research programs. Others will get tenure at lesser programs or teaching institutions. And some will leave academia for government or industry.

  13. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    My reasoned guess is that the average income of Stanford economics Ph.D’s a few years after graduation is into the six figures even if one excludes the top three or four graduates.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
    The problem is that Stanford Economics PhDs benchmark against one another, not the rest of the economy, so if they fall below median in that distribution, they are still the losers in life's lottery.
    , @International Jew
    Quite right. Also, when the man says only the top 3-4 Stanford PhDs will be able to get "a good position in academia" he means, a tenure-track position at a top-20 university. I got my PhD, in economics, and from a place rated about the same as Stanford. Almost everyone who finished the program (which ended up being about half of our entering class) could have gotten a job that a graduate of, say, the University of Arizona, would have been delighted to have.
  14. @Arclight
    Part of the reason - in my opinion - that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college 'free' for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.

    If suddenly schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we'd see basically any department with the word "studies" in it eliminated.

    In theory I sort of agree, but certainly not in practice as I’d be on the border line of being cast into the street!

    The only problem is it’s not only academia. I think (irritating but interesting) David Graeber wrote an article called “bullshit’ jobs” which summed up the situation quite well. If you take the left’s bullshit jobs they will come after all the bullshit jobs in health insurance, the military etc. Bullshit jobs exist everywhere outside of small businesses and the causes for them are not just leftist ones – it’s what happens when a society’s survival is no longer at stake and people start to value the alleviation of any and every risk and need an office to implement that.(OK call that leftism but it’s just a structural condition)

    Get rid of all the bullshit jobs and pretty soon you have de facto 50% unemployment and social chaos. What then?

  15. if you’re going to have that, you don’t want this sort of Malthusian struggle.

    Well you are a university or a tenured university prof, of course you do. Over-crowed labs provide cheap indentured servant labor to publish more papers and teach more under-grad classes.

    Other universities that select new faculty and the commercial R&D labs don’t care either. As long as the The System grooms the Best and Brightest, they are indifferent to the hoards of wanna-bees who fall off the table.

    When you think about it, the university indentured servant grad school model is akin to their money sports athletic model. I.e. thousands of kids are seduced into thinking that they can play pro ball. The universities’ athletic programs are also a symbiotic farm-system for external stakeholders (NFL, NBA) where neither party has any incentive to kill the Golden Goose.

  16. @Arclight
    Part of the reason - in my opinion - that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college 'free' for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.

    If suddenly schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we'd see basically any department with the word "studies" in it eliminated.

    Exactly right. What the student loan bubble really is is a jobs program for academics. Academics get these cush jobs at directional state Us to teach idiot students who pay absurd tuition, fees, etc. which in turn pay these useless professors their nice salaries.

    We have the middle class subsidizing the lifestyle of an effete, useless intellectual class which despises them in return. Recipe for a Pol Pot type situation some day if left unchecked.

  17. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    True enough, but one should be able to find this out much faster than via a Phd program; better to use testing and apprenticeships.

    Alas, the market has responded by making Phd a requirement for jobs that could be filled without the degree.

  18. My [AGREE] applies to your 1st 2 paragraphs, Arclight. I think the universities-on-the-hook idea is just not very workable, and their being forced to sign doesn’t get to the real problem. The real problem, as with almost all ills in society today, is US Feral Gov’t involvement.

    The US Gov’t has no business backing up student loans with taxpayer money. Banks would not be loaning money to a majority of the people in college today, if they were going to take the losses from defaults. (And, no, the US Gov’t has no business getting involved in the terms of default/bankruptcy either.)

  19. A friend of mine with a PhD in history worked as a technical writer. I asked him about it, and he said that his specialty was French history at the time of the Revolution. His father was a history professor at an excellent university. He spoke French, had studied for several years in France, was well-published and his degree was from a top American university.

    He had applied for a tenure track position in his field, one of the few available. After a few months, he received a letter informing him that he had made the first cut. Congratulations! He was one of 100 applicants still in the running!

    He realized that he would never get a job in his field. He realized this when he was almost 30. An intellectually smart guy, but there is a different kind of smart that would have served him better.

  20. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    LOL. Completing an economics PhD is generally a pretty hellish existence. Professors expect you to be working 80 hours per week, it’s highly stressful and brings out a lot of mental health issues, and you have barely any money. I had a high-pressure consulting job before starting and it was much more relaxed and pleasurable.

    • Replies: @Paleo Liberal
    My Ph.D is in chemistry, but the same idea.

    I worked impossible hours under very stressful conditions and was rather poor during that time. However, some of the work I did was quite enjoyable.

    I don’t miss some guys trying to mug me at 3:00 when I was walking back from the lab.

    I don’t miss the last week of making corrections putting in 20+ hours a day of work for a solid week.

    I don’t miss never having enough money nor enough time for anything fun.
    , @Dmitry
    I don't know. For example, my brother has PhD (of Computer Science). He seemed to enjoy those years, and find it very easy, and just some kind of excuse not to have any real job.

    Actually I stayed with him for some time, when he was "studying" this PhD, and he was most of his "working hours" with the laptop, with multiple open browsers, sometimes playing computer games. And then sometimes going outside for some lazy talks or seminars, or to meet his friends for "work".

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher than my salary (I am a peasant with no such higher qualification). And his job conditions are easier (less hours working each week).

  21. @prosa123
    My reasoned guess is that the average income of Stanford economics Ph.D's a few years after graduation is into the six figures even if one excludes the top three or four graduates.

    The problem is that Stanford Economics PhDs benchmark against one another, not the rest of the economy, so if they fall below median in that distribution, they are still the losers in life’s lottery.

  22. Does Mr. Thiel say anything about associate professors? At our one regional university, it was pointed out most actual teaching was done by adjunct professors. Their maximum potential salary? $18,900 per annum.

  23. @Arclight
    Part of the reason - in my opinion - that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college 'free' for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.

    If suddenly schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we'd see basically any department with the word "studies" in it eliminated.

    …schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default…

    I absolutely agree. What the Democrat candidates are proposing is a massive transfer of wealth from taxpayers to universities. The universities do not have clean hands in this situation; they are exploiting the naivete of youth and an artificial requirement for credentials. It’s a moral hazard situation, because they bear no cost for encouraging students to mortgage their futures for a worthless education.

    • Agree: Arclight
    • Replies: @Old Prude
    Nailed it. It’s amazing no politician calls out the Universities as villains and con- men when its so obvious. The academic establishment doesn’t strike me as a hard target.
  24. Anonymous[409] • Disclaimer says:

    I did a Ph.D. in the late 90s. Even at that point in time, the issue was very well understood that there is an incentive to have more grad students than positions for them afterwards. Basically there is a lot of NSF funding for experimental sciences (and NIH funding for bio is insane). And this just means that there are all kinds of professors running big groups. (Even a small group nowadays would be considered a huge group, pre WW2 and pre big science).

    One of the commenters at C&E News said, “hey you guys like to puff yourselves up as such smart, rational scientists and you don’t even understand basic supply and demand”. Why are you running stories about encouraging more people to do science and how awful it is not to have enough Americans doing chemistry. And then the same issue you have a gazillion stories about how people can’t find jobs after graduation and need to turn into patent agents or run around doing postdocs.

    At least for me, the thing was not that bad, because I totally knew the situation (at least it wasn’t a shock) and I had money saved up from service during the Gulf War. And was OK with a breather. And emerged in one of the few hot job markets in 1999 (still getting caught in the 2000-2001 bust but so be it).

    But for most of the kids it was a big surprise that professors are basically running a pyramid scam. In undergrad even if you do some undergrad research it’s a very different situation being an extracurricular. And so they were intrigued with doing the Ph.D. Plus it meant not having to look for a job yet. And hopefully a better job eventually. But really most weren’t thinking about that until year 3 at least.

    In fact, my department sort of preferred to get kids out of small liberal arts schools instead of R1 schools. Because they wouldn’t have learned yet what a ripoff Ph.D. programs are and what a racket Big Science is. Wouldn’t be jaded yet. It was also a good strategy in that you could get Americans that way instead of an army of Chinese. Better socially and more willing to do things for joint maintenance of the lab.

    Anyhow, this really, really, really is old news. The problem really is the huge amount of funding going into R&D. Of course there are diminishing returns. And of course, the VAST amount of professors are not the next Lars Onsanger. So you’re really paying for a sort of elite mandarin force, that even of that, you have way more than you need. And then to get and keep positions and keep schools up in the USN world report, they have to run big groups, hustle grants, and basically not even do any real science themselves.

    • Agree: Mr. Anon
  25. Wall Street firms are always hiring those with PhDs in economics , which would be a better career than teaching at a University.

  26. CCZ says:

    “Our investigations of historical societies showed that rising economic inequality, elite overproduction (in the US taking the form of overproduction of law and business degrees), and increasing political violence are reliable indicators of a crisis to come.”

    “Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory).”

    “An actual example of this dynamic in action is provided by the evolution of the distribution of starting salaries of American law school graduates during the 1990s. Starting in the 1970s the numbers of lawyers began growing much faster than the general population, so that over the last 40 years the numbers of lawyers per 1000 population increased from 1.6 to 3.9.”

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/bimodal-lawyers-how-extreme-competition-breeds-extreme-inequality/

    His other articles are at:

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/popular/

    Peter Turchin, Professor at the University of Connecticut, researches cultural evolution and the historical dynamics of past and present societies. His research focuses on social conflict, income inequality, political violence, structural-demographic change, and “elite overproduction” and, as early as 2010, used his research to “predict” the United States would experience a period of social and political instability and even violence during the 2020s.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    You see this happening a lot in place like Egypt, where the universities turn out far more graduates than the economy can absorb. If you are an ignorant peasant you have no expectation of upward mobility - you life sucks and that's just the way it is and always has been. But such well educated people feel that they are "entitled" to a middle class job by virtue of their credentials and hard work and study and when they can't get one they feel cheated and angry. These are the people who start revolutions, become terrorists, etc.
    , @Sean
    As Piketty has it, historically the US lower 50% SES contained many first generation aspirational immigrants that had come from a poorer country and saw themselves on an upward trajectory so that kept American society stable despite great inequalities of labour income.

    He says immigration into Europe has been keeping European societies stable despite inequality rising rapidly, and so the US and Europe are becoming more alike. Immigration to the elites is like travel to the Romany: the cure for everything that ails them.
    , @candid_observer
    Peter Turchin has done some revolutionary work in mathematical modelling of history. I wonder how it is that he is stuck in something of a backwater like UConn.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Turchin
    , @Beckow

    "Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory)."
     
    When a society reaches the elite over-production phase, absolutely the best thing to do is to open up the borders to ambitious migrants, so they can really f...ck it up. The graduate programs like Stanford are heavily stocked with aspiring migrants and their offspring so the competition can be more Malthusian.

    One wonders if this was done be design, there are temporary benefits in over-producing elites who are then at each other throats. Or possibly, it just happened, an inevitable consequence of normal societal dynamics. As Peter Turchin correctly predicts, we are heading into choppy waters. So it is so much better that we have a few billion angry, ambitious, tribal people from the Third World to join us in that melee.
    , @Kibernetika
    Yes, Turchin is good. And his father was no slouch :)
  27. @The Alarmist
    The problem is these candidates, all bumbling along on student loans and grants, have no real perception of skin in the game: Send the 10 fighting over the bunsen burner into a Hunger Games arena in combat to the death, and you might get better results.

    Send the 10 fighting over the bunsen burner into a Hunger Games arena in combat to the death, and you might get better results.

    That’s the current system. It’s been that way for a long time (search _Science_ for articles about this in the 1960s) in pre-med. You get students coming in early to perform labs, then hiding or disabling equipment so that other students in the same course can’t complete their lab or, at the least, have to spend more hours to complete it.

    Make the prize large enough, and people will use theft, fraud, or violence to get it.

    Counterinsurgency

  28. Anonymous[425] • Disclaimer says:

    From Wisdom to Is-Dumb.

  29. @Arclight
    Part of the reason - in my opinion - that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college 'free' for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.

    If suddenly schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we'd see basically any department with the word "studies" in it eliminated.

    Part of the reason – in my opinion – that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college ‘free’ for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).

    Perhaps I’m giving our adversaries too much credit, but a caste of eternally indebted, poorly paid and therefore arrested-in-adolescence hangers-on at the thousands of American Universities with pretenses to being intellectuals and with lots of free time on their hands does create a large and geographically dispersed activist class for the left. I’m not only writing about Antifa foot soldiers like Eric Clanton, but also (and probably primarily) volunteers, organizers and agitators in all manner of leftist organizations.

    I recall some general strike or protest in France for government benefits maybe twenty years ago in which the organizers and protestors were made up largely of “students” in their twenties and thirties and remarking to myself “well, I suppose we’re better off than the French since we don’t have an entire class of idle malcontents.” I do not think this view holds any longer.

    • Agree: Prodigal son
    • Replies: @GermanReader2
    Thomas Sowell wrote in interesting column about this phenomenon:
    Here is an excerpt:

    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.
     
    https://www.creators.com/read/thomas-sowell/01/12/an-ignored-disparity-part-ii
  30. The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much.

    Thiel is being very snooty. A “good position” in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit “good position” to that then his statement is true, but that’s much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.

    The really sad cases are not rigorous PhDs in economics from Stanford but PhDs in some soft social science (“womyn’s studies”) from a 3rd tier university. In some cases I would venture that having such a degree DECREASES your earnings potential vs. not having it. A lucky few will get some underpaid position at an ideological “non-profit” that gets government grants. The rest will get a job at Starbucks. You’re going to be radioactive to almost anyone else.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Thiel is being very snooty. A “good position” in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit “good position” to that then his statement is true, but that’s much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.
     
    This may be true as far as Stanford goes, but as you write there are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the U.S., many of which have graduate programs in this or that and as a consequence there is a surfeit of academic clockwatchers with enormous non-dischargeable debt and no real career prospects in a field which would enable them to service their debts.

    Many are probably smarter than the average bear, but not smart or talented enough (or politically savvy enough) to achieve success by attaining a stable position in the academy in their fields of study.

    Paradoxically, it's probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions' cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.
    , @craig
    Thiel's mental picture of a "good" position may well be snooty, but his point holds. If 70% or more of the available slots are adjunct jobs with modest pay and no permanence, the expected value (in economic terms) of a Ph.D is not measured by the few tenure-track slots, any more than the expected value of a football scholarship is measured by the few who actually attain NFL salaries.

    Because the universities get paid up front, they don't want young people to know the expected value of a degree. Otherwise it would be obvious to all America that many degrees have a negative return on investment, and are nothing but consumption goods. Trump could get a lot of political traction (against the group that hates him more than any other) by demanding to know why taxes paid by farmers and plumbers and nurses and hairstylists ought to be subsidizing degrees that don't even repay the money spent on them. It's predatory lending, except that the "sales department" (academia) who talks you into buying the clunker operates under a different name than the finance department (government) who hounds you for the debt.
    , @Anon
    Do you read inside Higher Ed and Chronicles of Higher Ed? White men cannot get tenure track jobs these days. They may have a chance if they are in STEM econ (econometrics or quantitative economics) because only white and Asian men can do those fields. This part of economics is a separate department at some universities because DHS lets STEM grads on visas stay longer in the US for work experience than non STEM grads, so STEM econ departments are in big demand among full freight tuition paying foreign students.
  31. I guess I’m not the only one to notice that the output of the Stanford econ PHD program is really bad. I would actually go further and say that the output of Stanford graduate programs are generally very low quality.

    The idea that you need to be exceptionally smart to get into Stanford is nothing more than marketing. Everyone I know with a graduate degree from that university struggles with basic concepts. It is zero surprise to me that someone like Elizabeth Holmes came out of that environment.

    • Replies: @Jack D

    I would actually go further and say that the output of Stanford graduate programs are generally very low quality.
     
    Compared to what?

    The idea that you need to be exceptionally smart to get into Stanford is nothing more than marketing.
     
    The 75th percentile SAT score at Stanford is 1580, among the highest of any university in the US.


    All of modern academia has a sham element to it, but Stanford is no worse than the other top 10 universities in this regard. You sound like "sour grapes" to me.

    , @Oddsbodkins
    You're joking, right?
  32. @CCZ
    “Our investigations of historical societies showed that rising economic inequality, elite overproduction (in the US taking the form of overproduction of law and business degrees), and increasing political violence are reliable indicators of a crisis to come.”

    “Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory).”

    “An actual example of this dynamic in action is provided by the evolution of the distribution of starting salaries of American law school graduates during the 1990s. Starting in the 1970s the numbers of lawyers began growing much faster than the general population, so that over the last 40 years the numbers of lawyers per 1000 population increased from 1.6 to 3.9.”

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/bimodal-lawyers-how-extreme-competition-breeds-extreme-inequality/

    His other articles are at:

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/popular/


    Peter Turchin, Professor at the University of Connecticut, researches cultural evolution and the historical dynamics of past and present societies. His research focuses on social conflict, income inequality, political violence, structural-demographic change, and “elite overproduction” and, as early as 2010, used his research to “predict” the United States would experience a period of social and political instability and even violence during the 2020s.

    You see this happening a lot in place like Egypt, where the universities turn out far more graduates than the economy can absorb. If you are an ignorant peasant you have no expectation of upward mobility – you life sucks and that’s just the way it is and always has been. But such well educated people feel that they are “entitled” to a middle class job by virtue of their credentials and hard work and study and when they can’t get one they feel cheated and angry. These are the people who start revolutions, become terrorists, etc.

    • Replies: @Jimi
    I meet lots of you people in their 20s and 30s with masters degrees that are angry their degrees haven't given them a six figure salary.

    There is an assumption that studying hard or putting in the years towards a degree should guarantee you a good paying job. Even if what you studied has no market value. If you don't get a good paying job then capitalism is "rigged."

    These young people were taught by teachers and counselors that education automatically gives you a middle class life. We need a bit of tiger-mom p[philosophy here. You are responsible for choosing an education that leaves you with marketable skills.
    , @L Woods
    The upshot is that in current year America, middle class jobs don’t actually mean much: you work longer hours than the lower class, have less freedom (walking on egg shells around HR, etc), and don’t have (contrary to what many around here still believe) have significantly improved access to women. There’s actually not much point in bothering anymore aside from free floating ego (which, admittedly, is a significant and widespread motivator).
    , @Dmitry
    These sound like typical problems of e.g. 19th century German states.

    This oversupply of students, frustrated by lack of upward mobility, contributed to 1848 revolutions in cities like Vienna.

    But, on the positive side, this dynamic also contributed a lot to cultural flowering of 19th century, and character of romantic movements.

    , @Old Prude
    Or game the American immigration system (then become terrorists or the parents thereof)
    , @stillCARealist
    This squares with Les Miserables, which I'm reading right now. I'm only on page 640 so I can't say how revolutionary the young scamps are going to become, but so far they're enjoying blaming everything on the aristocrats and royalty.

    That is, while they blow their trust funds on not working. This sounds so 21st century.
  33. Ph.D. was supposed to be a research qualification: the candidate actually discovered something news, and is turned lose to find something else new, and, one hopes, valuable. The funny thing here is that nobody has the capital to develop new concepts.

    In practice, Ph.D. has become an advanced Master’s degree, demonstrating that one has learned many algorithms and can, perhaps, run a laboratory, and can get along with senior Professors. It’s a vanity degree at this point, except when it’s awarded by one of a very few places.

    This is costing our society more than it can afford. Our society uses many systems that it no longer understands (e.g. the integrated software packages of the old resource management systems, the welfare state money distributing software (e.g. Social Security). Not only does our society not understand them, but it also thinks it does, and believes they are working when they don’t. This is going to be quite a surprise when, at some unpredictable timee, the systems are put under stress. [2]

    Counterinsurgency

    1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_ball_of_mud

    Below we see design/maintenance team at work. In the background is, left to right, we have line management, a corporate executive, and a representative from HR.

    https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftommcfarlin.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F08%2Fbig-ball-of-mud.jpg&f=1

    2] Yes, alternate design methods are available, and they might be applied to fix the situation. However:
    a) nobody has the money to make a new system using the alternate design.
    b) nobody (except a _very_ few specialists) understand how badly the alternate design is needed.
    c) nobody (except an _even smaller_ number of specialists) understand how the alternate design is to be used, and so it would probably be used badly [3].

    3] The first railroad bridge to be made of steel beams was given to an experienced builder of wooden bridges. He made mistakes, and built a copy of a wooden bridge, only using steel I beams. The mistake I remember reading about was putting the I beams on their side so they “wouldn’t tip over”. First heavy load train over the bridge and the whole thing came down. That’s what happens when you don’t understand a design.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    I don't know what PhD has to do with Big Ball of Mud, but Big Ball of Mud is just what you call other people's code. Every contractor, plumber, electrician I know declares the prior guy's work to be the bricks and mortar equivalent of a Big Ball of Mud. The cure is always the same. Tear it all down and start fresh and I will build you a Masterpiece of Architecture and not a Big Ball of Mud. Except that the next guy to come along will proclaim to be a big ball of mud and demand that you start fresh yet again.
  34. @Jack D
    You see this happening a lot in place like Egypt, where the universities turn out far more graduates than the economy can absorb. If you are an ignorant peasant you have no expectation of upward mobility - you life sucks and that's just the way it is and always has been. But such well educated people feel that they are "entitled" to a middle class job by virtue of their credentials and hard work and study and when they can't get one they feel cheated and angry. These are the people who start revolutions, become terrorists, etc.

    I meet lots of you people in their 20s and 30s with masters degrees that are angry their degrees haven’t given them a six figure salary.

    There is an assumption that studying hard or putting in the years towards a degree should guarantee you a good paying job. Even if what you studied has no market value. If you don’t get a good paying job then capitalism is “rigged.”

    These young people were taught by teachers and counselors that education automatically gives you a middle class life. We need a bit of tiger-mom p[philosophy here. You are responsible for choosing an education that leaves you with marketable skills.

    • Replies: @Corn
    “These young people were taught by teachers and counselors that education automatically gives you a middle class life. We need a bit of tiger-mom p[philosophy here. You are responsible for choosing an education that leaves you with marketable skills.”

    Quite true. When I was going to grade and high school in the ‘80s and ‘90s we were basically taught that a college degree was the ticket to Easy Street. There was a period of time in the ‘70s where my high school wouldn’t allow military recruiters on the premises, because “all our kids are college bound”.

    This is a high school in a small Midwestern farming town btw, not a prog suburb.

    I’m always torn on the student loan forgiveness debate that pops up sometimes. I don’t want some people’s debt to be assumed by society as a hole... but on the other hand... you have at least 3 or 4 generations of kids who were basically told their only choice was Harvard or hamburger flipping.
    , @Autochthon
    Calm down, Baby Boomer Jimi; we will get you another phone with big buttons and a faster Rascal.
  35. There are lots of jobs in the private sector as well as public sector for economists so this field is not a good example.

    But even for fields like Literature, where almost no jobs outside academia require a degree, I don’t really see a problem with training more phds than there are jobs in academia. Yes, it costs them and it costs whoever is funding them, but they can find other avenues of work. My high school English teacher had a PhD in English literature. What was the problem with that?

    The issue of universities being an ideologically straightjacketed leftist circle jerk is a separate problem.

  36. @CCZ
    “Our investigations of historical societies showed that rising economic inequality, elite overproduction (in the US taking the form of overproduction of law and business degrees), and increasing political violence are reliable indicators of a crisis to come.”

    “Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory).”

    “An actual example of this dynamic in action is provided by the evolution of the distribution of starting salaries of American law school graduates during the 1990s. Starting in the 1970s the numbers of lawyers began growing much faster than the general population, so that over the last 40 years the numbers of lawyers per 1000 population increased from 1.6 to 3.9.”

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/bimodal-lawyers-how-extreme-competition-breeds-extreme-inequality/

    His other articles are at:

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/popular/


    Peter Turchin, Professor at the University of Connecticut, researches cultural evolution and the historical dynamics of past and present societies. His research focuses on social conflict, income inequality, political violence, structural-demographic change, and “elite overproduction” and, as early as 2010, used his research to “predict” the United States would experience a period of social and political instability and even violence during the 2020s.

    As Piketty has it, historically the US lower 50% SES contained many first generation aspirational immigrants that had come from a poorer country and saw themselves on an upward trajectory so that kept American society stable despite great inequalities of labour income.

    He says immigration into Europe has been keeping European societies stable despite inequality rising rapidly, and so the US and Europe are becoming more alike. Immigration to the elites is like travel to the Romany: the cure for everything that ails them.

    • Replies: @GermanReader2
    I find it incredulous, that Piketty's argument, that large immigration of poor people stabilizes a country is believed by so many people. In my opinion it destabilizes it, because of the following reasons:
    -As Jorge Borjas has shown, immigration distributes money away from labour to capital. In essence, it increases inequality in a society (which destabilizes it), because it decreases wages (especially low wages if you import low-wage earners) and increases rents/houses-prices. The people who benefit are those who employ the immigrants and already own houses/land.
    -If you import members of a different ethnic group/religion you get ethnic tensions, which destabilizes a country as well.
    -The US was more stable in the time between 1920 and 1965 (when there was a large decrease in immigration) than it is today.
    -Even if immigrats were grateful (Is Ilhan Omar grateful for living in the US?), their children demand at least the same standard of living than the middle class of the original inhabitants and take up crime, rioting etc. when their lack of skill/education is not enough for a middle class occupation. Who does the rioting in countries like Sweden or France? Children/Grandchildren of immigrants from third-world countries. Who does an outsized amount of crime committed in Europe? Children/Grandchildren of immigrants from thirld-world countries.
    - Even if immigrants were grateful (which they mostly are not), since their children are not grateful, you essentially have to import a lot of fresh immigrants each year to cancel the negative effects the children of immigrants have on the overall stability of the country
    -A lot of immigrants to Europe are Muslim and feel entitled to a better standard of living than the host population as part of their religion

    The reason the US was relatively stable, was that they had an ever expanding border until around 1900 (basically the Western part of the US had the same function countries like the US had for Europe). If you did not like all the new immigrants, you could just move west and become a farmer in a state like Oregon (and later like Montana). Additionally, having lots of cheap land was a great stabilizer for a society that was still largely agrarian. For me, it is no coincidence that the movement to restrict immigration gained steam in the late 19th century and early 20th century, because the US was running out of empty land people could settle.


    Because of the utter bullsh*t a lot of economist have said about immigration (about half of surveyed economist said, that the immigration of poor and uneducated people in a welfare-state is a net positive for the receiving state) I regard the whole academic subject as little better than astrology.
    , @Anonymous
    Cardinal Richelieu, often regarded as the founder of the modern nation-state, explained it better: When the common people, or "mules", are too well off and comfortable, they start causing problems and become harder to control:

    All students of politics agree that when the common people are too well off it is impossible to keep them peaceable. The explanation for this is that they are less well informed than the members of the other orders in the state, who are much more cultivated and enlightened, and so if not preoccupied with the search for the necessities of existence, find it difficult to remain within the limits imposed by both common sense and the law. It would not be sound to relieve them of all taxation and similar charges, since in such a case they would lose the mark of their subjection and consequently the awareness of their station. Thus being free from paying tribute, they would consider themselves exempted from obedience. One should compare them with mules, which being accustomed to work, suffer more when long idle than when kept busy. But just as this work should be reasonable, with the burdens placed upon these animals proportionate to their strength, so it is likewise with the burdens placed upon the people.
     
  37. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    Peter Thiel (or his Stanford U. econ department contact) is exaggerating quite a bit in his claim about Stanford PhD graduates. Virtually all the economics PhD graduates from Stanford will get solid jobs as economists (academic, business, or public sector). Admittedly only the top two or three will get jobs at very top schools like Princeton, Yale, and such, but that is an extremely high benchmark. They will virtually all get reasonably high-quality jobs as economists. Peter Thiel has extremely high standards for a “good” job in this statement, or is not correct in his evaluation of the graduate economics job market.

    • Agree: Bill
  38. As I have written about before (many times and from many angles), it isn’t just elites that we’ve overproduced—we’ve overproduced everybody. We’ve also overproduced the number of coolies, scabs, and welfare sponges; we’ve overproduced the number of retirees, pensioners, and state beneficiaries; and, what’s more—and this is the part nobody wants to admit—we’ve massively overproduced the middle class.

    Most of the middle class prosperity in this country is fake. There are millions drawing a salary directly from government or from government contracting; there are windfall wages in FIRE and banking due to monetary policy, and additional bubble conditions in healthcare and education. And all of this middle class liquidity has bloated the demand for so-called services—everything from soccer coaches to restaurants to guys in moving trucks, a whole asteroid belt of giggers living on the fringes of productive society—that should not exist.

    All of these overproduced classes have one thing in common: they are all the result of loose monetary policy and easy credit expansion. They are the living avatars of the “misallocated capital” that occurs in the absence of market discipline. And this is why Great Depressions result in things like a third of the country being out of work, because the phony demand for all these phony jobs evaporates.

    And while nobody can time the market with perfect certainty, it should be clear that the current bullshit cannot last much longer. The retirement of the Boomers is going to tax our already gamed-to-death system to the breaking point. And it does no good in this regard to bring up the case of Japan, and how it has managed to trundle along for decades in Keynesian coma, as a counterexample. Japan is not the guarantor of the world’s reserve currency; t does not have nearly as far to fall.

    The ggod news is that the next liquidation will take all of SWism with it. The ad news is that it will also reduce the civilized world to a post-Napoleonic state of exhaustion.

    • Replies: @Old Palo Altan
    "a post-Napoleonic state of exhaustion".

    If it brings in its wake another 1815-1848, that splendid period of political reaction, religious rebirth, and blossoming creativity in the arts and sciences, then I would welcome it with open arms.

    But something tells me it won't.
  39. In science a big reason for overproduction of Ph.D.s is that profs need them to do their lab work.
    Most lab work is done by Ph.D. students who are new to the job and they often only have other Ph.D. students to teach them what to do as the professor has often been behind a desk too long to give useful advice. The system might work better if profs were each assigned a technician to work with. This would mean that they could do research themselves by working with the technician (and so keep their hand in for the lab) and would not have to take on so many grad students.

    The pantomime of professors pretending to be interested in teaching grad students when they just need their labour leads to a lot of problems in research.

  40. @prosa123
    My reasoned guess is that the average income of Stanford economics Ph.D's a few years after graduation is into the six figures even if one excludes the top three or four graduates.

    Quite right. Also, when the man says only the top 3-4 Stanford PhDs will be able to get “a good position in academia” he means, a tenure-track position at a top-20 university. I got my PhD, in economics, and from a place rated about the same as Stanford. Almost everyone who finished the program (which ended up being about half of our entering class) could have gotten a job that a graduate of, say, the University of Arizona, would have been delighted to have.

    • Agree: Jack D
  41. Anonymous[388] • Disclaimer says:
    @Arclight
    Part of the reason - in my opinion - that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college 'free' for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.

    If suddenly schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we'd see basically any department with the word "studies" in it eliminated.

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.

    The education-industrial complex.

    WSJ: Who’ll Take a Pay Cut for Free College?
    ‘It’s so inspiring, I’d do it for nothing.’ Put that piety to a test.

    By Joseph Epstein
    July 17, 2019

    Democratic candidates for president, in their impressive expansiveness, are promising free college. Some limit their proposals to community colleges, others to state-run schools, and a few, going for broke, want also to forgive student debt for private-college tuition. Since no realm of American life has undergone greater inflation in recent decades than higher education, this is no piddling promise. The cost to taxpayers could be in the trillions, though the prospect would please a nephew of mine who this autumn is sending a son to Dartmouth at the annual price of $76,000.

    If government is going to pay for college, at least it ought to try to bring down the cost. I taught at a university for 30 years and have a few suggestions. Start at the top: I would reduce the salaries of university presidents by, say, 90%. (At the institution where I taught, the president made more than $2 million when last I checked.) I would also evict them from their rent-free mansions and remove their cadres of servants. The contemporary university president, after all, has little or nothing to do with education, but is chiefly occupied with fundraising and public relations. If universities were restaurants, the president would be a maître d’. To encourage their fundraising skills, perhaps they could be paid a small commission on the money they bring into their schools—cash, so to speak, and carry—excepting that on money used to erect more otiose buildings filled with treadmills, computers and condom machines.

    The next big cut in the cost of higher education would be in superfluous administrative jobs, for the contemporary university is nothing if not vastly overstaffed. All those assistant provosts for diversity, those associate deans presiding over sensitivity programs, those directors for student experience—out, out with them…

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/wholl-take-a-pay-cut-for-free-college-11563404022

    I don’t think most parents know they are largely subsidizing sinecures when they pay their kid’s tuition.

    If suddenly schools had to co-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we’d see basically any department with the word “studies” in it eliminated.

    I doubt it.

    Myths of Student-Loan Debt

    …Basically, borrowers tend to be wealthy, and non-wealthy borrowers drowning in debt already have options for getting rid of their burden. Thus it’s hardly surprising that forgiving even more debt can easily amount to a handout to the upper middle class. An analysis by the Brookings Institution found that Warren’s plan, despite phasing out benefits for the highest-earning households, would give two-thirds of its benefits to the top 40 percent of households by income.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2019/07/29/myths-of-student-loan-debt/

    Except for STEM disciplines, I agree with James Altucher (in the video below). But he would disagree about even STEM degrees (nb: Altucher has his BS from Cornell and MS from Carnegie- Mellon in computer science).

    https://www.businessinsider.com/college-waste-time-money-james-altucher-work-experience-2015-5

    JAMES ALTUCHER: College is a waste of time and money

  42. File under un-woke Jewess accidentally throws herself off the bus or the Jew card just ain’t what it used to be.

    Denver realtors delete hip-hop parody called ‘an ad for gentrification’
    As Denver navigates gentrification, real estate agents made a music video boasting about all the property they’ve sold.

    In defending herself Mor Zucker said

    “What’s it that’s causing people so much anger?” Zucker said. “We didn’t make fun of any minority.”

    “The only thing I can think is that it’s a rap video and we’re white,” Zucker said. “But shouldn’t we be able to?

    Zucker said Team Denver Homes doesn’t have any people of color on its staff but she noted that she has friends who are.

    “Basically, I’m a minority,” Zucker added. “I’m a Jewish person.”

    https://www.9news.com/article/news/denver-realtors-delete-hip-hop-parody-called-an-ad-for-gentrification/73-f6557714-8be3-4eb6-b6d9-caf1be3c3684

    Image of Mor

    FYI in the latest news, she has been fired…..

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    So, can she use her Stanford Econ Ph.D to go into academia? Or maybe be the new Lauren Southern for the Proud Boys?
  43. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    That does not conform to my understanding of doctoral study at all: it sounds quite grueling.

  44. @Jack D

    The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much.
     
    Thiel is being very snooty. A "good position" in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit "good position" to that then his statement is true, but that's much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.

    The really sad cases are not rigorous PhDs in economics from Stanford but PhDs in some soft social science ("womyn's studies") from a 3rd tier university. In some cases I would venture that having such a degree DECREASES your earnings potential vs. not having it. A lucky few will get some underpaid position at an ideological "non-profit" that gets government grants. The rest will get a job at Starbucks. You're going to be radioactive to almost anyone else.

    Thiel is being very snooty. A “good position” in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit “good position” to that then his statement is true, but that’s much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.

    This may be true as far as Stanford goes, but as you write there are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the U.S., many of which have graduate programs in this or that and as a consequence there is a surfeit of academic clockwatchers with enormous non-dischargeable debt and no real career prospects in a field which would enable them to service their debts.

    Many are probably smarter than the average bear, but not smart or talented enough (or politically savvy enough) to achieve success by attaining a stable position in the academy in their fields of study.

    Paradoxically, it’s probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions’ cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.

    • Replies: @Autochthon

    Paradoxically, it’s probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions’ cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.
     
    Can confirm.

    Teaching graduate courses in law at ABA-accredited schools attached to Research One universities does not qualify one to teach social studies / civics / government / political science to twelve-year-olds.

    Any harping about shortages of teachers is as phony as the harping about shortages of programmers and just as driven by nefarious efforts at exploiting everyone involved.

    Becoming a licensed veterinary technician requires at least two years' school, followed by a supervised period of apprenticeship one must also pay for. Upon completion, salaries start at $8.00 hourly. Shockingly, turnover is astronomical.

    There is a wide swath of jobs requiring laughably arcane qualifications and paying less than a Guatelombian can earn digging ditches if one of the more generous scofflaws picks him up from the Home Depot's parking lot that day.

    Many problems today are variations of Doug Stanhope's seminal lament: "You need a license to cut hair in this country."
    , @Anonymous

    Paradoxically, it’s probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions’ cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.
     
    Exactly.

    Schools of Education are worthless and powerful federal incentives should be used to break this nonsense, but since as many Recucks are beholden to the NEA as are the donkeys, it's unlikely.
    , @J.Ross
    We could have all the teachers we need if that's what we wanted. It really is the requirements, which are pure cartelism, and meaningless anyway -- increasingly the tendency is to assemble an all-important manual and require that the teacher never deviate from it (you will be chewed out even if your deviation helped the kid). I had good humanities and biology preparation, with weak math, and a handful of other things like econ and introductory business law. I asked about becoming a teacher using my existing credits. I was told they were worthless and that I should start all over, expecting to take as much time as would be neccesary to saw bones or pull teeth. I did not say out loud, "that can't possibly be right." None of the theoretical classes and workshops had anything to do with controlling a classroom or accurately representing source material. In the past, counting non-ed-school credits toward a teaching certificate enabled perfectly qualified people to become good teachers (it also meant teachers were more well-rounded). Now the feeling is that this practice was sloppy and dangerous. Problems with individual teachers have frequently been chalked up to this "failure to professionalize." And then there's the political and diversity mess.
  45. @Jack D
    You see this happening a lot in place like Egypt, where the universities turn out far more graduates than the economy can absorb. If you are an ignorant peasant you have no expectation of upward mobility - you life sucks and that's just the way it is and always has been. But such well educated people feel that they are "entitled" to a middle class job by virtue of their credentials and hard work and study and when they can't get one they feel cheated and angry. These are the people who start revolutions, become terrorists, etc.

    The upshot is that in current year America, middle class jobs don’t actually mean much: you work longer hours than the lower class, have less freedom (walking on egg shells around HR, etc), and don’t have (contrary to what many around here still believe) have significantly improved access to women. There’s actually not much point in bothering anymore aside from free floating ego (which, admittedly, is a significant and widespread motivator).

  46. Theil is nuts. I frequently hire economists for jobs at a good liberal arts college where the job is wonderful (if you can avoid wrongthink) Stanford econ phds wont even interview with us. They get great jobs. Any top 10 econ phd guarantees a good job unless you really screw up.

    Its humanities where even harvard phds cant get jobs.

    Also there would be lots of good academoc jobs for americans but for unlimited h1bs in academia.

  47. @CCZ
    “Our investigations of historical societies showed that rising economic inequality, elite overproduction (in the US taking the form of overproduction of law and business degrees), and increasing political violence are reliable indicators of a crisis to come.”

    “Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory).”

    “An actual example of this dynamic in action is provided by the evolution of the distribution of starting salaries of American law school graduates during the 1990s. Starting in the 1970s the numbers of lawyers began growing much faster than the general population, so that over the last 40 years the numbers of lawyers per 1000 population increased from 1.6 to 3.9.”

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/bimodal-lawyers-how-extreme-competition-breeds-extreme-inequality/

    His other articles are at:

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/popular/


    Peter Turchin, Professor at the University of Connecticut, researches cultural evolution and the historical dynamics of past and present societies. His research focuses on social conflict, income inequality, political violence, structural-demographic change, and “elite overproduction” and, as early as 2010, used his research to “predict” the United States would experience a period of social and political instability and even violence during the 2020s.

    Peter Turchin has done some revolutionary work in mathematical modelling of history. I wonder how it is that he is stuck in something of a backwater like UConn.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Turchin

    • Replies: @Jack D
    I think you are being a little snooty now. U Conn is not exactly a backwater. US News ranks it as #63, in line with some of the better (if not best) state U's such as Penn State, University of Maryland and the University of Washington. A faculty appointment there is quite respectable. I'm sure that given his research he could find a more prestigious position but maybe he is happy where he is. People can have all sorts of personal circumstances that may prevent from moving.

    I think he is doing very well for an immigrant who came to the US as a (young) adult, better than 99.9% of the people who are currently swimming the Rio Grande. He entered the US in 1977 at age 20 and by 1980 he had a cum laude biology degree from NYU. I can't imagine doing the reverse. If I had left the US and moved to Moscow in 1977, in 1980 I would still be struggling with "Где туалет?"
    , @James Braxton
    Maybe he likes it?
  48. @Jack D
    You see this happening a lot in place like Egypt, where the universities turn out far more graduates than the economy can absorb. If you are an ignorant peasant you have no expectation of upward mobility - you life sucks and that's just the way it is and always has been. But such well educated people feel that they are "entitled" to a middle class job by virtue of their credentials and hard work and study and when they can't get one they feel cheated and angry. These are the people who start revolutions, become terrorists, etc.

    These sound like typical problems of e.g. 19th century German states.

    This oversupply of students, frustrated by lack of upward mobility, contributed to 1848 revolutions in cities like Vienna.

    But, on the positive side, this dynamic also contributed a lot to cultural flowering of 19th century, and character of romantic movements.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    My go-to comparison is late Qing China, which had a *massive* issue with elite overproduction. Unlike Germany, there was little to no positive impact from this, with perhaps the most egregious example being the Taiping Rebellion-led, of course, by a failed imperial examination candidate who had a mental breakdown. That war would end up costing more aggregate lives than any other conflict until WWII came along. One could say that China didn't really end recovering from the 1800s until the last few decades.

    Maybe the difference is that Germany actively launched into a period of economic and cultural dynamism in the 1800s that would eventually lead them becoming something akin to the "China" of the late bourgeois age, whereas 1800s China was... well...

    , @Romanian

    But, on the positive side, this dynamic also contributed a lot to cultural flowering of 19th century, and character of romantic movements.
     
    I'm not sold on the "flowering" I am seeing, nor on the romanticism of Sanctuary cities and other such movements :P

    Future generations will likely be very bad off to see this period as one of "flowering".

    My assumption is that the period is mostly due to technology taking off in the presence of capitalism and relatively secure property rights in lower-clannishness societies. More economic surplus to go around, including for utopian projects or hard-headed political ones (bourgeois vs prescriptive elites). What amazes me about the period is how politically unstable it was, while still delivering high growth rates.
  49. @Harry Baldwin
    ...schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default...

    I absolutely agree. What the Democrat candidates are proposing is a massive transfer of wealth from taxpayers to universities. The universities do not have clean hands in this situation; they are exploiting the naivete of youth and an artificial requirement for credentials. It's a moral hazard situation, because they bear no cost for encouraging students to mortgage their futures for a worthless education.

    Nailed it. It’s amazing no politician calls out the Universities as villains and con- men when its so obvious. The academic establishment doesn’t strike me as a hard target.

  50. @CCZ
    “Our investigations of historical societies showed that rising economic inequality, elite overproduction (in the US taking the form of overproduction of law and business degrees), and increasing political violence are reliable indicators of a crisis to come.”

    “Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory).”

    “An actual example of this dynamic in action is provided by the evolution of the distribution of starting salaries of American law school graduates during the 1990s. Starting in the 1970s the numbers of lawyers began growing much faster than the general population, so that over the last 40 years the numbers of lawyers per 1000 population increased from 1.6 to 3.9.”

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/bimodal-lawyers-how-extreme-competition-breeds-extreme-inequality/

    His other articles are at:

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/popular/


    Peter Turchin, Professor at the University of Connecticut, researches cultural evolution and the historical dynamics of past and present societies. His research focuses on social conflict, income inequality, political violence, structural-demographic change, and “elite overproduction” and, as early as 2010, used his research to “predict” the United States would experience a period of social and political instability and even violence during the 2020s.

    “Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory).”

    When a society reaches the elite over-production phase, absolutely the best thing to do is to open up the borders to ambitious migrants, so they can really f…ck it up. The graduate programs like Stanford are heavily stocked with aspiring migrants and their offspring so the competition can be more Malthusian.

    One wonders if this was done be design, there are temporary benefits in over-producing elites who are then at each other throats. Or possibly, it just happened, an inevitable consequence of normal societal dynamics. As Peter Turchin correctly predicts, we are heading into choppy waters. So it is so much better that we have a few billion angry, ambitious, tribal people from the Third World to join us in that melee.

    • Replies: @Dmitry

    wonders if this was done be design
     
    PhD is partly a luxury consumption product, which people can do for pleasure - particularly people who pay for their own tuition fees.

    Of course, it is by design, that you would open such a product to sell it to status-anxious foreign people, where you start to get real money from them.

    This is especially if you look at the EU university system, where non-EU (i.e. Russian. America, Brazilian and Chinese) students have to pay multiple times higher than EU students, and there is no limit on tuition fees they can be asked to pay.

    Therefore, for universities in countries like UK, it's far more profitable for them to accept Chinese, Russian, Brazilian, or American students, than to accept EU students, who pay multiple times less.

    Look at how much a Russian student has pay for PhD in a university like Cambridge, compared to a British student. The price difference is quite scary (and you'll see the "prestigious university" is more like those scamming Italian restaurants which have a special menu for Japanese tourists, with all prices increased by 4 times).

  51. @Jack D
    You see this happening a lot in place like Egypt, where the universities turn out far more graduates than the economy can absorb. If you are an ignorant peasant you have no expectation of upward mobility - you life sucks and that's just the way it is and always has been. But such well educated people feel that they are "entitled" to a middle class job by virtue of their credentials and hard work and study and when they can't get one they feel cheated and angry. These are the people who start revolutions, become terrorists, etc.

    Or game the American immigration system (then become terrorists or the parents thereof)

  52. anonymous[935] • Disclaimer says:

    As other commentors have said, all but the very bottom at Stanford will get good jobs. The bottom will have to settle for inferior jobs as six-figure starting salaries at consulting firms, but most will turn out OK. See https://economics.stanford.edu/graduate/student-placement .

    The reason the faculty anoint a few students is that that’s the best way for ANY of your students to have a chance at the top 5 economics departments in the world, where having a Stanford PhD isn’t even table stakes.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    A lot of the overflow seems to end up at Cornerstone Research:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone_Research

    Cornerstone Research is a litigation consulting firm based in the United States and the United Kingdom. It provides economic and financial analysis and expert testimony to attorneys, corporations and government agencies involved in complex litigation and regulatory proceedings.

     

    In other words, rent-a-witnesses. Hey, it's a living.
  53. @Jack D
    You see this happening a lot in place like Egypt, where the universities turn out far more graduates than the economy can absorb. If you are an ignorant peasant you have no expectation of upward mobility - you life sucks and that's just the way it is and always has been. But such well educated people feel that they are "entitled" to a middle class job by virtue of their credentials and hard work and study and when they can't get one they feel cheated and angry. These are the people who start revolutions, become terrorists, etc.

    This squares with Les Miserables, which I’m reading right now. I’m only on page 640 so I can’t say how revolutionary the young scamps are going to become, but so far they’re enjoying blaming everything on the aristocrats and royalty.

    That is, while they blow their trust funds on not working. This sounds so 21st century.

  54. @Jack D

    The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much.
     
    Thiel is being very snooty. A "good position" in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit "good position" to that then his statement is true, but that's much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.

    The really sad cases are not rigorous PhDs in economics from Stanford but PhDs in some soft social science ("womyn's studies") from a 3rd tier university. In some cases I would venture that having such a degree DECREASES your earnings potential vs. not having it. A lucky few will get some underpaid position at an ideological "non-profit" that gets government grants. The rest will get a job at Starbucks. You're going to be radioactive to almost anyone else.

    Thiel’s mental picture of a “good” position may well be snooty, but his point holds. If 70% or more of the available slots are adjunct jobs with modest pay and no permanence, the expected value (in economic terms) of a Ph.D is not measured by the few tenure-track slots, any more than the expected value of a football scholarship is measured by the few who actually attain NFL salaries.

    Because the universities get paid up front, they don’t want young people to know the expected value of a degree. Otherwise it would be obvious to all America that many degrees have a negative return on investment, and are nothing but consumption goods. Trump could get a lot of political traction (against the group that hates him more than any other) by demanding to know why taxes paid by farmers and plumbers and nurses and hairstylists ought to be subsidizing degrees that don’t even repay the money spent on them. It’s predatory lending, except that the “sales department” (academia) who talks you into buying the clunker operates under a different name than the finance department (government) who hounds you for the debt.

    • Disagree: Abolish_public_education
    • Replies: @Jack D
    Your point holds in general and for many programs but the Stanford economics PhD program is not a good poster boy because no one from that program ends up in a situation where the best they can do is an adjunct job. Anyone with that degree can get a real, high paying job of some sort if not a tenure track faculty appointment in all cases. If Thiel had used say English Literature as his example then he would have been closer to right. There are PhD fields where 90% of the graduates have no realistic hope of ever landing a tenure track job and where just about the only thing you can do with the degree is use it to produce even more PhDs, but economics is not one of them.
    , @Abolish_public_education
    Sorry. Wrong button.

    I strongly AGREE.
  55. Anon[206] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D

    The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much.
     
    Thiel is being very snooty. A "good position" in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit "good position" to that then his statement is true, but that's much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.

    The really sad cases are not rigorous PhDs in economics from Stanford but PhDs in some soft social science ("womyn's studies") from a 3rd tier university. In some cases I would venture that having such a degree DECREASES your earnings potential vs. not having it. A lucky few will get some underpaid position at an ideological "non-profit" that gets government grants. The rest will get a job at Starbucks. You're going to be radioactive to almost anyone else.

    Do you read inside Higher Ed and Chronicles of Higher Ed? White men cannot get tenure track jobs these days. They may have a chance if they are in STEM econ (econometrics or quantitative economics) because only white and Asian men can do those fields. This part of economics is a separate department at some universities because DHS lets STEM grads on visas stay longer in the US for work experience than non STEM grads, so STEM econ departments are in big demand among full freight tuition paying foreign students.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    This is only a temporary situation - won't last for more than another 10 or 20 years until the last baby boomer white male retires. Sure, until then depts. are only going to hire females, minorities, transgender, etc. until equity is achieved but after than white cisgender males should be able to snag up to 20 or 25% of academic jobs, no problem. I don't know what you are complaining about. White men have held all the academic jobs in America for the last 300 years so it's only fair that they step aside for the next 300.
  56. @candid_observer
    Peter Turchin has done some revolutionary work in mathematical modelling of history. I wonder how it is that he is stuck in something of a backwater like UConn.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Turchin

    I think you are being a little snooty now. U Conn is not exactly a backwater. US News ranks it as #63, in line with some of the better (if not best) state U’s such as Penn State, University of Maryland and the University of Washington. A faculty appointment there is quite respectable. I’m sure that given his research he could find a more prestigious position but maybe he is happy where he is. People can have all sorts of personal circumstances that may prevent from moving.

    I think he is doing very well for an immigrant who came to the US as a (young) adult, better than 99.9% of the people who are currently swimming the Rio Grande. He entered the US in 1977 at age 20 and by 1980 he had a cum laude biology degree from NYU. I can’t imagine doing the reverse. If I had left the US and moved to Moscow in 1977, in 1980 I would still be struggling with “Где туалет?”

  57. @Mike1
    I guess I'm not the only one to notice that the output of the Stanford econ PHD program is really bad. I would actually go further and say that the output of Stanford graduate programs are generally very low quality.

    The idea that you need to be exceptionally smart to get into Stanford is nothing more than marketing. Everyone I know with a graduate degree from that university struggles with basic concepts. It is zero surprise to me that someone like Elizabeth Holmes came out of that environment.

    I would actually go further and say that the output of Stanford graduate programs are generally very low quality.

    Compared to what?

    The idea that you need to be exceptionally smart to get into Stanford is nothing more than marketing.

    The 75th percentile SAT score at Stanford is 1580, among the highest of any university in the US.

    All of modern academia has a sham element to it, but Stanford is no worse than the other top 10 universities in this regard. You sound like “sour grapes” to me.

    • Replies: @Mike1
    Either sour grapes or actually knowing what I'm talking about. There is a reason engineering grads from Stanford are not recruited.

    What on earth does SAT have to do with post graduate education?!
  58. @Counterinsurgency
    Ph.D. was supposed to be a research qualification: the candidate actually discovered something news, and is turned lose to find something else new, and, one hopes, valuable. The funny thing here is that nobody has the capital to develop new concepts.

    In practice, Ph.D. has become an advanced Master's degree, demonstrating that one has learned many algorithms and can, perhaps, run a laboratory, and can get along with senior Professors. It's a vanity degree at this point, except when it's awarded by one of a very few places.

    This is costing our society more than it can afford. Our society uses many systems that it no longer understands (e.g. the integrated software packages of the old resource management systems, the welfare state money distributing software (e.g. Social Security). Not only does our society not understand them, but it also thinks it does, and believes they are working when they don't. This is going to be quite a surprise when, at some unpredictable timee, the systems are put under stress. [2]

    Counterinsurgency

    1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_ball_of_mud

    Below we see design/maintenance team at work. In the background is, left to right, we have line management, a corporate executive, and a representative from HR.

    https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftommcfarlin.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F08%2Fbig-ball-of-mud.jpg&f=1

    2] Yes, alternate design methods are available, and they might be applied to fix the situation. However:
    a) nobody has the money to make a new system using the alternate design.
    b) nobody (except a _very_ few specialists) understand how badly the alternate design is needed.
    c) nobody (except an _even smaller_ number of specialists) understand how the alternate design is to be used, and so it would probably be used badly [3].

    3] The first railroad bridge to be made of steel beams was given to an experienced builder of wooden bridges. He made mistakes, and built a copy of a wooden bridge, only using steel I beams. The mistake I remember reading about was putting the I beams on their side so they "wouldn't tip over". First heavy load train over the bridge and the whole thing came down. That's what happens when you don't understand a design.

    I don’t know what PhD has to do with Big Ball of Mud, but Big Ball of Mud is just what you call other people’s code. Every contractor, plumber, electrician I know declares the prior guy’s work to be the bricks and mortar equivalent of a Big Ball of Mud. The cure is always the same. Tear it all down and start fresh and I will build you a Masterpiece of Architecture and not a Big Ball of Mud. Except that the next guy to come along will proclaim to be a big ball of mud and demand that you start fresh yet again.

    • Replies: @Counterinsurgency

    I don’t know what PhD has to do with Big Ball of Mud,
     
    That's more or less what management says, and it's kind of the point. Management has some surprises coming.

    It takes some background and insight to see what "Big Ball of Mud" means, it's not an all purpose denigration. Look at the Wikipedia link, or just search for "Big Ball of Mud", and you'll find a good definition, at least for computer work. Jaron Lanier, _You Are Not A Gadget_, referred to the same sort of thing as "design freeze", and said little about what happens after the freeze. Big Ball of Mud happens.

    Counterinsurgency
  59. Stanford University is a cult and Peter Thiel is a cult leader. The way cults work is the cult leaders are never wrong. The people in the cult are either very happy with it or they keep all second thoughts utterly censored.

    The other day Thiel was talking about the national loyalties of Google. Google is a multinational corporation and has by definition absolutely no loyalty to any nation whatsoever. I suspect Thiel has been getting some bad blood transfusions because I don’t believe they manufacture stupid pills with that level of action.

  60. Too many elites? Let the market decide. Are there too many elite actresses, athletes, CEOs, whatever? The market chooses.

    Overcrowded Labs? Fighting over bunsen burners? Let the market decide. Bunsen burners cost a couple of bucks.

    How about schools simply sell coaching+testing+certification services to any willing buyers, and schools aren’t in charge of selecting an “elite” and sorting people into social castes and peer groups.

  61. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    You really believe a McDonald’s employee is “living better than 99%+ of people in human history?” Have you ever worked at a McDonald’s? Or at any chain fast food restaurant? Or in a factory for that matter? It’s not whining to say that the people who work those jobs, not temporarily but for years, live miserable lives. Yes, they have a roof over their heads and they don’t go hungry. But they are in a permanent state of exhaustion. 99%+ of people in human history have NOT been in that state.

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    McDonald's employees in America have a high salary, by international standards. Maybe $2000 a month? $2,500?

    There's plenty people in a country like Russia, who work full time, and yet their salary is only $300 or $400 each month.

    If your salary is $2000 a month in Russia, this would be considered quite a nice salary for any area.

    People say "oh in Russia it is much cheaper". But I am in Russia right now today, and comparing in the food prices this morning in the supermarket, with what I pay in Western Europe - it's not all that much cheaper in some places Russia. For example, in British Aldi supermarket, prices are not really very much higher for many things, and some can be the same price. Similarly, in Walmart in America. Anyone talking about some kind of huge price difference, is exaggerating.

    And note Russia is a pretty developed country, to compare with. It's actually more or less a first world example. Try to compare salaries with China, let alone India.

    McDonald's salary in America, is simply a very high salary by international standards.

    , @adreadline
    Perhaps the issue is that yes, actually most people in human history have lived miserable lives in a quasi-permanent state of exhaustion, but we were supposed to have moved past that by now.

    Also, regarding getting a Ph.D. and such and y'all saying how this might or might not be worth it economically speaking... maybe someone's trying to get a Ph.D. not primarily for the money, but to really sink their teeth into the subject? To master it? Rather than to just become richer? Just a thought.
  62. @craig
    Thiel's mental picture of a "good" position may well be snooty, but his point holds. If 70% or more of the available slots are adjunct jobs with modest pay and no permanence, the expected value (in economic terms) of a Ph.D is not measured by the few tenure-track slots, any more than the expected value of a football scholarship is measured by the few who actually attain NFL salaries.

    Because the universities get paid up front, they don't want young people to know the expected value of a degree. Otherwise it would be obvious to all America that many degrees have a negative return on investment, and are nothing but consumption goods. Trump could get a lot of political traction (against the group that hates him more than any other) by demanding to know why taxes paid by farmers and plumbers and nurses and hairstylists ought to be subsidizing degrees that don't even repay the money spent on them. It's predatory lending, except that the "sales department" (academia) who talks you into buying the clunker operates under a different name than the finance department (government) who hounds you for the debt.

    Your point holds in general and for many programs but the Stanford economics PhD program is not a good poster boy because no one from that program ends up in a situation where the best they can do is an adjunct job. Anyone with that degree can get a real, high paying job of some sort if not a tenure track faculty appointment in all cases. If Thiel had used say English Literature as his example then he would have been closer to right. There are PhD fields where 90% of the graduates have no realistic hope of ever landing a tenure track job and where just about the only thing you can do with the degree is use it to produce even more PhDs, but economics is not one of them.

  63. @anonymous
    As other commentors have said, all but the very bottom at Stanford will get good jobs. The bottom will have to settle for inferior jobs as six-figure starting salaries at consulting firms, but most will turn out OK. See https://economics.stanford.edu/graduate/student-placement .

    The reason the faculty anoint a few students is that that's the best way for ANY of your students to have a chance at the top 5 economics departments in the world, where having a Stanford PhD isn't even table stakes.

    A lot of the overflow seems to end up at Cornerstone Research:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone_Research

    Cornerstone Research is a litigation consulting firm based in the United States and the United Kingdom. It provides economic and financial analysis and expert testimony to attorneys, corporations and government agencies involved in complex litigation and regulatory proceedings.

    In other words, rent-a-witnesses. Hey, it’s a living.

    • Replies: @Peter Johnson
    Expert witness work pays economists very high hourly rates. You can make a high annual income by doing this work part-time as a go-to expert witness, combined with an academic economist position. Not my cup of tea but I know colleagues who earn good incomes this way.
  64. @Sean
    As Piketty has it, historically the US lower 50% SES contained many first generation aspirational immigrants that had come from a poorer country and saw themselves on an upward trajectory so that kept American society stable despite great inequalities of labour income.

    He says immigration into Europe has been keeping European societies stable despite inequality rising rapidly, and so the US and Europe are becoming more alike. Immigration to the elites is like travel to the Romany: the cure for everything that ails them.

    I find it incredulous, that Piketty’s argument, that large immigration of poor people stabilizes a country is believed by so many people. In my opinion it destabilizes it, because of the following reasons:
    -As Jorge Borjas has shown, immigration distributes money away from labour to capital. In essence, it increases inequality in a society (which destabilizes it), because it decreases wages (especially low wages if you import low-wage earners) and increases rents/houses-prices. The people who benefit are those who employ the immigrants and already own houses/land.
    -If you import members of a different ethnic group/religion you get ethnic tensions, which destabilizes a country as well.
    -The US was more stable in the time between 1920 and 1965 (when there was a large decrease in immigration) than it is today.
    -Even if immigrats were grateful (Is Ilhan Omar grateful for living in the US?), their children demand at least the same standard of living than the middle class of the original inhabitants and take up crime, rioting etc. when their lack of skill/education is not enough for a middle class occupation. Who does the rioting in countries like Sweden or France? Children/Grandchildren of immigrants from third-world countries. Who does an outsized amount of crime committed in Europe? Children/Grandchildren of immigrants from thirld-world countries.
    – Even if immigrants were grateful (which they mostly are not), since their children are not grateful, you essentially have to import a lot of fresh immigrants each year to cancel the negative effects the children of immigrants have on the overall stability of the country
    -A lot of immigrants to Europe are Muslim and feel entitled to a better standard of living than the host population as part of their religion

    The reason the US was relatively stable, was that they had an ever expanding border until around 1900 (basically the Western part of the US had the same function countries like the US had for Europe). If you did not like all the new immigrants, you could just move west and become a farmer in a state like Oregon (and later like Montana). Additionally, having lots of cheap land was a great stabilizer for a society that was still largely agrarian. For me, it is no coincidence that the movement to restrict immigration gained steam in the late 19th century and early 20th century, because the US was running out of empty land people could settle.

    Because of the utter bullsh*t a lot of economist have said about immigration (about half of surveyed economist said, that the immigration of poor and uneducated people in a welfare-state is a net positive for the receiving state) I regard the whole academic subject as little better than astrology.

    • Replies: @Sean

    I find it incredulous
     
    No offence my multilingual friend, but I think you meant "I find it incredible", because the word incredulous is more usually used as in "he was incredulous" to describe the reaction of someone confronted with a truth that boggles their mind.

    As Jorge Borjas has shown, immigration distributes money away from labour to capital. In essence, it increases inequality in a society (which destabilizes it), because it decreases wages (especially low wages if you import low-wage earners) and increases rents/houses-prices. The people who benefit are those who employ the immigrants and already own houses/land.
    -If you import members of a different ethnic group/religion you get ethnic tensions, which destabilizes a country as well
    .
     
    Those are indeed the economic consequences, but working class political and labour organisation is required before it can have political consequences. The immigrants act as a wedge in the bottom 50% of society and prevent that sector from attaining political solidarity. Maybe that what was behind the sudden importation of a million immigrants to Germany. German business and the politicians who serve it realised that the poorer half of the German population (and there are a surprising number of poor ethnoGermans) was so ethnically homogenous it had the potential to organise against business. An alien wedge creating instability and fragmentation in the working class is an unalloyed boon to the elite.

    .
  65. @Simonini
    LOL. Completing an economics PhD is generally a pretty hellish existence. Professors expect you to be working 80 hours per week, it's highly stressful and brings out a lot of mental health issues, and you have barely any money. I had a high-pressure consulting job before starting and it was much more relaxed and pleasurable.

    My Ph.D is in chemistry, but the same idea.

    I worked impossible hours under very stressful conditions and was rather poor during that time. However, some of the work I did was quite enjoyable.

    I don’t miss some guys trying to mug me at 3:00 when I was walking back from the lab.

    I don’t miss the last week of making corrections putting in 20+ hours a day of work for a solid week.

    I don’t miss never having enough money nor enough time for anything fun.

    • Replies: @Doc Dynamo
    I think grad students should kill and eat their professors.
  66. Culling is a solution to over production …

  67. @Jack D
    I don't know what PhD has to do with Big Ball of Mud, but Big Ball of Mud is just what you call other people's code. Every contractor, plumber, electrician I know declares the prior guy's work to be the bricks and mortar equivalent of a Big Ball of Mud. The cure is always the same. Tear it all down and start fresh and I will build you a Masterpiece of Architecture and not a Big Ball of Mud. Except that the next guy to come along will proclaim to be a big ball of mud and demand that you start fresh yet again.

    I don’t know what PhD has to do with Big Ball of Mud,

    That’s more or less what management says, and it’s kind of the point. Management has some surprises coming.

    It takes some background and insight to see what “Big Ball of Mud” means, it’s not an all purpose denigration. Look at the Wikipedia link, or just search for “Big Ball of Mud”, and you’ll find a good definition, at least for computer work. Jaron Lanier, _You Are Not A Gadget_, referred to the same sort of thing as “design freeze”, and said little about what happens after the freeze. Big Ball of Mud happens.

    Counterinsurgency

  68. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Part of the reason – in my opinion – that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college ‘free’ for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).
     
    Perhaps I'm giving our adversaries too much credit, but a caste of eternally indebted, poorly paid and therefore arrested-in-adolescence hangers-on at the thousands of American Universities with pretenses to being intellectuals and with lots of free time on their hands does create a large and geographically dispersed activist class for the left. I'm not only writing about Antifa foot soldiers like Eric Clanton, but also (and probably primarily) volunteers, organizers and agitators in all manner of leftist organizations.

    I recall some general strike or protest in France for government benefits maybe twenty years ago in which the organizers and protestors were made up largely of "students" in their twenties and thirties and remarking to myself "well, I suppose we're better off than the French since we don't have an entire class of idle malcontents." I do not think this view holds any longer.

    Thomas Sowell wrote in interesting column about this phenomenon:
    Here is an excerpt:

    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.

    https://www.creators.com/read/thomas-sowell/01/12/an-ignored-disparity-part-ii

  69. @Simonini
    LOL. Completing an economics PhD is generally a pretty hellish existence. Professors expect you to be working 80 hours per week, it's highly stressful and brings out a lot of mental health issues, and you have barely any money. I had a high-pressure consulting job before starting and it was much more relaxed and pleasurable.

    I don’t know. For example, my brother has PhD (of Computer Science). He seemed to enjoy those years, and find it very easy, and just some kind of excuse not to have any real job.

    Actually I stayed with him for some time, when he was “studying” this PhD, and he was most of his “working hours” with the laptop, with multiple open browsers, sometimes playing computer games. And then sometimes going outside for some lazy talks or seminars, or to meet his friends for “work”.

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher than my salary (I am a peasant with no such higher qualification). And his job conditions are easier (less hours working each week).

    • Replies: @An
    Completely different phd experiences. Culture of most econ phd programs is awful. Top econ profs are driven and drive their students
    , @Massimo Heitor

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher...
     
    These types of anecdotes are not a good way to get an accurate overview... I imagine some programs are hard, some are easy, and some people have different motivations to portray them as hard or easy...

    As far as justifying a higher salary, I'm sure sometimes higher ed is genuinely useful and should translate into higher wages and other times it isn', and the current system isn't reasonable or efficient at distinguishing that. An old SSC post addresses this pretty well: https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/06/06/against-tulip-subsidies/
  70. @Jimi
    I meet lots of you people in their 20s and 30s with masters degrees that are angry their degrees haven't given them a six figure salary.

    There is an assumption that studying hard or putting in the years towards a degree should guarantee you a good paying job. Even if what you studied has no market value. If you don't get a good paying job then capitalism is "rigged."

    These young people were taught by teachers and counselors that education automatically gives you a middle class life. We need a bit of tiger-mom p[philosophy here. You are responsible for choosing an education that leaves you with marketable skills.

    “These young people were taught by teachers and counselors that education automatically gives you a middle class life. We need a bit of tiger-mom p[philosophy here. You are responsible for choosing an education that leaves you with marketable skills.”

    Quite true. When I was going to grade and high school in the ‘80s and ‘90s we were basically taught that a college degree was the ticket to Easy Street. There was a period of time in the ‘70s where my high school wouldn’t allow military recruiters on the premises, because “all our kids are college bound”.

    This is a high school in a small Midwestern farming town btw, not a prog suburb.

    I’m always torn on the student loan forgiveness debate that pops up sometimes. I don’t want some people’s debt to be assumed by society as a hole… but on the other hand… you have at least 3 or 4 generations of kids who were basically told their only choice was Harvard or hamburger flipping.

    • Agree: Redneck farmer
    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    I don’t want some people’s debt to be assumed by society as a hole
     
    Typo, or pun?
    , @Kronos
    Many Baby Boomers discharged all their student debt in Bankruptcy. Something modern youths can’t do regardless. With Uncle Sam owning 70% of student loans, he’s using that $80 billion annual revenue stream to fund Baby Boomer entitlements. Thus, one of the major reasons for crazy costs.
  71. @ricpic
    You really believe a McDonald's employee is "living better than 99%+ of people in human history?" Have you ever worked at a McDonald's? Or at any chain fast food restaurant? Or in a factory for that matter? It's not whining to say that the people who work those jobs, not temporarily but for years, live miserable lives. Yes, they have a roof over their heads and they don't go hungry. But they are in a permanent state of exhaustion. 99%+ of people in human history have NOT been in that state.

    McDonald’s employees in America have a high salary, by international standards. Maybe $2000 a month? $2,500?

    There’s plenty people in a country like Russia, who work full time, and yet their salary is only $300 or $400 each month.

    If your salary is $2000 a month in Russia, this would be considered quite a nice salary for any area.

    People say “oh in Russia it is much cheaper”. But I am in Russia right now today, and comparing in the food prices this morning in the supermarket, with what I pay in Western Europe – it’s not all that much cheaper in some places Russia. For example, in British Aldi supermarket, prices are not really very much higher for many things, and some can be the same price. Similarly, in Walmart in America. Anyone talking about some kind of huge price difference, is exaggerating.

    And note Russia is a pretty developed country, to compare with. It’s actually more or less a first world example. Try to compare salaries with China, let alone India.

    McDonald’s salary in America, is simply a very high salary by international standards.

    • Replies: @newrouter
    How much does McDonald's pay in Russia? What is the price of a Big Mac in Russia?
  72. @Dmitry
    I don't know. For example, my brother has PhD (of Computer Science). He seemed to enjoy those years, and find it very easy, and just some kind of excuse not to have any real job.

    Actually I stayed with him for some time, when he was "studying" this PhD, and he was most of his "working hours" with the laptop, with multiple open browsers, sometimes playing computer games. And then sometimes going outside for some lazy talks or seminars, or to meet his friends for "work".

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher than my salary (I am a peasant with no such higher qualification). And his job conditions are easier (less hours working each week).

    Completely different phd experiences. Culture of most econ phd programs is awful. Top econ profs are driven and drive their students

  73. @Beckow

    "Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory)."
     
    When a society reaches the elite over-production phase, absolutely the best thing to do is to open up the borders to ambitious migrants, so they can really f...ck it up. The graduate programs like Stanford are heavily stocked with aspiring migrants and their offspring so the competition can be more Malthusian.

    One wonders if this was done be design, there are temporary benefits in over-producing elites who are then at each other throats. Or possibly, it just happened, an inevitable consequence of normal societal dynamics. As Peter Turchin correctly predicts, we are heading into choppy waters. So it is so much better that we have a few billion angry, ambitious, tribal people from the Third World to join us in that melee.

    wonders if this was done be design

    PhD is partly a luxury consumption product, which people can do for pleasure – particularly people who pay for their own tuition fees.

    Of course, it is by design, that you would open such a product to sell it to status-anxious foreign people, where you start to get real money from them.

    This is especially if you look at the EU university system, where non-EU (i.e. Russian. America, Brazilian and Chinese) students have to pay multiple times higher than EU students, and there is no limit on tuition fees they can be asked to pay.

    Therefore, for universities in countries like UK, it’s far more profitable for them to accept Chinese, Russian, Brazilian, or American students, than to accept EU students, who pay multiple times less.

    Look at how much a Russian student has pay for PhD in a university like Cambridge, compared to a British student. The price difference is quite scary (and you’ll see the “prestigious university” is more like those scamming Italian restaurants which have a special menu for Japanese tourists, with all prices increased by 4 times).

    • Replies: @Beckow

    “prestigious university” is more like those scamming Italian restaurants which have a special menu for Japanese tourists, with all prices increased by 4 times
     
    That is partially true, it is the old scam of 'value based pricing' - charge each customer based on how much 'value' they put on the product.

    Third Worldization of the elites and the elite oversupply are primarily about something else: it is about the unstoppable desire of Third World elites and their relatives to escape the shit.holes they have created and got rich on, and move to the West while remaining an elite. The hysterical behaviour of the Third World migrating class to US-EU in the last few years is a sign that they are actually deadly afraid that the system could be curtailed. They simply don't want to stay back home, and if anyone makes an argument that 'borders exist for a reason' it drives them crazy.

    Their liberal assistants are mostly misguided fools. But many are also in the business of living of this migration - academia is the main entry point. It combines liberal idiocy, fake meritocracy, access to elite status, undeserved incomes, and a bizarre global social milieu.

  74. @Dmitry
    I don't know. For example, my brother has PhD (of Computer Science). He seemed to enjoy those years, and find it very easy, and just some kind of excuse not to have any real job.

    Actually I stayed with him for some time, when he was "studying" this PhD, and he was most of his "working hours" with the laptop, with multiple open browsers, sometimes playing computer games. And then sometimes going outside for some lazy talks or seminars, or to meet his friends for "work".

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher than my salary (I am a peasant with no such higher qualification). And his job conditions are easier (less hours working each week).

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher…

    These types of anecdotes are not a good way to get an accurate overview… I imagine some programs are hard, some are easy, and some people have different motivations to portray them as hard or easy…

    As far as justifying a higher salary, I’m sure sometimes higher ed is genuinely useful and should translate into higher wages and other times it isn’, and the current system isn’t reasonable or efficient at distinguishing that. An old SSC post addresses this pretty well: https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/06/06/against-tulip-subsidies/

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    As far as justifying a higher salary, I’m sure sometimes higher ed is genuinely useful and should translate into higher wages and other times it isn’, and the current system isn’t reasonable or efficient at distinguishing that. An old SSC post addresses this pretty well:
     
    IIRC, the oft-cited statistic about lifetime earnings of college educated vs. non-college educated (aside from exhibiting general selection bias) encompasses data beginning in the 1960s when colleges were much more selective on the whole (mostly white men admitted).

    It would be much more useful to run the numbers in groups of five years (say, 2000-2005; 2005-2010), by major, etc., and to discount for student loan debt.
    , @Jack D
    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don't. But most people don't seem to care - maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.

    As for the SSC post, I'd rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school. Is undergrad ed in America a waste of time? Depends what you mean by waste.
    , @Dmitry
    Sure, it must vary from subject to subject, and from university to university. However, article above is talking about Economics PhD, in which the student will only need to write a paper or a few papers (it cannot be very difficult).

    My anecdote is about my brother, who has PhD Computer Science (I do not have any such qualification). My impression of my brother's case, was that the work was quite difficult, and requires more time as preparation as well, than simply the project itself.

    However, relative to the quantity of time the student has, then it seemed like little work.

    In normal working life, we can do a lot of work every week. Whereas PhD students can seem to have three years just to complete three projects.

    -

    If a student is also working in a normal, unrelated job at the same time as they are studying for their PhD, maybe you can say they are working hard. But the student who is the full-time student, can seem to have a lot of extra time relative to their tasks.
  75. @dearieme
    it’s not a monastic vow of poverty that you’re taking to be an academic

    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It's the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

    it’s not a monastic vow of poverty that you’re taking to be an academic

    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It’s the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

    No… Normal people want money and middle class lifestyles. Scientists and teachers should operate on a job market with salary determined by supply and demand forces like everyone else.

  76. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it’s chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    No… I know many adults who weigh the choice between full time PhD work versus full time job. Doing PhD work would mean stepping down to ~$30k/year. Many adults have reasonably easy jobs making much more money. The upside is PhDs are very high status and open more long term career prospects.

    • Replies: @nebulafox
    Meh, I don't know. Having 5 years to do nothing but learn cool math and physics and get to do research full-time (when I think of the amount of crap I could learn if I didn't have to bother with earning a salary for a few years!) sounds worth the opportunity cost for me. And if you define a "positive" outcome from the doctorate as getting to do something cool with math and computers afterwards-aka, you aren't hung up on becoming an academic, which is an incredibly stupid idea considering the job prospects there-it's not like you won't be making pretty good money afterwards anyway. You've just got to learn how to market yourself in the private sector, which is something that they won't teach you directly.

    If you want to optimize your earnings at all cost, then yes, it is a pretty nonsensical move, especially if you are going back for it later in life. But when you consider the kind of money you are making in tech in the US anyway, it all looks kind of silly in the bigger picture. So you end up making hundreds of thousands of dollars at 28 rather than 25. Big deal.

  77. @dearieme
    it’s not a monastic vow of poverty that you’re taking to be an academic

    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It's the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

    It used to be that entering academia was indeed a path of toiling in relative obscurity with little recognition or remuneration. Just as Martin Luther (an academic, too, by the way!) certainly never dreamt of the life of charlatan Joel Olsteen, so too, academics well into the twentieth century were dedicated to their fields despite the pay and fame – not because of them. Hell, many of the best scholars and scientists were amateurs with no affiliation to any university, either working on a shoestring budget or as wealthy heirs wanting be productive rather than idle or hedonistic. One’s discoveries made the rounds in journals and conferences (and the conferences were not in Honolulu and Paris, as often as, say Scranton or Reading, with no elaborate receptions sponsored by Reed Elsevier or speeches by minor celebrities!). One was lucky to get a breakthrough published in the Journal of Very Obscure Things and he neither sought nor would have achieved recognition in national newspapers or broadcast media (when those came along).

    Thiel is spot on: we need to make college – especially graduate schools – a place for extraordinarily intelligent people again, but you are right, too: we do also need to make careers in academia not half so full of cash and prizes as they are.

  78. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @dearieme
    it’s not a monastic vow of poverty that you’re taking to be an academic

    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It's the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

    Right, traditionally universities were affiliated with the Church and trained clergymen. It was explicitly and implicitly assumed that they were places for those devoted to a monastic or semi-monastic lifestyle. They weren’t supposed to provide cushy, comfortable “careers” for “professionals”.

    • Replies: @Alec Leamas (hard at work)


    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It’s the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

     

    Right, traditionally universities were affiliated with the Church and trained clergymen. It was explicitly and implicitly assumed that they were places for those devoted to a monastic or semi-monastic lifestyle. They weren’t supposed to provide cushy, comfortable “careers” for “professionals”.
     
    I think in the recent past a poorly-paid career in the academy was the near exclusive province of bookish children of wealthy (mostly WASP) families. A pittance for a salary isn't a deprivation if your lifestyle is supplemented by family money in one way or another.

    This was the case one way or the other with my undergraduate Classics Professors - i.e., one woman was a New England WASP married to a White Shoe BigLaw Partner, another a confirmed bachelor living well from a trust, etc.

    In any event, the academy is now full of adjuncts who work a lifetime for poverty wages without benefits so I don't think the characterization of a cozy, well-paid sinecure is accurate for the most part.
  79. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    I second Simonini.

    You pretty obviously have no experience of actual grout work, and a lot of hilarious impressions gleaned from satire thereof. Possibly you went to a graduate program that had no business existing, because (and therefore?) it was indeed as slack as you describe.

    For many of us in the real world, graduate school was far, far more grueling than our subsequent or previous gigs throwing rocks into the ocean from cubicles for people a lot less intelligent than us: reading hundreds of pages of esoteric material every day (with the expectation it be understood and retained); working thirty hours a week to help pay the bills, editing journals, writing and revising papers, managing not-for-profit endeavors, struggling to get papers published, fighting for grants, repeating an experiment that takes three months of coming to the lab at six-hour intervals every day because someone used the wrong pipette Tuesday…

    Indeed, one of the other points about Thiel’s observations is that it leads to a perverse system whereby brilliant people who do pass the trial by fire then must reconcile themselves to putting pegs in holes like a monkey for the next fifty years under the “leadership” – ha! – of morons whose sole qualification is “Beneficiary of Cronyism” once one realizes it is all a rigged game.

    • Replies: @dr kill
    I agree completely with your diagnosis. One of my colleagues enjoyed telling clients that - The Symptomology is Ubiquitous. But you didn't follow through with the cure. Self-employment.
    , @Polymath
    Graduate students can be abused. But I wrote a moderately long paper that was accepted by the editors and referees of a major journal, submitted it verbatim as my thesis, and neither my school nor almost any other graduate school would have contemplated declaring such an endorsement to be insufficient.

    That was in mathematics. I have no idea which other departments behave similarly, but I suspect the same is true in a few other “hard” fields.
  80. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much. We’re pretending to be kind to people when we’re actually being cruel.

    Sure, but I imagine some of those not among the top 3-4 don’t mind not being bigshots at Harvard or wherever and prefer teaching in obscurity at a small college somewhere rather than having a normal job. For example, Bryan Caplan and Robin Hanson aren’t the types to be bigshot Harvard professors or policy advisors to presidents. but they seem to genuinely enjoy being econ professors.

  81. @Jimi
    I meet lots of you people in their 20s and 30s with masters degrees that are angry their degrees haven't given them a six figure salary.

    There is an assumption that studying hard or putting in the years towards a degree should guarantee you a good paying job. Even if what you studied has no market value. If you don't get a good paying job then capitalism is "rigged."

    These young people were taught by teachers and counselors that education automatically gives you a middle class life. We need a bit of tiger-mom p[philosophy here. You are responsible for choosing an education that leaves you with marketable skills.

    Calm down, Baby Boomer Jimi; we will get you another phone with big buttons and a faster Rascal.

    • LOL: L Woods
    • Replies: @Kronos
    How about a JitterBug?

    https://youtu.be/Kmp5dgzeZuk
    , @L Woods
    Yes, watching the boomers rush to defend fair crony capitalism's honor is always amusing.
  82. @Massimo Heitor

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher...
     
    These types of anecdotes are not a good way to get an accurate overview... I imagine some programs are hard, some are easy, and some people have different motivations to portray them as hard or easy...

    As far as justifying a higher salary, I'm sure sometimes higher ed is genuinely useful and should translate into higher wages and other times it isn', and the current system isn't reasonable or efficient at distinguishing that. An old SSC post addresses this pretty well: https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/06/06/against-tulip-subsidies/

    As far as justifying a higher salary, I’m sure sometimes higher ed is genuinely useful and should translate into higher wages and other times it isn’, and the current system isn’t reasonable or efficient at distinguishing that. An old SSC post addresses this pretty well:

    IIRC, the oft-cited statistic about lifetime earnings of college educated vs. non-college educated (aside from exhibiting general selection bias) encompasses data beginning in the 1960s when colleges were much more selective on the whole (mostly white men admitted).

    It would be much more useful to run the numbers in groups of five years (say, 2000-2005; 2005-2010), by major, etc., and to discount for student loan debt.

  83. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sean
    As Piketty has it, historically the US lower 50% SES contained many first generation aspirational immigrants that had come from a poorer country and saw themselves on an upward trajectory so that kept American society stable despite great inequalities of labour income.

    He says immigration into Europe has been keeping European societies stable despite inequality rising rapidly, and so the US and Europe are becoming more alike. Immigration to the elites is like travel to the Romany: the cure for everything that ails them.

    Cardinal Richelieu, often regarded as the founder of the modern nation-state, explained it better: When the common people, or “mules”, are too well off and comfortable, they start causing problems and become harder to control:

    All students of politics agree that when the common people are too well off it is impossible to keep them peaceable. The explanation for this is that they are less well informed than the members of the other orders in the state, who are much more cultivated and enlightened, and so if not preoccupied with the search for the necessities of existence, find it difficult to remain within the limits imposed by both common sense and the law. It would not be sound to relieve them of all taxation and similar charges, since in such a case they would lose the mark of their subjection and consequently the awareness of their station. Thus being free from paying tribute, they would consider themselves exempted from obedience. One should compare them with mules, which being accustomed to work, suffer more when long idle than when kept busy. But just as this work should be reasonable, with the burdens placed upon these animals proportionate to their strength, so it is likewise with the burdens placed upon the people.

  84. @Anonymous
    Right, traditionally universities were affiliated with the Church and trained clergymen. It was explicitly and implicitly assumed that they were places for those devoted to a monastic or semi-monastic lifestyle. They weren't supposed to provide cushy, comfortable "careers" for "professionals".

    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It’s the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

    Right, traditionally universities were affiliated with the Church and trained clergymen. It was explicitly and implicitly assumed that they were places for those devoted to a monastic or semi-monastic lifestyle. They weren’t supposed to provide cushy, comfortable “careers” for “professionals”.

    I think in the recent past a poorly-paid career in the academy was the near exclusive province of bookish children of wealthy (mostly WASP) families. A pittance for a salary isn’t a deprivation if your lifestyle is supplemented by family money in one way or another.

    This was the case one way or the other with my undergraduate Classics Professors – i.e., one woman was a New England WASP married to a White Shoe BigLaw Partner, another a confirmed bachelor living well from a trust, etc.

    In any event, the academy is now full of adjuncts who work a lifetime for poverty wages without benefits so I don’t think the characterization of a cozy, well-paid sinecure is accurate for the most part.

  85. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:

    Something a wealthy capitalist like Thiel also has to consider is that without an overproduction of elites, many of those ambitious would-be elites are going to be involved in more radical politics, organizing unions and special interest groups that threaten Thiel’s wealth and status.

  86. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Thiel is being very snooty. A “good position” in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit “good position” to that then his statement is true, but that’s much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.
     
    This may be true as far as Stanford goes, but as you write there are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the U.S., many of which have graduate programs in this or that and as a consequence there is a surfeit of academic clockwatchers with enormous non-dischargeable debt and no real career prospects in a field which would enable them to service their debts.

    Many are probably smarter than the average bear, but not smart or talented enough (or politically savvy enough) to achieve success by attaining a stable position in the academy in their fields of study.

    Paradoxically, it's probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions' cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.

    Paradoxically, it’s probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions’ cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.

    Can confirm.

    Teaching graduate courses in law at ABA-accredited schools attached to Research One universities does not qualify one to teach social studies / civics / government / political science to twelve-year-olds.

    Any harping about shortages of teachers is as phony as the harping about shortages of programmers and just as driven by nefarious efforts at exploiting everyone involved.

    Becoming a licensed veterinary technician requires at least two years’ school, followed by a supervised period of apprenticeship one must also pay for. Upon completion, salaries start at $8.00 hourly. Shockingly, turnover is astronomical.

    There is a wide swath of jobs requiring laughably arcane qualifications and paying less than a Guatelombian can earn digging ditches if one of the more generous scofflaws picks him up from the Home Depot’s parking lot that day.

    Many problems today are variations of Doug Stanhope’s seminal lament: “You need a license to cut hair in this country.”

    • Replies: @Abolish_public_education

    shortages of teachers
     
    Demand juiced by 10+ yrs, @ 180d @
    6+ h worth of compulsory attendance, plus “free” tuition.

    Supply restricted by credentialing.

    The average, public school teacher is at least 3X overpaid.
    , @Desiderius
    The teachers in my family advised me to take the time off to get the Ed Cert that the good (?) schools require. Didn’t help. Grown men need not apply. Particularly non-diverse ones.*

    Maybe the tighter labor market has changed things, but I doubt it. I was told there were over one thousand applicants for one of the (high school math) teaching jobs for which I applied (circa 2012ish).

    * - for the longest time I thought claims like this were just sour grapes, then I saw it first hand. Not just my case either, but across the board. Biggest beneficiaries = legions of Beckys.
    , @Art Deco
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has it that the wage scale for LVTs is such that someone earning $11.30 an hour is at the 10th percentile. That's not including benefits.
  87. @Jake
    "One of my friends is a professor in the Stanford Economics department. The way he describes it to me is that they have about 30 graduate students starting PhDs in economics at Stanford every year. It’s 6-8 years to get a PhD. At the end of the first year, the faculty has an implicit ranking of the students, where they sort of agree who the top 3-4 are. The ranking never changes. The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much. We’re pretending to be kind to people when we’re actually being cruel."

    I think that is the way academia operates - and always has. The differences among now and the years 2000, 1985, 1965, 1950, 1925, and 1900 are the slightly different biases of the Elites that determine the biases of academia. 'The chosen few" grad students in a PhD program always have been chosen largely because of who and what they are vis a vis the operating biases of America's Elites. Yes, they are smart enough to do the work, but so are many who enter a PhD program, many of whom finish the degree, but are not 'chosen' and are not part of some group that the Elite favor.

    2 things messed up that closed system. First, 'ethnic' Catholics then had not assimilated to WASP culture and so sacrificed and founded their own colleges and educated their own people to be professors. Second, the growing Liberalism of what we would label Mainline Protestantism meant that conservative white Protestants began following the Catholic example and founding their own colleges and training their own people to teach at them.

    Those professors, of course, all could have had IQs of at least 120 and been extremely good as classroom teachers and small group mentors, but they were not ever going to be the type to be socially acceptable among the faculty and administrations of Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the colleges that bowed to their standards. And they always were going to find that whatever they wrote would not be readily accepted as having merit by the academic elites.

    The GI Bill meant that those peoples and their colleges could have continued their growth without so much as bothering to give a second thought to the academic Elites, whose were antagonistic to them religiously, culturally, morally, and socially. But the desire to be accepted as having 'made it in America' meant that they always were easily tempted to sell out parts of what had made them. And when the 1960s saw the Elites demand that all white trash (non Elite white Gentiles) begin worshiping the Numinous Negro, the jig was up.

    In my father’s day, you had to have a law degree to qualify as an insurance adjustor.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Can you cite anything supporting this claim? I ask because I reckon either your old man was taking the piss, or you are now.

    Only some thirty-five percent of adjustors even have undergraduate degrees; I can attest, from personal experience, many are lucky to be able to tie their own shoes.
  88. @dearieme
    it’s not a monastic vow of poverty that you’re taking to be an academic

    It ought to be: you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth. It's the careerism that has led to so much fake science dominating the headlines.

    you should have a monkish desire to commune with Truth.

    Please. Don’t tempt the guy.

    • LOL: L Woods
  89. If there is an élite in this country, I’m having trouble detecting it.

    • Agree: Ibound1
  90. @Anon
    Do you read inside Higher Ed and Chronicles of Higher Ed? White men cannot get tenure track jobs these days. They may have a chance if they are in STEM econ (econometrics or quantitative economics) because only white and Asian men can do those fields. This part of economics is a separate department at some universities because DHS lets STEM grads on visas stay longer in the US for work experience than non STEM grads, so STEM econ departments are in big demand among full freight tuition paying foreign students.

    This is only a temporary situation – won’t last for more than another 10 or 20 years until the last baby boomer white male retires. Sure, until then depts. are only going to hire females, minorities, transgender, etc. until equity is achieved but after than white cisgender males should be able to snag up to 20 or 25% of academic jobs, no problem. I don’t know what you are complaining about. White men have held all the academic jobs in America for the last 300 years so it’s only fair that they step aside for the next 300.

  91. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald’s in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    On one metric. What about all the others?

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    Working in McDonald’s in America:

    General positives:

    + Even the lowest job in an American McDonald's, has a very high salary by international standards.

    + Working conditions will be very safe and healthy as well, by any international standards.

    Possible negatives:

    - Possibly it could be more psychologically unpleasant for some people, than jobs like being a coal miner, or working in a Chinese factory, or cleaning toilets in a factory in China. But we can't make any general statements here, as it will be subjective and vary by particular circumstances.

  92. @Massimo Heitor

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher...
     
    These types of anecdotes are not a good way to get an accurate overview... I imagine some programs are hard, some are easy, and some people have different motivations to portray them as hard or easy...

    As far as justifying a higher salary, I'm sure sometimes higher ed is genuinely useful and should translate into higher wages and other times it isn', and the current system isn't reasonable or efficient at distinguishing that. An old SSC post addresses this pretty well: https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/06/06/against-tulip-subsidies/

    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don’t. But most people don’t seem to care – maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.

    As for the SSC post, I’d rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school. Is undergrad ed in America a waste of time? Depends what you mean by waste.

    • Replies: @Massimo Heitor

    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don’t. But most people don’t seem to care – maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.
     
    The job market changes.

    I remember the tech market crash in ~2002. Programmers were out of work, salaries plunged. Economists said all programmer jobs would get outsourced and wages would continue to plunge and stay low, and no companies would hire tech workers in US or Europe when they could hire much cheaper workers in cheaper countries. Tech was considered a bad career direction. The opposite happened.

    Another strategy is study what you like that should plausibly have a future. Because five years later, who knows how the market will change.


    I’d rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school.
     
    It really depends on the treatment. I personally did a very demanding pre-med program, I worked very hard at it. I remember studying like mad on organic chemistry and biochemistry. But that stuff is of low importance to me as a customer when I want a medical treatment.
    , @Art Deco
    As we speak, there are about 68,000 post-secondary English teachers. If they're working 70% time on average, that's 45,000 ft positions, which could be staffed with 2,000 degree awards each year.
    , @Oddsbodkins
    I'd rather be treated by the guy with 4 years of med school and 5 years of practice than by the guy with 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school, and 1 year of practice.
    , @Anonymous
    Pre-med is a scam.

    Making med school a straight six year program but requiring applicants to have one or two years work experience in some allied health job or more in a non-health career requiring real thinking would be best.

    In his book
    https://www.amazon.com/Herman-German-Just-Lucky-Guess/dp/141847925X

    Gerhard "Herman the German" Neumann tells that the German engineering schools would admit foreign tudents, but they had a secret way of keeping the German engineers on top. Foreign students did not have the requirement that German applicants did: they had to be journeymen mechanics first before admission. I can tell you from experience that the best EEs are invariably guys that were navy ETs or hardcore, build it yourself ham radio hobbyists before going to school.
  93. @joeyjoejoe
    "You have 10 graduate students in a chemistry lab, where you have to have a fist fight for a Bunsen burner or a beaker, and if somebody says one politically incorrect thing, you can happily throw them off of the overcrowded bus. The bus is still overcrowded with 9 people on it. That’s what’s unhealthy.”

    This is VERY similar to promotion within the military. There are alot more colonels who would like to be generals than there are general positions in the military*. Virtually all colonels are very, very good. Thus, any small slipup (whether due to the candidate or due to other circumstances) results in removal from consideration-its no loss to the military (as Thiel said: there are 9 others still waiting in line...).

    This is the cause of the cautious officer, or politically correct officer, or make-no-waves officer.

    joeyjoejoe

    *note: colonel-general is just an example. This environment exists for promotion from major-lieutenant colonel, and all ranks above.

    In the 80s in the military, officers ranks got cleaned out at the O3 level because, with the exception of academy grads and ROTC honor grads, they competed at about that stage in their career for augmentation from a reserve commission to a regular one.

    In the 90s the Marine Corps started combining that step with the normal promotion selection process. As of the mid 00s the army also started doing that, at the O4 level.

    That means the up or out worries last a lot longer. Under the old system a guy with 4ish years in knew if he had a pretty good change of making his 20 and O4. He could screw up badly and lose his chance, but otherwise things could be okay without worrying all the time and scrambling for every advantage.

    That is gone now.

  94. @Intelligent Dasein
    As I have written about before (many times and from many angles), it isn't just elites that we've overproduced---we've overproduced everybody. We've also overproduced the number of coolies, scabs, and welfare sponges; we've overproduced the number of retirees, pensioners, and state beneficiaries; and, what's more---and this is the part nobody wants to admit---we've massively overproduced the middle class.

    Most of the middle class prosperity in this country is fake. There are millions drawing a salary directly from government or from government contracting; there are windfall wages in FIRE and banking due to monetary policy, and additional bubble conditions in healthcare and education. And all of this middle class liquidity has bloated the demand for so-called services---everything from soccer coaches to restaurants to guys in moving trucks, a whole asteroid belt of giggers living on the fringes of productive society---that should not exist.

    All of these overproduced classes have one thing in common: they are all the result of loose monetary policy and easy credit expansion. They are the living avatars of the "misallocated capital" that occurs in the absence of market discipline. And this is why Great Depressions result in things like a third of the country being out of work, because the phony demand for all these phony jobs evaporates.

    And while nobody can time the market with perfect certainty, it should be clear that the current bullshit cannot last much longer. The retirement of the Boomers is going to tax our already gamed-to-death system to the breaking point. And it does no good in this regard to bring up the case of Japan, and how it has managed to trundle along for decades in Keynesian coma, as a counterexample. Japan is not the guarantor of the world's reserve currency; t does not have nearly as far to fall.

    The ggod news is that the next liquidation will take all of SWism with it. The ad news is that it will also reduce the civilized world to a post-Napoleonic state of exhaustion.

    “a post-Napoleonic state of exhaustion”.

    If it brings in its wake another 1815-1848, that splendid period of political reaction, religious rebirth, and blossoming creativity in the arts and sciences, then I would welcome it with open arms.

    But something tells me it won’t.

  95. @The Alarmist
    The problem is these candidates, all bumbling along on student loans and grants, have no real perception of skin in the game: Send the 10 fighting over the bunsen burner into a Hunger Games arena in combat to the death, and you might get better results.

    Do PhD students actually pay tuition? My understanding is a lot of them get grants that cover the cost of their schooling and then some. They do have to teach and assist the professorial staff.

  96. @Dmitry

    wonders if this was done be design
     
    PhD is partly a luxury consumption product, which people can do for pleasure - particularly people who pay for their own tuition fees.

    Of course, it is by design, that you would open such a product to sell it to status-anxious foreign people, where you start to get real money from them.

    This is especially if you look at the EU university system, where non-EU (i.e. Russian. America, Brazilian and Chinese) students have to pay multiple times higher than EU students, and there is no limit on tuition fees they can be asked to pay.

    Therefore, for universities in countries like UK, it's far more profitable for them to accept Chinese, Russian, Brazilian, or American students, than to accept EU students, who pay multiple times less.

    Look at how much a Russian student has pay for PhD in a university like Cambridge, compared to a British student. The price difference is quite scary (and you'll see the "prestigious university" is more like those scamming Italian restaurants which have a special menu for Japanese tourists, with all prices increased by 4 times).

    “prestigious university” is more like those scamming Italian restaurants which have a special menu for Japanese tourists, with all prices increased by 4 times

    That is partially true, it is the old scam of ‘value based pricing‘ – charge each customer based on how much ‘value’ they put on the product.

    Third Worldization of the elites and the elite oversupply are primarily about something else: it is about the unstoppable desire of Third World elites and their relatives to escape the shit.holes they have created and got rich on, and move to the West while remaining an elite. The hysterical behaviour of the Third World migrating class to US-EU in the last few years is a sign that they are actually deadly afraid that the system could be curtailed. They simply don’t want to stay back home, and if anyone makes an argument that ‘borders exist for a reason’ it drives them crazy.

    Their liberal assistants are mostly misguided fools. But many are also in the business of living of this migration – academia is the main entry point. It combines liberal idiocy, fake meritocracy, access to elite status, undeserved incomes, and a bizarre global social milieu.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Migration of elites is not the main problem. No one in London is getting mugged by Russian oligarchs or Chinese grad students and by definition there are a limited # of elites. The real danger to the West are the numberless hordes of barbarians who would like to cross the frontier and live in civilization but in the end are going to do the opposite and drag the West into barbarity.

    The Romans used to bring the sons of barbarian kings in subject kingdoms to Rome, partly as hostages and partly to try to turn them into Romans. This is not what caused the downfall of the Empire. Once the empire fell, these semi-Romanized princes tried to at least preserve a semblance of Roman civilization as best they could given their barbarian subjects, which was better than nothing.

    We've seen this movie before and it's going to turn out the same way. The real problem is not the barbarians themselves, who only want to better their lot, but corrupt and decadent elites who have lost civilizational confidence. With civilizational confidence you can do anything - conquer the world, go to the moon. But without it, game over.
  97. @ricpic
    You really believe a McDonald's employee is "living better than 99%+ of people in human history?" Have you ever worked at a McDonald's? Or at any chain fast food restaurant? Or in a factory for that matter? It's not whining to say that the people who work those jobs, not temporarily but for years, live miserable lives. Yes, they have a roof over their heads and they don't go hungry. But they are in a permanent state of exhaustion. 99%+ of people in human history have NOT been in that state.

    Perhaps the issue is that yes, actually most people in human history have lived miserable lives in a quasi-permanent state of exhaustion, but we were supposed to have moved past that by now.

    Also, regarding getting a Ph.D. and such and y’all saying how this might or might not be worth it economically speaking… maybe someone’s trying to get a Ph.D. not primarily for the money, but to really sink their teeth into the subject? To master it? Rather than to just become richer? Just a thought.

  98. @Arclight
    Part of the reason - in my opinion - that we have the current student loan racket and why the left would rather just make college 'free' for whoever wants it rather than apply some market discipline is that a lot of the garbage universities and colleges are stocked with the also-rans described by Thiel (along with students who are not really college material).

    Reform of how we finance tuition and limiting who gets it to students with fairly strong credentials would mean shuttering the doors of scores of high ed institutions and the loss of tens of thousands of administrative and academic jobs for people that are by and large devoted leftists.

    If suddenly schools had to c0-sign the loans of whomever they admitted and were on the hook for repayment of 25% of the loan balance in the event of default, we'd see basically any department with the word "studies" in it eliminated.

    Do you also think the seller of a house should have to pay off the new loan should the buyer default? Maybe the person entity creating the loan should bear some responsibility instead?

  99. @Dmitry
    These sound like typical problems of e.g. 19th century German states.

    This oversupply of students, frustrated by lack of upward mobility, contributed to 1848 revolutions in cities like Vienna.

    But, on the positive side, this dynamic also contributed a lot to cultural flowering of 19th century, and character of romantic movements.

    My go-to comparison is late Qing China, which had a *massive* issue with elite overproduction. Unlike Germany, there was little to no positive impact from this, with perhaps the most egregious example being the Taiping Rebellion-led, of course, by a failed imperial examination candidate who had a mental breakdown. That war would end up costing more aggregate lives than any other conflict until WWII came along. One could say that China didn’t really end recovering from the 1800s until the last few decades.

    Maybe the difference is that Germany actively launched into a period of economic and cultural dynamism in the 1800s that would eventually lead them becoming something akin to the “China” of the late bourgeois age, whereas 1800s China was… well…

    • Replies: @L Woods
    So this sort of begs the question: what’s the upside to high elite production? Cui bono? The universities themselves I guess, but are they a sufficiently powerful constituency to promote this by themselves?
  100. @nebulafox
    My go-to comparison is late Qing China, which had a *massive* issue with elite overproduction. Unlike Germany, there was little to no positive impact from this, with perhaps the most egregious example being the Taiping Rebellion-led, of course, by a failed imperial examination candidate who had a mental breakdown. That war would end up costing more aggregate lives than any other conflict until WWII came along. One could say that China didn't really end recovering from the 1800s until the last few decades.

    Maybe the difference is that Germany actively launched into a period of economic and cultural dynamism in the 1800s that would eventually lead them becoming something akin to the "China" of the late bourgeois age, whereas 1800s China was... well...

    So this sort of begs the question: what’s the upside to high elite production? Cui bono? The universities themselves I guess, but are they a sufficiently powerful constituency to promote this by themselves?

  101. @Massimo Heitor

    His PhD was simply an easy and relaxing time, and yet today, his salary is more than 3 times higher...
     
    These types of anecdotes are not a good way to get an accurate overview... I imagine some programs are hard, some are easy, and some people have different motivations to portray them as hard or easy...

    As far as justifying a higher salary, I'm sure sometimes higher ed is genuinely useful and should translate into higher wages and other times it isn', and the current system isn't reasonable or efficient at distinguishing that. An old SSC post addresses this pretty well: https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/06/06/against-tulip-subsidies/

    Sure, it must vary from subject to subject, and from university to university. However, article above is talking about Economics PhD, in which the student will only need to write a paper or a few papers (it cannot be very difficult).

    My anecdote is about my brother, who has PhD Computer Science (I do not have any such qualification). My impression of my brother’s case, was that the work was quite difficult, and requires more time as preparation as well, than simply the project itself.

    However, relative to the quantity of time the student has, then it seemed like little work.

    In normal working life, we can do a lot of work every week. Whereas PhD students can seem to have three years just to complete three projects.

    If a student is also working in a normal, unrelated job at the same time as they are studying for their PhD, maybe you can say they are working hard. But the student who is the full-time student, can seem to have a lot of extra time relative to their tasks.

  102. @Autochthon
    I second Simonini.

    You pretty obviously have no experience of actual grout work, and a lot of hilarious impressions gleaned from satire thereof. Possibly you went to a graduate program that had no business existing, because (and therefore?) it was indeed as slack as you describe.

    For many of us in the real world, graduate school was far, far more grueling than our subsequent or previous gigs throwing rocks into the ocean from cubicles for people a lot less intelligent than us: reading hundreds of pages of esoteric material every day (with the expectation it be understood and retained); working thirty hours a week to help pay the bills, editing journals, writing and revising papers, managing not-for-profit endeavors, struggling to get papers published, fighting for grants, repeating an experiment that takes three months of coming to the lab at six-hour intervals every day because someone used the wrong pipette Tuesday...

    Indeed, one of the other points about Thiel's observations is that it leads to a perverse system whereby brilliant people who do pass the trial by fire then must reconcile themselves to putting pegs in holes like a monkey for the next fifty years under the "leadership" – ha! – of morons whose sole qualification is "Beneficiary of Cronyism" once one realizes it is all a rigged game.

    I agree completely with your diagnosis. One of my colleagues enjoyed telling clients that – The Symptomology is Ubiquitous. But you didn’t follow through with the cure. Self-employment.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I am ashamed to say I long since have been told the cure and agreed with its soundness, but I have always lacked the capital* and courage necessary to begin treatment. From time to time I contemplate escapes, but the possibilities for success and the probabilities for failure diminish with the obligations and limitations of responsibility and age. At this point I am like Yul Brenner, as an emphysemic shadow of himself, only able to admonish the young to learn from his folly.

    *This bit is actually part of the invidious approach of exhorting intelligent, impoverished young men to accumulate hokey, expensive credentials, to keep them beholden to debts at least until they have families, failing health, or both (often long afterward), thus ensuring they never experience a period of life when they are free to take the necessary risks to establish themselves independently....
  103. @Massimo Heitor

    PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it’s chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.
     
    No... I know many adults who weigh the choice between full time PhD work versus full time job. Doing PhD work would mean stepping down to ~$30k/year. Many adults have reasonably easy jobs making much more money. The upside is PhDs are very high status and open more long term career prospects.

    Meh, I don’t know. Having 5 years to do nothing but learn cool math and physics and get to do research full-time (when I think of the amount of crap I could learn if I didn’t have to bother with earning a salary for a few years!) sounds worth the opportunity cost for me. And if you define a “positive” outcome from the doctorate as getting to do something cool with math and computers afterwards-aka, you aren’t hung up on becoming an academic, which is an incredibly stupid idea considering the job prospects there-it’s not like you won’t be making pretty good money afterwards anyway. You’ve just got to learn how to market yourself in the private sector, which is something that they won’t teach you directly.

    If you want to optimize your earnings at all cost, then yes, it is a pretty nonsensical move, especially if you are going back for it later in life. But when you consider the kind of money you are making in tech in the US anyway, it all looks kind of silly in the bigger picture. So you end up making hundreds of thousands of dollars at 28 rather than 25. Big deal.

  104. @Jack D
    A lot of the overflow seems to end up at Cornerstone Research:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornerstone_Research

    Cornerstone Research is a litigation consulting firm based in the United States and the United Kingdom. It provides economic and financial analysis and expert testimony to attorneys, corporations and government agencies involved in complex litigation and regulatory proceedings.

     

    In other words, rent-a-witnesses. Hey, it's a living.

    Expert witness work pays economists very high hourly rates. You can make a high annual income by doing this work part-time as a go-to expert witness, combined with an academic economist position. Not my cup of tea but I know colleagues who earn good incomes this way.

  105. @Reg Cæsar

    Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald’s in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.
     
    On one metric. What about all the others?

    Working in McDonald’s in America:

    General positives:

    + Even the lowest job in an American McDonald’s, has a very high salary by international standards.

    + Working conditions will be very safe and healthy as well, by any international standards.

    Possible negatives:

    – Possibly it could be more psychologically unpleasant for some people, than jobs like being a coal miner, or working in a Chinese factory, or cleaning toilets in a factory in China. But we can’t make any general statements here, as it will be subjective and vary by particular circumstances.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Managing a McDonald's was the fastest and simplest way to become a millionaire until the Chinese found their own way, and it still works.
    , @Anonymous

    Possibly it could be more psychologically unpleasant for some people, than jobs like being a coal miner, or working in a Chinese factory, or cleaning toilets in a factory in China.
     
    Maybe it's just me, but from what I see standing in lines, many people treat customer service-type employees far worse today than they did ten or fifteen years ago. Or maybe the worst 10% of the population has gotten a lot more vicious in that time and the rest of the population has shifted slightly.

    And it's not entitled millennials who are behind this. It's baby boomers and the older Gen-X cohort(i.e. the people who really ought to know better) who seem to be behind this.

    I wouldn't want to be a fifteen year old girl starting her first McJob in 2019.
  106. @Anon
    As EdReal says, those second rate Ph.D.s could be teaching high school, and they'd have job security and an income stream to start to pay off their loans.

    But forget about grad students: More and more major companies are accepting applications from people with no college degree. I think they realize that the degrees don't mean that much anymore due to affirmative action and so on. They do not indicate college level (or even high school graduate level) intelligence, they no longer indicate conscientiousness nor conformity, since you're allow to skip classes and exams for protests and professors get cancelled if they tell you to take your feet off the chair in front of you.

    Companies can look at a proxy IQ test, like an SAT, and then eyeball the applicant for conscientiousness and conformity (white? if not white, seems to be comfortable in standard English dialect? dress appropriately for an interview? well spoken? wasn't fired by McDonald's in high school?), then train them in-house. Cheaper starting salaries for the company, no loans for the workers, who also start life four or more years early.

    And sexist comment here: Women can consider getting married to a nice guy and having kids before their ovaries dry out and they have to go the Frankenkid route with IVF. And also work in a job that pays as much as they'd get with a useless Ph.D. ten years later on loans.

    To your last point: we can restore replacement level childbirth by prohibiting women in college until they’ve had kids. Career-focus is the thing causing that, but they can still get credentials and become academics once they’ve served society as only they can. What’s funny though is on the other side of that a lot less women will be interested in academia.

  107. @Jack D
    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don't. But most people don't seem to care - maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.

    As for the SSC post, I'd rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school. Is undergrad ed in America a waste of time? Depends what you mean by waste.

    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don’t. But most people don’t seem to care – maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.

    The job market changes.

    I remember the tech market crash in ~2002. Programmers were out of work, salaries plunged. Economists said all programmer jobs would get outsourced and wages would continue to plunge and stay low, and no companies would hire tech workers in US or Europe when they could hire much cheaper workers in cheaper countries. Tech was considered a bad career direction. The opposite happened.

    Another strategy is study what you like that should plausibly have a future. Because five years later, who knows how the market will change.

    I’d rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school.

    It really depends on the treatment. I personally did a very demanding pre-med program, I worked very hard at it. I remember studying like mad on organic chemistry and biochemistry. But that stuff is of low importance to me as a customer when I want a medical treatment.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    But that stuff is of low importance to me as a customer when I want a medical treatment.
     
    Not really. If you need a piano moved, you want a guy who lifts. Likewise mindwise for a doc.
    , @L Woods
    Yeah, bootstrappers love to forget about the early 2000s tech bust. Doesn't fit the "hurr durr, your underemployment is YOUR fault loser" narrative. With another tech bust probably impending, expect crickets from the usual suspects pontificating about the obvious superiority of "STEM" to "basket weaving."
    , @Autochthon

    I remember the tech[nology] market crash in ~2002. Programmers were out of work, salaries plunged. Economists said all programmer jobs would get outsourced and wages would continue to plunge and stay low, and no companies would hire tech[nology] workers in [America] or Europe when they could hire much cheaper workers in cheaper countries[, or import them en masse with the blessings of traitorous legislators and presidents]. Tech[nology] was considered a bad career direction. The opposite happened. It still is, because those economists were right.
     
    I've taken the liberty of correcting your typographical error so that it does not harm some naïve, young man considering a career as a programmer. (How is life in rural Alaska, anyway?)
  108. There are two themes to Scott Adams’s parallel powerpoints: “things are messed up and overdue for reform,” and “everything is perfectly fine except for the division sown by magical Moscovites.” It is truly good that Thiel is pointing up the first case.

  109. @Dmitry
    Working in McDonald’s in America:

    General positives:

    + Even the lowest job in an American McDonald's, has a very high salary by international standards.

    + Working conditions will be very safe and healthy as well, by any international standards.

    Possible negatives:

    - Possibly it could be more psychologically unpleasant for some people, than jobs like being a coal miner, or working in a Chinese factory, or cleaning toilets in a factory in China. But we can't make any general statements here, as it will be subjective and vary by particular circumstances.

    Managing a McDonald’s was the fastest and simplest way to become a millionaire until the Chinese found their own way, and it still works.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    The total initial McDonald’s franchise amount is from $1,008,000 to $2,214,080.

    I reckon you mean owning one, not managing one. It's the difference between being Paris Hilton and the schmuck doing the night audit at your local Hilton.

    And as you can see, the important point here is that being a millionaire is the threshold requirement for owning one, not the reward afterward (although I'm sure they are very profitable).

    People who tout the reward of rugged individualism whilst disregarding minor details like capital requirements, regulatory capture, and such are Boomerific. Horatio Alger wrote fiction, not biographies....

  110. Rent is higher, though. If half of what you earn goes to the landlord, what difference is it whether it’s twelve dollars an hour, or a day, or a week?

  111. Peter Thiel =

    Leper tithe.
    Triple thee.
    The reptile.

  112. There are currently just shy of 13,000 post-secondary teachers of economics. The average post-secondary teacher works about 70% time, so you figure perhaps the equivalent of about 9,000 f/t positions. There are supposedly working in government and in the business sector somewhat north of 18,000 economists. So, that’s just north of 27,000. The ratio of annual degree awards to working practitioners is variable by profession, but it tends to cluster around 1:22.5. So, you figure 1,200 research degrees awarded annually. That would be ~8,000 working on dissertation and ~8,000 working on master’s degrees. If you posit a state of the world wherein graduate study in academic subjects is limited to research institutions, the typical research institution would have about 60 graduate students enrolled in the economics department at any one time, of whom a majority would leave with a master’s or fail.

    The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much.

    Doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations, it would appear Mr. Thiel defines ‘good position’ as an appointment at a swank private university or perhaps a Public Ivy. Pretty silly.

    • Agree: Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Anonymous

    Doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations, it would appear Mr. Thiel defines ‘good position’ as an appointment at a swank private university or perhaps a Public Ivy. Pretty silly.
     
    Exactly. Thiel's idea of a 'good position' is tenure at a top 20 university. Apparently, anything besides that is worthless in his opinion. This is odd coming from someone who makes a big show of being against mainstream orthodoxy. The reason we have some economic heterodoxy outside of the predominant Neoclassical/Keynesian/Chicago school orthodoxy at the top econ departments is because we have more economists and econ departments outside of the top schools.

    Thiel is out of touch on this issue because he himself has only been in the most elite institutions and held the most elite jobs: Stanford undergrad and law school, clerking for a Court of Appeals judge, working at Sullivan & Cromwell, etc.
  113. @Anon
    As EdReal says, those second rate Ph.D.s could be teaching high school, and they'd have job security and an income stream to start to pay off their loans.

    But forget about grad students: More and more major companies are accepting applications from people with no college degree. I think they realize that the degrees don't mean that much anymore due to affirmative action and so on. They do not indicate college level (or even high school graduate level) intelligence, they no longer indicate conscientiousness nor conformity, since you're allow to skip classes and exams for protests and professors get cancelled if they tell you to take your feet off the chair in front of you.

    Companies can look at a proxy IQ test, like an SAT, and then eyeball the applicant for conscientiousness and conformity (white? if not white, seems to be comfortable in standard English dialect? dress appropriately for an interview? well spoken? wasn't fired by McDonald's in high school?), then train them in-house. Cheaper starting salaries for the company, no loans for the workers, who also start life four or more years early.

    And sexist comment here: Women can consider getting married to a nice guy and having kids before their ovaries dry out and they have to go the Frankenkid route with IVF. And also work in a job that pays as much as they'd get with a useless Ph.D. ten years later on loans.

    As EdReal says, those second rate Ph.D.s could be teaching high school

    Very little manpower is devoted to teaching economics in high school (and from what little I’ve seen, the way it’s taught can be execrable). That aside, if there are positions in post-secondary teaching institutions, positions in public agencies, and positions in business, why would you wish to teach high school (unless, of course, secondary school teaching were your actual vocation, in which case you should be studying mathematics or history or perhaps accounting)?

  114. @Dmitry
    McDonald's employees in America have a high salary, by international standards. Maybe $2000 a month? $2,500?

    There's plenty people in a country like Russia, who work full time, and yet their salary is only $300 or $400 each month.

    If your salary is $2000 a month in Russia, this would be considered quite a nice salary for any area.

    People say "oh in Russia it is much cheaper". But I am in Russia right now today, and comparing in the food prices this morning in the supermarket, with what I pay in Western Europe - it's not all that much cheaper in some places Russia. For example, in British Aldi supermarket, prices are not really very much higher for many things, and some can be the same price. Similarly, in Walmart in America. Anyone talking about some kind of huge price difference, is exaggerating.

    And note Russia is a pretty developed country, to compare with. It's actually more or less a first world example. Try to compare salaries with China, let alone India.

    McDonald's salary in America, is simply a very high salary by international standards.

    How much does McDonald’s pay in Russia? What is the price of a Big Mac in Russia?

    • Replies: @Dmitry
    If you work full-time in McDonald's in Russia, your salary will be around $320-$350 a month, according to recent reports. This is with 8 hour days. There might be some regional variation though.

    With the current economic situation, there is a reason Russia must never join EU, or become too friendly with Western countries.

    If immigration and labour movement regulations with Western countries were too relaxed (currently it is complicated and difficult to get a visa to work in Western Europe), then much of young people in Russia now would emigrate from Russia to work in Starbucks in London, or McDonald's in Germany where the salaries for unqualified teenagers there are $1500 a month.

    For example, McDonald's in Australia pays $18 an hour for the same job, that McDonald's in Russia pays $1,90 an hour (and still has no problem finding employees).

    So apparently 9,5 McDonald's employees in Russia are equivalent value to 1 McDonald's employee in Australia, if we judged by salaries they pay.

  115. @Jack D
    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don't. But most people don't seem to care - maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.

    As for the SSC post, I'd rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school. Is undergrad ed in America a waste of time? Depends what you mean by waste.

    As we speak, there are about 68,000 post-secondary English teachers. If they’re working 70% time on average, that’s 45,000 ft positions, which could be staffed with 2,000 degree awards each year.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
    I love your posts, Art, because you use obscure phrases that leave me guessing as to what you mean.

    "Post-secondary"?

    Does that mean after high school, not including community college, or even special classes taught in the evening? Who knows?
  116. Anonymous[344] • Disclaimer says:
    @Dmitry
    Working in McDonald’s in America:

    General positives:

    + Even the lowest job in an American McDonald's, has a very high salary by international standards.

    + Working conditions will be very safe and healthy as well, by any international standards.

    Possible negatives:

    - Possibly it could be more psychologically unpleasant for some people, than jobs like being a coal miner, or working in a Chinese factory, or cleaning toilets in a factory in China. But we can't make any general statements here, as it will be subjective and vary by particular circumstances.

    Possibly it could be more psychologically unpleasant for some people, than jobs like being a coal miner, or working in a Chinese factory, or cleaning toilets in a factory in China.

    Maybe it’s just me, but from what I see standing in lines, many people treat customer service-type employees far worse today than they did ten or fifteen years ago. Or maybe the worst 10% of the population has gotten a lot more vicious in that time and the rest of the population has shifted slightly.

    And it’s not entitled millennials who are behind this. It’s baby boomers and the older Gen-X cohort(i.e. the people who really ought to know better) who seem to be behind this.

    I wouldn’t want to be a fifteen year old girl starting her first McJob in 2019.

    • Replies: @Autochthon

    I wouldn’t want to be a fifteen year old girl starting her first McJob in 2019.
     
    It would be a McTrabajo and she would be a forty-year-old, morbidly obese mestiza named Consuela unable to speak English, so have no no worries about that fear manifesting itself on any American youth.
  117. @Autochthon
    I second Simonini.

    You pretty obviously have no experience of actual grout work, and a lot of hilarious impressions gleaned from satire thereof. Possibly you went to a graduate program that had no business existing, because (and therefore?) it was indeed as slack as you describe.

    For many of us in the real world, graduate school was far, far more grueling than our subsequent or previous gigs throwing rocks into the ocean from cubicles for people a lot less intelligent than us: reading hundreds of pages of esoteric material every day (with the expectation it be understood and retained); working thirty hours a week to help pay the bills, editing journals, writing and revising papers, managing not-for-profit endeavors, struggling to get papers published, fighting for grants, repeating an experiment that takes three months of coming to the lab at six-hour intervals every day because someone used the wrong pipette Tuesday...

    Indeed, one of the other points about Thiel's observations is that it leads to a perverse system whereby brilliant people who do pass the trial by fire then must reconcile themselves to putting pegs in holes like a monkey for the next fifty years under the "leadership" – ha! – of morons whose sole qualification is "Beneficiary of Cronyism" once one realizes it is all a rigged game.

    Graduate students can be abused. But I wrote a moderately long paper that was accepted by the editors and referees of a major journal, submitted it verbatim as my thesis, and neither my school nor almost any other graduate school would have contemplated declaring such an endorsement to be insufficient.

    That was in mathematics. I have no idea which other departments behave similarly, but I suspect the same is true in a few other “hard” fields.

  118. @CCZ
    “Our investigations of historical societies showed that rising economic inequality, elite overproduction (in the US taking the form of overproduction of law and business degrees), and increasing political violence are reliable indicators of a crisis to come.”

    “Elite overproduction is defined as an oversupply of contenders for power positions. Note that it’s not just too many ‘established elites (actual power holders); it also includes too many contenders who don’t have power but aspire to it (these are ‘elite aspirants’ in the jargon of the structural-demographic theory).”

    “An actual example of this dynamic in action is provided by the evolution of the distribution of starting salaries of American law school graduates during the 1990s. Starting in the 1970s the numbers of lawyers began growing much faster than the general population, so that over the last 40 years the numbers of lawyers per 1000 population increased from 1.6 to 3.9.”

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/bimodal-lawyers-how-extreme-competition-breeds-extreme-inequality/

    His other articles are at:

    http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/popular/


    Peter Turchin, Professor at the University of Connecticut, researches cultural evolution and the historical dynamics of past and present societies. His research focuses on social conflict, income inequality, political violence, structural-demographic change, and “elite overproduction” and, as early as 2010, used his research to “predict” the United States would experience a period of social and political instability and even violence during the 2020s.

    Yes, Turchin is good. And his father was no slouch 🙂

  119. @Paleo Liberal
    My Ph.D is in chemistry, but the same idea.

    I worked impossible hours under very stressful conditions and was rather poor during that time. However, some of the work I did was quite enjoyable.

    I don’t miss some guys trying to mug me at 3:00 when I was walking back from the lab.

    I don’t miss the last week of making corrections putting in 20+ hours a day of work for a solid week.

    I don’t miss never having enough money nor enough time for anything fun.

    I think grad students should kill and eat their professors.

  120. As the number 6th student when I graduated from Stanford Econ Dept many years ago (before PT was at Stanford!), I have to agree that as much as I respect Peter Thiel what he said is untrue. As one of the less successful people in my class I am still earning middle 6 figures and although I am out of academics I still publish the occasional paper in Econ Journals (just for ego, doesn’t impact my actual career). Grad Students from my year who weren’t in the top 4 became deans, college presidents, professors at first tier B-Schools and G-Schools (although few are in top ranked pure Econ departments), Wall Street moguls (a friend I helped with his dissertations owns many Ming vases), top consulting firms, high government posts etc. Don’t cry for us.
    My late wife who was in the English department and got drummed out for not being post-modern enough, ended up as the head of doc for a large (although now defunct) tech firm. I used run into her old classmates occasionally and they were also reasonably successful too (although none were teaching).
    Second tier universities though have a different story. If you are not a foreigner going back, you should not go a non-top 20 grad school.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Generally, going to Stanford is a good decision.
    , @Kronos
    “My late wife who was in the English department and got drummed out for not being post-modern enough[.]”

    Could you further elaborate on the department politics of post-modernism? How this became such a hot topic on campus.
  121. McKinsey
    https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/students/advanced-professional-degree-candidates/other-phd-and-post-doctorate-schools
    BCG
    https://www.bcg.com/en-us/careers/students/advanced-degrees.aspx
    and Bain
    https://www.bain.com/careers/roles/advanced-degree/
    actively recruit elite PhDs in any discipline and place them in the same job (“Associate”) as their elite MBA peers. Both the PhD and the MBA fresh graduates are 29 years old, and both have a similar net worth, in the range of negative $100,000 to positive $100,000.

    This shows that the MBA curriculum is well-nigh useless, and that the important thing in management consulting is to be a high-IQ, willful and unfettered man or mannish woman of 29 years of age.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    The MBA curriculum is kind of a two-year Choose Your Career sojourn. But I did it much younger than is the norm today.
  122. @candid_observer
    Peter Turchin has done some revolutionary work in mathematical modelling of history. I wonder how it is that he is stuck in something of a backwater like UConn.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Turchin

    Maybe he likes it?

  123. anon[422] • Disclaimer says:

    We need lots of blue collar entry level jobs where men can start life working with their hands and rise up in the world. It’s called ladders of success.
    We need an economy that favors independent ambitious people who start their own small businesses. It’s called ladders of success.
    We need universities that teach real stuff to the smart students. They can use their training in a professional career or they can teach. It’s called ladders of success.
    If a top level ivy league graduate can’t get an elite job at a top level ivy league school and whines about it, we need to send him to Safeway to cashier.
    It’s called falling down the ladder of success.

  124. An obvious win-win would be to get all those underemployed Ph.D.’s teaching honors classes in decent high schools, but public high schools ward off competence with a thick crust of protective bullshit that is lovingly maintained by “professional educators.”

    About this over-production of elites, though — it’s a reflection of our corrupt and failed institutions. If you need to build a few miles of road, the first thing they do is spend $10 million and three years on a useless environmental impact study. We can’t get things done any more. We’ll never cure cancer as long as Institutional Review Boards and the like are permitted to exist.

  125. Anon[108] • Disclaimer says:

    Very little manpower is devoted to teaching economics in high school (and from what little I’ve seen, the way it’s taught can be execrable). That aside, if there are positions in post-secondary teaching institutions, positions in public agencies, and positions in business, why would you wish to teach high school (unless, of course, secondary school teaching were your actual vocation, in which case you should be studying mathematics or history or perhaps accounting)?

    Econ may be different and it may be easier for Ph.D.s to get jobs. Note, however, that there are two distinct branches of economics, and the non-econometrics/quantitative branch is surprisingly close to a sociology major in (lack of) rigor. But the quant side is basically a STEM profession.

    Still, I read Inside Higher Ed and Chronicles of Higher Ed, and yes, Ph.D.s have a real hard time finding a job. It’s a constant them of guest columns and articles. They work as adjuncts, which are, as @EdReal has pointed out, lower paid than high school teaching, and have less job security than high school teaching. They also have little chance of segueing into tenure track after the first few years.

    So for most Ph.D.s, teaching high school would make more sense. You don’t have to teach econ. You can teach math or history. I think this route isn’t taken because teaching is considered a drop in prestige. A think tank job paying 30 percent less than teaching is better for them because your salary is a secret, and the job title sounds less humiliating. It’s like how law school grads will take Assistant U.S. Attorney jobs or Deputy District Attorney jobs because the average person doesn’t know they only get $55,000 a year, despite their glorified job titles.

    • Replies: @L Woods
    The massive disparity in prestige (and, commensurately I suppose, competence) between primary/secondary and tertiary education in the US has always been a bit mystifying to me.
  126. @Antipodean Coward
    Perhaps it's the economics of academia that are being misunderstood.

    Academics spend a large portion of their time teaching undergraduates and graduate students with the assistance of those same graduate students to share the load.

    To support a single academic requires the fees from many students and likely the support of several graduate students.

    The ratio and turnover of graduate students relative to faculty makes the situation analogous to a Ponzi scheme.

    I don't see how this will change in the current system. I think a better question to ask is whether student fees (and a funnel of underpaid work to unlikely tenure) are the most appropriate way to fund r&d?

    Antipodean, graduate students in American STEM programs are paid as KL says a couple of posts below here:

    Ph.D. students in science do not pay tuition, and get stipends as lab workers or teaching assistants. Physical sciences like chemistry have many international students* who are willing to work for comparatively low wages. Even Americans are willing to sacrifice income for the glory of academia

    From what I see, more American grad students are lab workers, a.k.a. research assistants, than teaching assistants…. Sometimes serving as substitute teachers if Prof. Poindexter is away at a conference. Instead of student loans, the source of the money is the gooberment, via DoD, NASA, NOAA, or I don’t who in the biology sector.

    An important point is that American private industry does very little pure and not that much applied research nowadays. Elon Musk’s SpaceX is an exceptional case. Research is mostly done by universities. Granted, Boeing ( at least Boeing military and space ), Lockheed, Ratheon etc. develop new military technology, but those notional private businesses are really quasi-gooberment bureaus., not that different from the Russian/Soviet mode.

    Also, I am bemused at the notion that tenured or tenured track faculty at state U.’s are losers. No, I am not a faculty member anywhere. There’s a lot of snobbery in the notion that only alumni of prestige U.’s are first-class academicians. A fellow gets his doctorate from, say, U. of Tennessee and end up at U. Oklahoma — oh the horror.

    * a number of Chinese grad students in STEM are spies for China.

    • Replies: @adreadline

    A fellow gets his doctorate from, say, U. of Tennessee and end up at U. Oklahoma — oh the horror.
     
    Not to mention, those people get to write -- or help the main authors write and revise -- the textbooks undergrads and graduates alike get to use. Including students abroad. I'd like to be that kind of loser.
    , @Jack D

    I don’t who in the biology sector.
     
    In addition to the sources that you site, the National Science Foundation gives out some $, although I don't know what it amounts to as a percentage:

    https://www.nsf.gov/funding/education.jsp?fund_type=2

    For a while, DoD money was considered sort of tainted so some universities were forced to spin off their defense related labs so that they wouldn't have to endure campus sit-ins every week. MIT did this twice, first with Lincoln Lab after WWII (which they moved to an air base in the suburbs, far from Mass Ave and inconvenient for demonstrations) and then Draper Lab after Vietnam. However, once they abolished the draft the tensions between the DoD and university students largely dissipated.
  127. @Realist
    Economics is a lot like reading tea leaves...just not as accurate.

    Ecomomists were put on the Earth to make astrologers look good.

    • LOL: Realist
    • Replies: @BB753
    Conversely, astrologers were put on earth to make economists look dignified, although about as useless.
  128. Anonymous[375] • Disclaimer says:
    @Art Deco
    There are currently just shy of 13,000 post-secondary teachers of economics. The average post-secondary teacher works about 70% time, so you figure perhaps the equivalent of about 9,000 f/t positions. There are supposedly working in government and in the business sector somewhat north of 18,000 economists. So, that's just north of 27,000. The ratio of annual degree awards to working practitioners is variable by profession, but it tends to cluster around 1:22.5. So, you figure 1,200 research degrees awarded annually. That would be ~8,000 working on dissertation and ~8,000 working on master's degrees. If you posit a state of the world wherein graduate study in academic subjects is limited to research institutions, the typical research institution would have about 60 graduate students enrolled in the economics department at any one time, of whom a majority would leave with a master's or fail.


    The top 3-4 are able to get a good position in academia. The others not so much.

    Doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations, it would appear Mr. Thiel defines 'good position' as an appointment at a swank private university or perhaps a Public Ivy. Pretty silly.

    Doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations, it would appear Mr. Thiel defines ‘good position’ as an appointment at a swank private university or perhaps a Public Ivy. Pretty silly.

    Exactly. Thiel’s idea of a ‘good position’ is tenure at a top 20 university. Apparently, anything besides that is worthless in his opinion. This is odd coming from someone who makes a big show of being against mainstream orthodoxy. The reason we have some economic heterodoxy outside of the predominant Neoclassical/Keynesian/Chicago school orthodoxy at the top econ departments is because we have more economists and econ departments outside of the top schools.

    Thiel is out of touch on this issue because he himself has only been in the most elite institutions and held the most elite jobs: Stanford undergrad and law school, clerking for a Court of Appeals judge, working at Sullivan & Cromwell, etc.

  129. Since the elites form largely an endogamic group, what we should worry about is regression to the mean. Our elites are dumber than 50 years ago.

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @L Woods
    Perhaps, but their IQs aren’t at issue nearly so much as their breathtaking, hysterical groupthink tendencies. I can’t count the number of otherwise intelligent people I’ve come across in DC who repeat the most astonishingly stupid platitudes with all apparent conviction (though admittedly, these people tend not to be as smart as they think they are either).
    , @Desiderius
    If they were smarter things would be worse. One of the upsides of AA/legacy admits/system gamers is that they attenuate the damage they can do.

    Also slows down the brain/babe drain from the rest of the country.
    , @Anon

    Since the elites form largely an endogamic group, what we should worry about is regression to the mean. Our elites are dumber than 50 years ago.
     
    In Gregory Clarke's The Son Also Rises pattern, children of the elite who were are smart or smarter than their parents took over the factory or whatever, and the lesser sprogs filtered down to displace lesser middle class.

    But today two things differ: The elite are having fewer, sometimes no, children, later in life. And their elite jobs are less heretitary, so pops cannot slot in his smartest son to his gig at a think tank or university or the New York Times or a publicly trade corporation or even a startup. There is some diluted nepotism, of course, but less direct and guaranteed.
  130. @L Woods
    I think an econ PhD at Stanford of any implicit ranking will find a "good job" (in or out of academica) by layman's standards. It's certainly been my understanding that that discipline, uniquely among the social sciences, is actually quite employable. Still, the idea is clearly pertinent elsewhere.

    You mean my $70,000 degree in puppet theater is worthless because I was only the 9th best in the troupe?

  131. @Anon
    As EdReal says, those second rate Ph.D.s could be teaching high school, and they'd have job security and an income stream to start to pay off their loans.

    But forget about grad students: More and more major companies are accepting applications from people with no college degree. I think they realize that the degrees don't mean that much anymore due to affirmative action and so on. They do not indicate college level (or even high school graduate level) intelligence, they no longer indicate conscientiousness nor conformity, since you're allow to skip classes and exams for protests and professors get cancelled if they tell you to take your feet off the chair in front of you.

    Companies can look at a proxy IQ test, like an SAT, and then eyeball the applicant for conscientiousness and conformity (white? if not white, seems to be comfortable in standard English dialect? dress appropriately for an interview? well spoken? wasn't fired by McDonald's in high school?), then train them in-house. Cheaper starting salaries for the company, no loans for the workers, who also start life four or more years early.

    And sexist comment here: Women can consider getting married to a nice guy and having kids before their ovaries dry out and they have to go the Frankenkid route with IVF. And also work in a job that pays as much as they'd get with a useless Ph.D. ten years later on loans.

    But what about the lawsuits? Education serves only to IQ-launder and bypass existing Civil Rights legislation. If it’s a big company, it’ll lead to disparate impact lawsuits. The point of paying the education big bucks is to pass through this regulatory entrapment.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griggs_v._Duke_Power_Co.

  132. @Mike1
    I guess I'm not the only one to notice that the output of the Stanford econ PHD program is really bad. I would actually go further and say that the output of Stanford graduate programs are generally very low quality.

    The idea that you need to be exceptionally smart to get into Stanford is nothing more than marketing. Everyone I know with a graduate degree from that university struggles with basic concepts. It is zero surprise to me that someone like Elizabeth Holmes came out of that environment.

    You’re joking, right?

    • Replies: @Mike1
    I know Stanford PHD's in econ that cannot do very basic math in their head. I know multiple Stanford people with Masters in Engineering that don't get the concept of the median. I believe the technical term for people with this level of intelligence is "dumb as [email protected]#k".
  133. @dvorak
    McKinsey
    https://www.mckinsey.com/careers/students/advanced-professional-degree-candidates/other-phd-and-post-doctorate-schools
    BCG
    https://www.bcg.com/en-us/careers/students/advanced-degrees.aspx
    and Bain
    https://www.bain.com/careers/roles/advanced-degree/
    actively recruit elite PhDs in any discipline and place them in the same job ("Associate") as their elite MBA peers. Both the PhD and the MBA fresh graduates are 29 years old, and both have a similar net worth, in the range of negative $100,000 to positive $100,000.

    This shows that the MBA curriculum is well-nigh useless, and that the important thing in management consulting is to be a high-IQ, willful and unfettered man or mannish woman of 29 years of age.

    The MBA curriculum is kind of a two-year Choose Your Career sojourn. But I did it much younger than is the norm today.

  134. @Jack D
    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don't. But most people don't seem to care - maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.

    As for the SSC post, I'd rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school. Is undergrad ed in America a waste of time? Depends what you mean by waste.

    I’d rather be treated by the guy with 4 years of med school and 5 years of practice than by the guy with 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school, and 1 year of practice.

  135. @Larry, San Francisco
    As the number 6th student when I graduated from Stanford Econ Dept many years ago (before PT was at Stanford!), I have to agree that as much as I respect Peter Thiel what he said is untrue. As one of the less successful people in my class I am still earning middle 6 figures and although I am out of academics I still publish the occasional paper in Econ Journals (just for ego, doesn't impact my actual career). Grad Students from my year who weren't in the top 4 became deans, college presidents, professors at first tier B-Schools and G-Schools (although few are in top ranked pure Econ departments), Wall Street moguls (a friend I helped with his dissertations owns many Ming vases), top consulting firms, high government posts etc. Don't cry for us.
    My late wife who was in the English department and got drummed out for not being post-modern enough, ended up as the head of doc for a large (although now defunct) tech firm. I used run into her old classmates occasionally and they were also reasonably successful too (although none were teaching).
    Second tier universities though have a different story. If you are not a foreigner going back, you should not go a non-top 20 grad school.

    Generally, going to Stanford is a good decision.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    Jack McDowell, Mike Mussina, and AJ Hinch agree, even if the first two didn't use their degrees per se to find employment.
  136. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it’s chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    I am enjoying the PhD as a luxury good of sorts. After 30 years in the military, during which time I slowly and sporadically completed an undergrad and masters degree, I am using the GI Bill to get a PhD in a performing art. No loans, and no worries about the practicality for career. If I can leverage the PhD into occasional teaching work, great, but in any event I am enjoying the experience virtually worry free.

  137. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    A bit off topic but related: does anyone know how difficult a Ph.D is to obtain in the field of Sociology? Does having a Sociology Doctorate also apply that it took 6-8 years, and you’ll end up making six figures? Besides teaching, what does one do with a Sociology Doctorate? In other words is Sociology similar to a STEM or Econ Doctorate, or would it be considered a BS Degree?

    Anyone?

    • Replies: @Lot
    It is easy to get one and the job prospects are awful.
    , @L Woods
    I’d guess more difficult to obtain than you’d think; very poor job prospects nonetheless.
  138. @David Davenport
    Antipodean, graduate students in American STEM programs are paid as KL says a couple of posts below here:

    Ph.D. students in science do not pay tuition, and get stipends as lab workers or teaching assistants. Physical sciences like chemistry have many international students* who are willing to work for comparatively low wages. Even Americans are willing to sacrifice income for the glory of academia

    From what I see, more American grad students are lab workers, a.k.a. research assistants, than teaching assistants.... Sometimes serving as substitute teachers if Prof. Poindexter is away at a conference. Instead of student loans, the source of the money is the gooberment, via DoD, NASA, NOAA, or I don't who in the biology sector.

    An important point is that American private industry does very little pure and not that much applied research nowadays. Elon Musk's SpaceX is an exceptional case. Research is mostly done by universities. Granted, Boeing ( at least Boeing military and space ), Lockheed, Ratheon etc. develop new military technology, but those notional private businesses are really quasi-gooberment bureaus., not that different from the Russian/Soviet mode.

    Also, I am bemused at the notion that tenured or tenured track faculty at state U.'s are losers. No, I am not a faculty member anywhere. There's a lot of snobbery in the notion that only alumni of prestige U.'s are first-class academicians. A fellow gets his doctorate from, say, U. of Tennessee and end up at U. Oklahoma -- oh the horror.

    * a number of Chinese grad students in STEM are spies for China.

    A fellow gets his doctorate from, say, U. of Tennessee and end up at U. Oklahoma — oh the horror.

    Not to mention, those people get to write — or help the main authors write and revise — the textbooks undergrads and graduates alike get to use. Including students abroad. I’d like to be that kind of loser.

  139. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    A bit off topic but related: does anyone know how difficult a Ph.D is to obtain in the field of Sociology? Does having a Sociology Doctorate also apply that it took 6-8 years, and you’ll end up making six figures? Besides teaching, what does one do with a Sociology Doctorate? In other words is Sociology similar to a STEM or Econ Doctorate, or would it be considered a BS Degree?

    Anyone?

    It is easy to get one and the job prospects are awful.

  140. Steve, I don’t know if it matters or not, but this is the kind of thread I would like to see more of.

  141. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Thiel is being very snooty. A “good position” in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit “good position” to that then his statement is true, but that’s much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.
     
    This may be true as far as Stanford goes, but as you write there are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the U.S., many of which have graduate programs in this or that and as a consequence there is a surfeit of academic clockwatchers with enormous non-dischargeable debt and no real career prospects in a field which would enable them to service their debts.

    Many are probably smarter than the average bear, but not smart or talented enough (or politically savvy enough) to achieve success by attaining a stable position in the academy in their fields of study.

    Paradoxically, it's probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions' cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.

    Paradoxically, it’s probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions’ cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.

    Exactly.

    Schools of Education are worthless and powerful federal incentives should be used to break this nonsense, but since as many Recucks are beholden to the NEA as are the donkeys, it’s unlikely.

  142. Anon[516] • Disclaimer says:

    OT: The House just passed a minimum wage bill. To put it bluntly, the Republican goose is cooked in 2020 if they block it in the Senate. Too many people in this country have stagnant wages but high living expenses. Rent and transportation are expensive in this country, and the young are loaded with student debt. If Trump wants to lock in his reelection, he has to talk the Senate into passing it and then sign it. The Dems are trying to hang, ‘they screwed over minimum wage workers,’ around Trump’s and the Republican’s necks. As long as we have too many illegals taking our housing and jobs in this country, and no price deflation, the Democrats are going to win on this issue.

  143. @Corn
    “These young people were taught by teachers and counselors that education automatically gives you a middle class life. We need a bit of tiger-mom p[philosophy here. You are responsible for choosing an education that leaves you with marketable skills.”

    Quite true. When I was going to grade and high school in the ‘80s and ‘90s we were basically taught that a college degree was the ticket to Easy Street. There was a period of time in the ‘70s where my high school wouldn’t allow military recruiters on the premises, because “all our kids are college bound”.

    This is a high school in a small Midwestern farming town btw, not a prog suburb.

    I’m always torn on the student loan forgiveness debate that pops up sometimes. I don’t want some people’s debt to be assumed by society as a hole... but on the other hand... you have at least 3 or 4 generations of kids who were basically told their only choice was Harvard or hamburger flipping.

    I don’t want some people’s debt to be assumed by society as a hole

    Typo, or pun?

  144. @Autochthon
    Calm down, Baby Boomer Jimi; we will get you another phone with big buttons and a faster Rascal.

    How about a JitterBug?

  145. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jack D
    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don't. But most people don't seem to care - maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.

    As for the SSC post, I'd rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school. Is undergrad ed in America a waste of time? Depends what you mean by waste.

    Pre-med is a scam.

    Making med school a straight six year program but requiring applicants to have one or two years work experience in some allied health job or more in a non-health career requiring real thinking would be best.

    In his book
    https://www.amazon.com/Herman-German-Just-Lucky-Guess/dp/141847925X

    Gerhard “Herman the German” Neumann tells that the German engineering schools would admit foreign tudents, but they had a secret way of keeping the German engineers on top. Foreign students did not have the requirement that German applicants did: they had to be journeymen mechanics first before admission. I can tell you from experience that the best EEs are invariably guys that were navy ETs or hardcore, build it yourself ham radio hobbyists before going to school.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Herman the German, aka Herman the Jew in his native Deutschland. Neumann was an interesting character who ended up running GE's profitable jet engine division but the kind of Jew (this type was once common among German Jews and also the elite Jews in Hungary,Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc. - you'd think that their experience with Hitler would have knocked some sense into the ones that survived) who liked to pretend that he wasn't Jewish ("my parents were Jewish"). Too bad that the Third Reich wasn't willing to go along with his pretense. This is still going on today with the Sulzbergers - no matter how much they do that getting baptised and going to church and marrying fellow Christians stuff, they're still Jews in some people's book. The taint is in the blood.

    MIT and some of the other post-Civil War universities were consciously patterned after the German polytechnic universities. Germany was once considered a world leader in education and many other German educational innovations ("kindergarten") were copied in the US. MIT to this day requires quite a bit of hands on work in its engineering program and in the past required even more. This is very distinct from the English divinity school model found at Harvard where thinking about great issues is more important than getting your hands dirty which is why Harvard is the #21 best engineering school and MIT is #1. However the Nazis ruined the German university system and it has never fully recovered.

  146. @Corn
    “These young people were taught by teachers and counselors that education automatically gives you a middle class life. We need a bit of tiger-mom p[philosophy here. You are responsible for choosing an education that leaves you with marketable skills.”

    Quite true. When I was going to grade and high school in the ‘80s and ‘90s we were basically taught that a college degree was the ticket to Easy Street. There was a period of time in the ‘70s where my high school wouldn’t allow military recruiters on the premises, because “all our kids are college bound”.

    This is a high school in a small Midwestern farming town btw, not a prog suburb.

    I’m always torn on the student loan forgiveness debate that pops up sometimes. I don’t want some people’s debt to be assumed by society as a hole... but on the other hand... you have at least 3 or 4 generations of kids who were basically told their only choice was Harvard or hamburger flipping.

    Many Baby Boomers discharged all their student debt in Bankruptcy. Something modern youths can’t do regardless. With Uncle Sam owning 70% of student loans, he’s using that $80 billion annual revenue stream to fund Baby Boomer entitlements. Thus, one of the major reasons for crazy costs.

  147. @Anon
    As EdReal says, those second rate Ph.D.s could be teaching high school, and they'd have job security and an income stream to start to pay off their loans.

    But forget about grad students: More and more major companies are accepting applications from people with no college degree. I think they realize that the degrees don't mean that much anymore due to affirmative action and so on. They do not indicate college level (or even high school graduate level) intelligence, they no longer indicate conscientiousness nor conformity, since you're allow to skip classes and exams for protests and professors get cancelled if they tell you to take your feet off the chair in front of you.

    Companies can look at a proxy IQ test, like an SAT, and then eyeball the applicant for conscientiousness and conformity (white? if not white, seems to be comfortable in standard English dialect? dress appropriately for an interview? well spoken? wasn't fired by McDonald's in high school?), then train them in-house. Cheaper starting salaries for the company, no loans for the workers, who also start life four or more years early.

    And sexist comment here: Women can consider getting married to a nice guy and having kids before their ovaries dry out and they have to go the Frankenkid route with IVF. And also work in a job that pays as much as they'd get with a useless Ph.D. ten years later on loans.

    More and more major companies are accepting applications from people with no college degree.

    Virtue-signaling empty talk.

    How many ppl without college degrees are they hiring to do more than clean toilets? That is more meaningful.

    Reminds me of Zuckerberg’s pledge to donate his wealth the press gushed over.

    Yawn.

    Talk is cheap.

    Wake me up after he actually donates the money.

  148. @craig
    Thiel's mental picture of a "good" position may well be snooty, but his point holds. If 70% or more of the available slots are adjunct jobs with modest pay and no permanence, the expected value (in economic terms) of a Ph.D is not measured by the few tenure-track slots, any more than the expected value of a football scholarship is measured by the few who actually attain NFL salaries.

    Because the universities get paid up front, they don't want young people to know the expected value of a degree. Otherwise it would be obvious to all America that many degrees have a negative return on investment, and are nothing but consumption goods. Trump could get a lot of political traction (against the group that hates him more than any other) by demanding to know why taxes paid by farmers and plumbers and nurses and hairstylists ought to be subsidizing degrees that don't even repay the money spent on them. It's predatory lending, except that the "sales department" (academia) who talks you into buying the clunker operates under a different name than the finance department (government) who hounds you for the debt.

    Sorry. Wrong button.

    I strongly AGREE.

  149. @Autochthon

    Paradoxically, it’s probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions’ cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.
     
    Can confirm.

    Teaching graduate courses in law at ABA-accredited schools attached to Research One universities does not qualify one to teach social studies / civics / government / political science to twelve-year-olds.

    Any harping about shortages of teachers is as phony as the harping about shortages of programmers and just as driven by nefarious efforts at exploiting everyone involved.

    Becoming a licensed veterinary technician requires at least two years' school, followed by a supervised period of apprenticeship one must also pay for. Upon completion, salaries start at $8.00 hourly. Shockingly, turnover is astronomical.

    There is a wide swath of jobs requiring laughably arcane qualifications and paying less than a Guatelombian can earn digging ditches if one of the more generous scofflaws picks him up from the Home Depot's parking lot that day.

    Many problems today are variations of Doug Stanhope's seminal lament: "You need a license to cut hair in this country."

    shortages of teachers

    Demand juiced by 10+ yrs, @ 180d @
    6+ h worth of compulsory attendance, plus “free” tuition.

    Supply restricted by credentialing.

    The average, public school teacher is at least 3X overpaid.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    The name checks out.
  150. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    A bit off topic but related: does anyone know how difficult a Ph.D is to obtain in the field of Sociology? Does having a Sociology Doctorate also apply that it took 6-8 years, and you’ll end up making six figures? Besides teaching, what does one do with a Sociology Doctorate? In other words is Sociology similar to a STEM or Econ Doctorate, or would it be considered a BS Degree?

    Anyone?

    I’d guess more difficult to obtain than you’d think; very poor job prospects nonetheless.

  151. @BB753
    Since the elites form largely an endogamic group, what we should worry about is regression to the mean. Our elites are dumber than 50 years ago.

    Perhaps, but their IQs aren’t at issue nearly so much as their breathtaking, hysterical groupthink tendencies. I can’t count the number of otherwise intelligent people I’ve come across in DC who repeat the most astonishingly stupid platitudes with all apparent conviction (though admittedly, these people tend not to be as smart as they think they are either).

    • Replies: @BB753
    A high IQ individual develops immunity to groupthink over the years. If you're repeating the party line past the age of thirty you're either scared or dumb.
  152. @Anon

    Very little manpower is devoted to teaching economics in high school (and from what little I’ve seen, the way it’s taught can be execrable). That aside, if there are positions in post-secondary teaching institutions, positions in public agencies, and positions in business, why would you wish to teach high school (unless, of course, secondary school teaching were your actual vocation, in which case you should be studying mathematics or history or perhaps accounting)?
     
    Econ may be different and it may be easier for Ph.D.s to get jobs. Note, however, that there are two distinct branches of economics, and the non-econometrics/quantitative branch is surprisingly close to a sociology major in (lack of) rigor. But the quant side is basically a STEM profession.

    Still, I read Inside Higher Ed and Chronicles of Higher Ed, and yes, Ph.D.s have a real hard time finding a job. It's a constant them of guest columns and articles. They work as adjuncts, which are, as @EdReal has pointed out, lower paid than high school teaching, and have less job security than high school teaching. They also have little chance of segueing into tenure track after the first few years.

    So for most Ph.D.s, teaching high school would make more sense. You don't have to teach econ. You can teach math or history. I think this route isn't taken because teaching is considered a drop in prestige. A think tank job paying 30 percent less than teaching is better for them because your salary is a secret, and the job title sounds less humiliating. It's like how law school grads will take Assistant U.S. Attorney jobs or Deputy District Attorney jobs because the average person doesn't know they only get $55,000 a year, despite their glorified job titles.

    The massive disparity in prestige (and, commensurately I suppose, competence) between primary/secondary and tertiary education in the US has always been a bit mystifying to me.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Suppose also makes an ass out of you and me. Just wait until all those full tuition paying Asians get to Oz and discover the truth!
  153. @Steve Sailer
    Generally, going to Stanford is a good decision.

    Jack McDowell, Mike Mussina, and AJ Hinch agree, even if the first two didn’t use their degrees per se to find employment.

  154. @GermanReader2
    I find it incredulous, that Piketty's argument, that large immigration of poor people stabilizes a country is believed by so many people. In my opinion it destabilizes it, because of the following reasons:
    -As Jorge Borjas has shown, immigration distributes money away from labour to capital. In essence, it increases inequality in a society (which destabilizes it), because it decreases wages (especially low wages if you import low-wage earners) and increases rents/houses-prices. The people who benefit are those who employ the immigrants and already own houses/land.
    -If you import members of a different ethnic group/religion you get ethnic tensions, which destabilizes a country as well.
    -The US was more stable in the time between 1920 and 1965 (when there was a large decrease in immigration) than it is today.
    -Even if immigrats were grateful (Is Ilhan Omar grateful for living in the US?), their children demand at least the same standard of living than the middle class of the original inhabitants and take up crime, rioting etc. when their lack of skill/education is not enough for a middle class occupation. Who does the rioting in countries like Sweden or France? Children/Grandchildren of immigrants from third-world countries. Who does an outsized amount of crime committed in Europe? Children/Grandchildren of immigrants from thirld-world countries.
    - Even if immigrants were grateful (which they mostly are not), since their children are not grateful, you essentially have to import a lot of fresh immigrants each year to cancel the negative effects the children of immigrants have on the overall stability of the country
    -A lot of immigrants to Europe are Muslim and feel entitled to a better standard of living than the host population as part of their religion

    The reason the US was relatively stable, was that they had an ever expanding border until around 1900 (basically the Western part of the US had the same function countries like the US had for Europe). If you did not like all the new immigrants, you could just move west and become a farmer in a state like Oregon (and later like Montana). Additionally, having lots of cheap land was a great stabilizer for a society that was still largely agrarian. For me, it is no coincidence that the movement to restrict immigration gained steam in the late 19th century and early 20th century, because the US was running out of empty land people could settle.


    Because of the utter bullsh*t a lot of economist have said about immigration (about half of surveyed economist said, that the immigration of poor and uneducated people in a welfare-state is a net positive for the receiving state) I regard the whole academic subject as little better than astrology.

    I find it incredulous

    No offence my multilingual friend, but I think you meant “I find it incredible”, because the word incredulous is more usually used as in “he was incredulous” to describe the reaction of someone confronted with a truth that boggles their mind.

    As Jorge Borjas has shown, immigration distributes money away from labour to capital. In essence, it increases inequality in a society (which destabilizes it), because it decreases wages (especially low wages if you import low-wage earners) and increases rents/houses-prices. The people who benefit are those who employ the immigrants and already own houses/land.
    -If you import members of a different ethnic group/religion you get ethnic tensions, which destabilizes a country as well
    .

    Those are indeed the economic consequences, but working class political and labour organisation is required before it can have political consequences. The immigrants act as a wedge in the bottom 50% of society and prevent that sector from attaining political solidarity. Maybe that what was behind the sudden importation of a million immigrants to Germany. German business and the politicians who serve it realised that the poorer half of the German population (and there are a surprising number of poor ethnoGermans) was so ethnically homogenous it had the potential to organise against business. An alien wedge creating instability and fragmentation in the working class is an unalloyed boon to the elite.

    .

  155. @L Woods
    Perhaps, but their IQs aren’t at issue nearly so much as their breathtaking, hysterical groupthink tendencies. I can’t count the number of otherwise intelligent people I’ve come across in DC who repeat the most astonishingly stupid platitudes with all apparent conviction (though admittedly, these people tend not to be as smart as they think they are either).

    A high IQ individual develops immunity to groupthink over the years. If you’re repeating the party line past the age of thirty you’re either scared or dumb.

    • Replies: @L Woods
    No shortage of either I’m sure.
    , @J.Ross
    You omitted the word "can." Newton, South Sea bubble, and all that.
  156. @newrouter
    How much does McDonald's pay in Russia? What is the price of a Big Mac in Russia?

    If you work full-time in McDonald’s in Russia, your salary will be around $320-$350 a month, according to recent reports. This is with 8 hour days. There might be some regional variation though.

    With the current economic situation, there is a reason Russia must never join EU, or become too friendly with Western countries.

    If immigration and labour movement regulations with Western countries were too relaxed (currently it is complicated and difficult to get a visa to work in Western Europe), then much of young people in Russia now would emigrate from Russia to work in Starbucks in London, or McDonald’s in Germany where the salaries for unqualified teenagers there are $1500 a month.

    For example, McDonald’s in Australia pays $18 an hour for the same job, that McDonald’s in Russia pays $1,90 an hour (and still has no problem finding employees).

    So apparently 9,5 McDonald’s employees in Russia are equivalent value to 1 McDonald’s employee in Australia, if we judged by salaries they pay.

  157. @Duke84
    Ecomomists were put on the Earth to make astrologers look good.

    Conversely, astrologers were put on earth to make economists look dignified, although about as useless.

  158. Question: Is there a name for or precedent for countries (or nation-states, or peoples) in which the relative and absolute numbers of academically credentialed persons increases, while its economic standing and its standing by other measures decreases?

    I’m thinking of the U. S., of course. I think some folks above have mentioned Europe and China in various historical periods.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    Comparisons to Swift, Leaping Mao, and the early Soviets come to mind, but I don't recall a name. There are almost certainly several, but they threaten the class of people who are in charge of keeping big words circulating.
    Kakistocracy is rule by the least fit.
    , @Autochthon
    You've simply described one example of an economic law – that of supply and demand. If the relative and absolute numbers of anything – chickens, Corvettes, candybars, gold coins, handsome men... – increase, their "economic standing" and "standing by other measures" (i.e., their value, or utility, if you like) decreases.

    The fancy term in question is "elementary maths" and the precedent you seek is "at all times and everywhere."
  159. Like political science, American economics is indoctrination, not education. The purported rigor is a straightforward adaptation of cult techniques: deny the member seclusion or discretionary time. You want economists who identify with the doctrine to the point where their amygdalas backfire when you question their axioms. That way they’ll reflexively reject unauthorized perspectives like MMT or the right to development. That’s how the US managed to be the only country in the world to vote against the Declaration on the Right to Development. In economics the US is more isolated and more brainwashed than North Korea, and high-stakes, zero-sum competition for preferment makes that possible.

  160. @L Woods
    It reminds me that the Trump coalition is something of a barbell or high/low coalition itself: down and out blue collar types, and the disaffected would-be elites that comprise the alt-right (ie, the 1 out of 10 thrown off the bus for PC transgressions, not the 9 out of 10 still frantically sucking up harder and harder to keep up with the ever climbing bar for self-abasement). It helps that the latter, having some sense of foresight and empathy, realize that they could very easily, very quickly and very likely soon be in the shoes of the former. The liberal 9/10 seem to be mentally incapable of acknowledging this reality.

    This excludes the mediocre normiecons, but they're really just along for the ride by dint of the two-party system: they'll happily run back to a Romney type at first opportunity.

    The Trumpster blue collar types that I know are the opposite of down and out.

    They’re slammed.

  161. @Dmitry
    All students with PhD in Economics from Stanford, will be able to attain a job eventually, as they can likely can talk and don't have mental disabilities. Even if their eventual job is working in McDonald's in America, they will be far richer than most people internationally, and living better than 99%+ of people in human history.

    Also if they go to work in an unrelated profession, I will assume (if I am interviewing them as an employer) they are probably somewhat civilized men, who read books, like discussing various topics, and would be interesting to have in my office.

    Study skills which allow attaining the PhD in Economics from Stanford, can also be easily applied for retraining into other professions. Retraining is something cool and should be welcomed (what is "renaissance man", if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life).

    At the same time, PhD is partly a luxury consumption good. In other words, it's chance for young people to live in relaxed, free and pleasurable way in their 20s, while most of us are having an opposite experience as office cattle.

    These students are enjoying their life in liberty, waking up at 10am as if they were still teenagers, while they have an excuse not to work in a real job during their 20s (and an excuse not just for their parents, but also for future employers), and they can even socialize with their friends all day calling it "study sessions" and "seminars".

    what is “renaissance man”, if not a glamorized way to describe someone who is constantly retraining for different jobs all their life

    A man with an education that transcends mere training, even the Magic STEM. Our erstwhile elites believe (falsely) that they, uniquely, have obtained such an education at the top of the greasy pole their parents climbed on their behalf.

    They couldn’t be more mistaken, which is why “learn to code” rankles – training would be a step up from the mess of maleducation pottage they received for selling out their people, their country, and their God.

    • Agree: Hockamaw
  162. @L Woods
    The massive disparity in prestige (and, commensurately I suppose, competence) between primary/secondary and tertiary education in the US has always been a bit mystifying to me.

    Suppose also makes an ass out of you and me. Just wait until all those full tuition paying Asians get to Oz and discover the truth!

    • Replies: @L Woods
    Say what you will about our monastic class, but they do have to be intelligent and very disciplined to make it to where they in today's academic job market (diversity and nepotism considerations notwithstanding). K-12 teachers not so much (and I believe the data supports that perception).
  163. @Anonymous
    Pre-med is a scam.

    Making med school a straight six year program but requiring applicants to have one or two years work experience in some allied health job or more in a non-health career requiring real thinking would be best.

    In his book
    https://www.amazon.com/Herman-German-Just-Lucky-Guess/dp/141847925X

    Gerhard "Herman the German" Neumann tells that the German engineering schools would admit foreign tudents, but they had a secret way of keeping the German engineers on top. Foreign students did not have the requirement that German applicants did: they had to be journeymen mechanics first before admission. I can tell you from experience that the best EEs are invariably guys that were navy ETs or hardcore, build it yourself ham radio hobbyists before going to school.

    Herman the German, aka Herman the Jew in his native Deutschland. Neumann was an interesting character who ended up running GE’s profitable jet engine division but the kind of Jew (this type was once common among German Jews and also the elite Jews in Hungary,Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc. – you’d think that their experience with Hitler would have knocked some sense into the ones that survived) who liked to pretend that he wasn’t Jewish (“my parents were Jewish”). Too bad that the Third Reich wasn’t willing to go along with his pretense. This is still going on today with the Sulzbergers – no matter how much they do that getting baptised and going to church and marrying fellow Christians stuff, they’re still Jews in some people’s book. The taint is in the blood.

    MIT and some of the other post-Civil War universities were consciously patterned after the German polytechnic universities. Germany was once considered a world leader in education and many other German educational innovations (“kindergarten”) were copied in the US. MIT to this day requires quite a bit of hands on work in its engineering program and in the past required even more. This is very distinct from the English divinity school model found at Harvard where thinking about great issues is more important than getting your hands dirty which is why Harvard is the #21 best engineering school and MIT is #1. However the Nazis ruined the German university system and it has never fully recovered.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Isn’t engineering still known as applied science there? Even that is a late edition and really not the done thing.

    they’re still Jews in some people’s book
     
    The one that matters is Pinch (woke not kippah). He’s never forgiven Punch for falling for the gross goy shiksa and subjecting him the the horrors of Episcopalianism.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    This brings to mind an excerpt from Simon Kuper's column about his time at Oxford.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/1142889673771143169?s=20
    , @Dave Pinsen
    This brings to mind an excerpt from Simon Kuper's column about his time at Oxford.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/1142889673771143169?s=20
  164. @BB753
    Since the elites form largely an endogamic group, what we should worry about is regression to the mean. Our elites are dumber than 50 years ago.

    If they were smarter things would be worse. One of the upsides of AA/legacy admits/system gamers is that they attenuate the damage they can do.

    Also slows down the brain/babe drain from the rest of the country.

    • Replies: @Jack D
    Right - compare the serious damage to the criminal justice system done by 1st generation striver Judge Bazelon to the ranting and raving of his granddaughter Emily. One man almost single handedly unleashed a crime wave - the other just kvetches ineffectually to the dwindling readership of the NY Times.
    , @BB753
    I shudder to think things could be worse. It seems nearly impossible.
  165. @Abolish_public_education

    shortages of teachers
     
    Demand juiced by 10+ yrs, @ 180d @
    6+ h worth of compulsory attendance, plus “free” tuition.

    Supply restricted by credentialing.

    The average, public school teacher is at least 3X overpaid.

    The name checks out.

  166. @Jack D
    Herman the German, aka Herman the Jew in his native Deutschland. Neumann was an interesting character who ended up running GE's profitable jet engine division but the kind of Jew (this type was once common among German Jews and also the elite Jews in Hungary,Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc. - you'd think that their experience with Hitler would have knocked some sense into the ones that survived) who liked to pretend that he wasn't Jewish ("my parents were Jewish"). Too bad that the Third Reich wasn't willing to go along with his pretense. This is still going on today with the Sulzbergers - no matter how much they do that getting baptised and going to church and marrying fellow Christians stuff, they're still Jews in some people's book. The taint is in the blood.

    MIT and some of the other post-Civil War universities were consciously patterned after the German polytechnic universities. Germany was once considered a world leader in education and many other German educational innovations ("kindergarten") were copied in the US. MIT to this day requires quite a bit of hands on work in its engineering program and in the past required even more. This is very distinct from the English divinity school model found at Harvard where thinking about great issues is more important than getting your hands dirty which is why Harvard is the #21 best engineering school and MIT is #1. However the Nazis ruined the German university system and it has never fully recovered.

    Isn’t engineering still known as applied science there? Even that is a late edition and really not the done thing.

    they’re still Jews in some people’s book

    The one that matters is Pinch (woke not kippah). He’s never forgiven Punch for falling for the gross goy shiksa and subjecting him the the horrors of Episcopalianism.

  167. @Beckow

    “prestigious university” is more like those scamming Italian restaurants which have a special menu for Japanese tourists, with all prices increased by 4 times
     
    That is partially true, it is the old scam of 'value based pricing' - charge each customer based on how much 'value' they put on the product.

    Third Worldization of the elites and the elite oversupply are primarily about something else: it is about the unstoppable desire of Third World elites and their relatives to escape the shit.holes they have created and got rich on, and move to the West while remaining an elite. The hysterical behaviour of the Third World migrating class to US-EU in the last few years is a sign that they are actually deadly afraid that the system could be curtailed. They simply don't want to stay back home, and if anyone makes an argument that 'borders exist for a reason' it drives them crazy.

    Their liberal assistants are mostly misguided fools. But many are also in the business of living of this migration - academia is the main entry point. It combines liberal idiocy, fake meritocracy, access to elite status, undeserved incomes, and a bizarre global social milieu.

    Migration of elites is not the main problem. No one in London is getting mugged by Russian oligarchs or Chinese grad students and by definition there are a limited # of elites. The real danger to the West are the numberless hordes of barbarians who would like to cross the frontier and live in civilization but in the end are going to do the opposite and drag the West into barbarity.

    The Romans used to bring the sons of barbarian kings in subject kingdoms to Rome, partly as hostages and partly to try to turn them into Romans. This is not what caused the downfall of the Empire. Once the empire fell, these semi-Romanized princes tried to at least preserve a semblance of Roman civilization as best they could given their barbarian subjects, which was better than nothing.

    We’ve seen this movie before and it’s going to turn out the same way. The real problem is not the barbarians themselves, who only want to better their lot, but corrupt and decadent elites who have lost civilizational confidence. With civilizational confidence you can do anything – conquer the world, go to the moon. But without it, game over.

    • Agree: Desiderius, Johann Ricke
    • Replies: @Beckow

    ...Migration of elites is not the main problem.
     
    Yes, but it is the gateway for the rest. Third World elites are not as elite as you think - mostly they are the endless loser relatives of someone close to power, or someone with a little bit of wealth. There are a lot of them, their families are large, there are literally tens of millions of them and they are over-represented among the migrants. In general, almost all want to leave their Third World sh..tholes. Unlike the poor people there, they actually have the minimum means to do it.

    The migrating hordes are full of them, they are ambitious, have no scruples, and use their tribal networks to game the system. You are missing the point of what is going on if you think that the migrants are poor and dispossessed. The media-political hysteria that we see now in the West is their desperate attempt with the help of their liberal allies to keep the migrating train going. They know people, they are in all institutions, they want the rest of the family gang to join them. If you only focus on the illiterate poor, you will not solve anything. It is the middle class migrating Third World elites that are truly changing the West.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    This sort of fostering was pretty common among nobles in medieval Europe, as I learned from Ed West's book about the history that inspired Game of Thrones.
  168. @Desiderius
    If they were smarter things would be worse. One of the upsides of AA/legacy admits/system gamers is that they attenuate the damage they can do.

    Also slows down the brain/babe drain from the rest of the country.

    Right – compare the serious damage to the criminal justice system done by 1st generation striver Judge Bazelon to the ranting and raving of his granddaughter Emily. One man almost single handedly unleashed a crime wave – the other just kvetches ineffectually to the dwindling readership of the NY Times.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    One can only hope.
  169. @Dmitry
    These sound like typical problems of e.g. 19th century German states.

    This oversupply of students, frustrated by lack of upward mobility, contributed to 1848 revolutions in cities like Vienna.

    But, on the positive side, this dynamic also contributed a lot to cultural flowering of 19th century, and character of romantic movements.

    But, on the positive side, this dynamic also contributed a lot to cultural flowering of 19th century, and character of romantic movements.

    I’m not sold on the “flowering” I am seeing, nor on the romanticism of Sanctuary cities and other such movements 😛

    Future generations will likely be very bad off to see this period as one of “flowering”.

    My assumption is that the period is mostly due to technology taking off in the presence of capitalism and relatively secure property rights in lower-clannishness societies. More economic surplus to go around, including for utopian projects or hard-headed political ones (bourgeois vs prescriptive elites). What amazes me about the period is how politically unstable it was, while still delivering high growth rates.

  170. @David Davenport
    Antipodean, graduate students in American STEM programs are paid as KL says a couple of posts below here:

    Ph.D. students in science do not pay tuition, and get stipends as lab workers or teaching assistants. Physical sciences like chemistry have many international students* who are willing to work for comparatively low wages. Even Americans are willing to sacrifice income for the glory of academia

    From what I see, more American grad students are lab workers, a.k.a. research assistants, than teaching assistants.... Sometimes serving as substitute teachers if Prof. Poindexter is away at a conference. Instead of student loans, the source of the money is the gooberment, via DoD, NASA, NOAA, or I don't who in the biology sector.

    An important point is that American private industry does very little pure and not that much applied research nowadays. Elon Musk's SpaceX is an exceptional case. Research is mostly done by universities. Granted, Boeing ( at least Boeing military and space ), Lockheed, Ratheon etc. develop new military technology, but those notional private businesses are really quasi-gooberment bureaus., not that different from the Russian/Soviet mode.

    Also, I am bemused at the notion that tenured or tenured track faculty at state U.'s are losers. No, I am not a faculty member anywhere. There's a lot of snobbery in the notion that only alumni of prestige U.'s are first-class academicians. A fellow gets his doctorate from, say, U. of Tennessee and end up at U. Oklahoma -- oh the horror.

    * a number of Chinese grad students in STEM are spies for China.

    I don’t who in the biology sector.

    In addition to the sources that you site, the National Science Foundation gives out some $, although I don’t know what it amounts to as a percentage:

    https://www.nsf.gov/funding/education.jsp?fund_type=2

    For a while, DoD money was considered sort of tainted so some universities were forced to spin off their defense related labs so that they wouldn’t have to endure campus sit-ins every week. MIT did this twice, first with Lincoln Lab after WWII (which they moved to an air base in the suburbs, far from Mass Ave and inconvenient for demonstrations) and then Draper Lab after Vietnam. However, once they abolished the draft the tensions between the DoD and university students largely dissipated.

  171. @Massimo Heitor

    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don’t. But most people don’t seem to care – maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.
     
    The job market changes.

    I remember the tech market crash in ~2002. Programmers were out of work, salaries plunged. Economists said all programmer jobs would get outsourced and wages would continue to plunge and stay low, and no companies would hire tech workers in US or Europe when they could hire much cheaper workers in cheaper countries. Tech was considered a bad career direction. The opposite happened.

    Another strategy is study what you like that should plausibly have a future. Because five years later, who knows how the market will change.


    I’d rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school.
     
    It really depends on the treatment. I personally did a very demanding pre-med program, I worked very hard at it. I remember studying like mad on organic chemistry and biochemistry. But that stuff is of low importance to me as a customer when I want a medical treatment.

    But that stuff is of low importance to me as a customer when I want a medical treatment.

    Not really. If you need a piano moved, you want a guy who lifts. Likewise mindwise for a doc.

  172. @Desiderius
    Suppose also makes an ass out of you and me. Just wait until all those full tuition paying Asians get to Oz and discover the truth!

    Say what you will about our monastic class, but they do have to be intelligent and very disciplined to make it to where they in today’s academic job market (diversity and nepotism considerations notwithstanding). K-12 teachers not so much (and I believe the data supports that perception).

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    You misspelled onanistic.
  173. @Massimo Heitor

    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don’t. But most people don’t seem to care – maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.
     
    The job market changes.

    I remember the tech market crash in ~2002. Programmers were out of work, salaries plunged. Economists said all programmer jobs would get outsourced and wages would continue to plunge and stay low, and no companies would hire tech workers in US or Europe when they could hire much cheaper workers in cheaper countries. Tech was considered a bad career direction. The opposite happened.

    Another strategy is study what you like that should plausibly have a future. Because five years later, who knows how the market will change.


    I’d rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school.
     
    It really depends on the treatment. I personally did a very demanding pre-med program, I worked very hard at it. I remember studying like mad on organic chemistry and biochemistry. But that stuff is of low importance to me as a customer when I want a medical treatment.

    Yeah, bootstrappers love to forget about the early 2000s tech bust. Doesn’t fit the “hurr durr, your underemployment is YOUR fault loser” narrative. With another tech bust probably impending, expect crickets from the usual suspects pontificating about the obvious superiority of “STEM” to “basket weaving.”

  174. @Art Deco
    As we speak, there are about 68,000 post-secondary English teachers. If they're working 70% time on average, that's 45,000 ft positions, which could be staffed with 2,000 degree awards each year.

    I love your posts, Art, because you use obscure phrases that leave me guessing as to what you mean.

    “Post-secondary”?

    Does that mean after high school, not including community college, or even special classes taught in the evening? Who knows?

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Post-secondary is not some arcane, weaselly term. It is very common, and it means just what it suggests: education beyond secondary education: undergraduate and graduate studies; collegiate education.

    Primary education is elementary and middle school (we used to call this grammar school.

    Secondary education is high school.

    Tertiary, or post-secondary, education is college-level stuff.

    I don't know if you were being facetious (I'm not) or truly are confused. I offer this comment to clarify things.
  175. @dr kill
    I agree completely with your diagnosis. One of my colleagues enjoyed telling clients that - The Symptomology is Ubiquitous. But you didn't follow through with the cure. Self-employment.

    I am ashamed to say I long since have been told the cure and agreed with its soundness, but I have always lacked the capital* and courage necessary to begin treatment. From time to time I contemplate escapes, but the possibilities for success and the probabilities for failure diminish with the obligations and limitations of responsibility and age. At this point I am like Yul Brenner, as an emphysemic shadow of himself, only able to admonish the young to learn from his folly.

    *This bit is actually part of the invidious approach of exhorting intelligent, impoverished young men to accumulate hokey, expensive credentials, to keep them beholden to debts at least until they have families, failing health, or both (often long afterward), thus ensuring they never experience a period of life when they are free to take the necessary risks to establish themselves independently….

  176. @Anonymous

    Possibly it could be more psychologically unpleasant for some people, than jobs like being a coal miner, or working in a Chinese factory, or cleaning toilets in a factory in China.
     
    Maybe it's just me, but from what I see standing in lines, many people treat customer service-type employees far worse today than they did ten or fifteen years ago. Or maybe the worst 10% of the population has gotten a lot more vicious in that time and the rest of the population has shifted slightly.

    And it's not entitled millennials who are behind this. It's baby boomers and the older Gen-X cohort(i.e. the people who really ought to know better) who seem to be behind this.

    I wouldn't want to be a fifteen year old girl starting her first McJob in 2019.

    I wouldn’t want to be a fifteen year old girl starting her first McJob in 2019.

    It would be a McTrabajo and she would be a forty-year-old, morbidly obese mestiza named Consuela unable to speak English, so have no no worries about that fear manifesting itself on any American youth.

    • Replies: @dr kill
    I think you might be correct about the flippers, but the shift managers always impress me. They are motivated . I guess they all want their own store.
  177. @George Taylor
    File under un-woke Jewess accidentally throws herself off the bus or the Jew card just ain't what it used to be.

    Denver realtors delete hip-hop parody called 'an ad for gentrification'
    As Denver navigates gentrification, real estate agents made a music video boasting about all the property they've sold.

    In defending herself Mor Zucker said

    “What’s it that’s causing people so much anger?” Zucker said. “We didn’t make fun of any minority.”

    “The only thing I can think is that it’s a rap video and we’re white,” Zucker said. “But shouldn’t we be able to?

    Zucker said Team Denver Homes doesn’t have any people of color on its staff but she noted that she has friends who are.

    “Basically, I’m a minority,” Zucker added. “I’m a Jewish person.”
     
    https://www.9news.com/article/news/denver-realtors-delete-hip-hop-parody-called-an-ad-for-gentrification/73-f6557714-8be3-4eb6-b6d9-caf1be3c3684

    Image of Mor
    https://media.denverrealestate.com/pics/realtor/425269/896103.jpg


    FYI in the latest news, she has been fired.....

    So, can she use her Stanford Econ Ph.D to go into academia? Or maybe be the new Lauren Southern for the Proud Boys?

  178. @Autochthon
    Calm down, Baby Boomer Jimi; we will get you another phone with big buttons and a faster Rascal.

    Yes, watching the boomers rush to defend fair crony capitalism’s honor is always amusing.

  179. @L Woods
    Say what you will about our monastic class, but they do have to be intelligent and very disciplined to make it to where they in today's academic job market (diversity and nepotism considerations notwithstanding). K-12 teachers not so much (and I believe the data supports that perception).

    You misspelled onanistic.

  180. @Jack D
    Right - compare the serious damage to the criminal justice system done by 1st generation striver Judge Bazelon to the ranting and raving of his granddaughter Emily. One man almost single handedly unleashed a crime wave - the other just kvetches ineffectually to the dwindling readership of the NY Times.

    One can only hope.

  181. @Jack D

    I would actually go further and say that the output of Stanford graduate programs are generally very low quality.
     
    Compared to what?

    The idea that you need to be exceptionally smart to get into Stanford is nothing more than marketing.
     
    The 75th percentile SAT score at Stanford is 1580, among the highest of any university in the US.


    All of modern academia has a sham element to it, but Stanford is no worse than the other top 10 universities in this regard. You sound like "sour grapes" to me.

    Either sour grapes or actually knowing what I’m talking about. There is a reason engineering grads from Stanford are not recruited.

    What on earth does SAT have to do with post graduate education?!

  182. @Oddsbodkins
    You're joking, right?

    I know Stanford PHD’s in econ that cannot do very basic math in their head. I know multiple Stanford people with Masters in Engineering that don’t get the concept of the median. I believe the technical term for people with this level of intelligence is “dumb as [email protected]#k”.

  183. @Autochthon

    Paradoxically, it’s probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions’ cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.
     
    Can confirm.

    Teaching graduate courses in law at ABA-accredited schools attached to Research One universities does not qualify one to teach social studies / civics / government / political science to twelve-year-olds.

    Any harping about shortages of teachers is as phony as the harping about shortages of programmers and just as driven by nefarious efforts at exploiting everyone involved.

    Becoming a licensed veterinary technician requires at least two years' school, followed by a supervised period of apprenticeship one must also pay for. Upon completion, salaries start at $8.00 hourly. Shockingly, turnover is astronomical.

    There is a wide swath of jobs requiring laughably arcane qualifications and paying less than a Guatelombian can earn digging ditches if one of the more generous scofflaws picks him up from the Home Depot's parking lot that day.

    Many problems today are variations of Doug Stanhope's seminal lament: "You need a license to cut hair in this country."

    The teachers in my family advised me to take the time off to get the Ed Cert that the good (?) schools require. Didn’t help. Grown men need not apply. Particularly non-diverse ones.*

    Maybe the tighter labor market has changed things, but I doubt it. I was told there were over one thousand applicants for one of the (high school math) teaching jobs for which I applied (circa 2012ish).

    * – for the longest time I thought claims like this were just sour grapes, then I saw it first hand. Not just my case either, but across the board. Biggest beneficiaries = legions of Beckys.

    • Agree: Prodigal son
  184. @Desiderius
    If they were smarter things would be worse. One of the upsides of AA/legacy admits/system gamers is that they attenuate the damage they can do.

    Also slows down the brain/babe drain from the rest of the country.

    I shudder to think things could be worse. It seems nearly impossible.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Dear Colleague Hillary Clinton’s boot on your face forever?

    Things seem to be going swimmingly.
  185. @Larry, San Francisco
    As the number 6th student when I graduated from Stanford Econ Dept many years ago (before PT was at Stanford!), I have to agree that as much as I respect Peter Thiel what he said is untrue. As one of the less successful people in my class I am still earning middle 6 figures and although I am out of academics I still publish the occasional paper in Econ Journals (just for ego, doesn't impact my actual career). Grad Students from my year who weren't in the top 4 became deans, college presidents, professors at first tier B-Schools and G-Schools (although few are in top ranked pure Econ departments), Wall Street moguls (a friend I helped with his dissertations owns many Ming vases), top consulting firms, high government posts etc. Don't cry for us.
    My late wife who was in the English department and got drummed out for not being post-modern enough, ended up as the head of doc for a large (although now defunct) tech firm. I used run into her old classmates occasionally and they were also reasonably successful too (although none were teaching).
    Second tier universities though have a different story. If you are not a foreigner going back, you should not go a non-top 20 grad school.

    “My late wife who was in the English department and got drummed out for not being post-modern enough[.]”

    Could you further elaborate on the department politics of post-modernism? How this became such a hot topic on campus.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    (1) Modernism sucked

    Feel free to go from there.
  186. @BB753
    A high IQ individual develops immunity to groupthink over the years. If you're repeating the party line past the age of thirty you're either scared or dumb.

    No shortage of either I’m sure.

  187. @stillCARealist
    I love your posts, Art, because you use obscure phrases that leave me guessing as to what you mean.

    "Post-secondary"?

    Does that mean after high school, not including community college, or even special classes taught in the evening? Who knows?

    Post-secondary is not some arcane, weaselly term. It is very common, and it means just what it suggests: education beyond secondary education: undergraduate and graduate studies; collegiate education.

    Primary education is elementary and middle school (we used to call this grammar school.

    Secondary education is high school.

    Tertiary, or post-secondary, education is college-level stuff.

    I don’t know if you were being facetious (I’m not) or truly are confused. I offer this comment to clarify things.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Most have heard it, but most also get it confused with post-grad unless you’re in the Ed biz.
    , @stillCARealist
    Thanks, I'll go with your definition. It wasn't clear from a quick internet search if community colleges would be included in that. I guess that means community college (where millions of Americans teach and learn) is post-secondary. I hope Art put that into his stats correctly.
  188. @Kronos
    “My late wife who was in the English department and got drummed out for not being post-modern enough[.]”

    Could you further elaborate on the department politics of post-modernism? How this became such a hot topic on campus.

    (1) Modernism sucked

    Feel free to go from there.

    • Replies: @Kronos
    Perhaps, but the devil (and the truth) are in the details. Why do Stalinists feel it necessary to attack Trotskyites? Both are communists. Maybe it’s because there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians? The fact that they let someone go because they weren’t post modernist enough is interesting.
  189. @Autochthon
    Post-secondary is not some arcane, weaselly term. It is very common, and it means just what it suggests: education beyond secondary education: undergraduate and graduate studies; collegiate education.

    Primary education is elementary and middle school (we used to call this grammar school.

    Secondary education is high school.

    Tertiary, or post-secondary, education is college-level stuff.

    I don't know if you were being facetious (I'm not) or truly are confused. I offer this comment to clarify things.

    Most have heard it, but most also get it confused with post-grad unless you’re in the Ed biz.

  190. @BB753
    I shudder to think things could be worse. It seems nearly impossible.

    Dear Colleague Hillary Clinton’s boot on your face forever?

    Things seem to be going swimmingly.

    • LOL: BB753
  191. @Desiderius
    (1) Modernism sucked

    Feel free to go from there.

    Perhaps, but the devil (and the truth) are in the details. Why do Stalinists feel it necessary to attack Trotskyites? Both are communists. Maybe it’s because there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians? The fact that they let someone go because they weren’t post modernist enough is interesting.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Most postmodernism is regression to the premodern (often of the most primitive kind - what principle is there to stop it when the idea of principles themselves are invalid?) that is too ashamed to admit it.

    Modernism itself devolved into that itself as you note with the Stalin example. Garden variety postmodernism just wallows in it, as is likely the case with his wife. Mean girls expelling someone from the clique. Because they can.

    The best of postmodernism is an attempt to recover the best of the wheels that Modernism was bound and determined to reinvent from scratch, with predictable results.

  192. @J.Ross
    Managing a McDonald's was the fastest and simplest way to become a millionaire until the Chinese found their own way, and it still works.

    The total initial McDonald’s franchise amount is from $1,008,000 to $2,214,080.

    I reckon you mean owning one, not managing one. It’s the difference between being Paris Hilton and the schmuck doing the night audit at your local Hilton.

    And as you can see, the important point here is that being a millionaire is the threshold requirement for owning one, not the reward afterward (although I’m sure they are very profitable).

    People who tout the reward of rugged individualism whilst disregarding minor details like capital requirements, regulatory capture, and such are Boomerific. Horatio Alger wrote fiction, not biographies….

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    They have recently ramped up the cost, it used to be much lower, and you can use equity from your house. It's still possible to drudge and grind your way to millionaire status (this is what nearly every Indian family is doing here as a unit) but a lot of people will become more content with their lot when they see what it would entail.
    , @obwandiyag
    You are wrong and clueless and clumsy as usual, because of your whilsty-whilsty Englishness, and J.Ross affirms it cogently and elegantly.
  193. @Kronos
    Perhaps, but the devil (and the truth) are in the details. Why do Stalinists feel it necessary to attack Trotskyites? Both are communists. Maybe it’s because there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians? The fact that they let someone go because they weren’t post modernist enough is interesting.

    Most postmodernism is regression to the premodern (often of the most primitive kind – what principle is there to stop it when the idea of principles themselves are invalid?) that is too ashamed to admit it.

    Modernism itself devolved into that itself as you note with the Stalin example. Garden variety postmodernism just wallows in it, as is likely the case with his wife. Mean girls expelling someone from the clique. Because they can.

    The best of postmodernism is an attempt to recover the best of the wheels that Modernism was bound and determined to reinvent from scratch, with predictable results.

  194. @Autochthon

    I wouldn’t want to be a fifteen year old girl starting her first McJob in 2019.
     
    It would be a McTrabajo and she would be a forty-year-old, morbidly obese mestiza named Consuela unable to speak English, so have no no worries about that fear manifesting itself on any American youth.

    I think you might be correct about the flippers, but the shift managers always impress me. They are motivated . I guess they all want their own store.

  195. A big degree will help with your first job, but that’s all. A big degree almost always means the independent thought has been beaten out of your head by 20 years of socialist rule following.

  196. @Autochthon
    Post-secondary is not some arcane, weaselly term. It is very common, and it means just what it suggests: education beyond secondary education: undergraduate and graduate studies; collegiate education.

    Primary education is elementary and middle school (we used to call this grammar school.

    Secondary education is high school.

    Tertiary, or post-secondary, education is college-level stuff.

    I don't know if you were being facetious (I'm not) or truly are confused. I offer this comment to clarify things.

    Thanks, I’ll go with your definition. It wasn’t clear from a quick internet search if community colleges would be included in that. I guess that means community college (where millions of Americans teach and learn) is post-secondary. I hope Art put that into his stats correctly.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    'post-secondary' is the term used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It includes community college teachers.
  197. @stillCARealist
    Thanks, I'll go with your definition. It wasn't clear from a quick internet search if community colleges would be included in that. I guess that means community college (where millions of Americans teach and learn) is post-secondary. I hope Art put that into his stats correctly.

    ‘post-secondary’ is the term used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It includes community college teachers.

  198. Anon[412] • Disclaimer says:
    @BB753
    Since the elites form largely an endogamic group, what we should worry about is regression to the mean. Our elites are dumber than 50 years ago.

    Since the elites form largely an endogamic group, what we should worry about is regression to the mean. Our elites are dumber than 50 years ago.

    In Gregory Clarke’s The Son Also Rises pattern, children of the elite who were are smart or smarter than their parents took over the factory or whatever, and the lesser sprogs filtered down to displace lesser middle class.

    But today two things differ: The elite are having fewer, sometimes no, children, later in life. And their elite jobs are less heretitary, so pops cannot slot in his smartest son to his gig at a think tank or university or the New York Times or a publicly trade corporation or even a startup. There is some diluted nepotism, of course, but less direct and guaranteed.

  199. @Autochthon

    Paradoxically, it’s probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions’ cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.
     
    Can confirm.

    Teaching graduate courses in law at ABA-accredited schools attached to Research One universities does not qualify one to teach social studies / civics / government / political science to twelve-year-olds.

    Any harping about shortages of teachers is as phony as the harping about shortages of programmers and just as driven by nefarious efforts at exploiting everyone involved.

    Becoming a licensed veterinary technician requires at least two years' school, followed by a supervised period of apprenticeship one must also pay for. Upon completion, salaries start at $8.00 hourly. Shockingly, turnover is astronomical.

    There is a wide swath of jobs requiring laughably arcane qualifications and paying less than a Guatelombian can earn digging ditches if one of the more generous scofflaws picks him up from the Home Depot's parking lot that day.

    Many problems today are variations of Doug Stanhope's seminal lament: "You need a license to cut hair in this country."

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has it that the wage scale for LVTs is such that someone earning $11.30 an hour is at the 10th percentile. That’s not including benefits.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    I don't take your point.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has its place, but it also reckons people unable to find work for more than a few months are no longer unemployed. In any event, the data you cite do not contradict my statement. (You do realise the data you cite mean that ten per cent of those employed in this field earn less than $11.29 per hour, right? (I'm correcting the figure for you, since you gave everyone a raise of one penny per hour on a whim – it's insignificant, but it is a reminder it is never a good idea to simultaneously cite your sources then inaccurately transcribe their content. Though I'll concede you may have gotten hold of some more recent report than what I was bothered to track down from their conventional online charts.) That ten per cent of these people? The ten per cent who earn less than $11.29 hourly? Some of them – primarily those taking on their first job – earn $8.00 per hour. (I've spoken to them personally; they aren't lying about it to impress me.)

    "Not including benefits?" Seriously?


    "Well, I was going to have to turn down your offer of $8.00 per hour in salary because of my expensive habits, like sleeping indoors and eating, but now that I see I'd also get two weeks' vacation annually, a dental plan, access to a health maintenance organisation with astronomical deductibles, and this handsome tote bag, I am in!" – No Prospective Employee Ever
     
    There is no way you are not a Baby Boomer.
  200. @Jack D
    Migration of elites is not the main problem. No one in London is getting mugged by Russian oligarchs or Chinese grad students and by definition there are a limited # of elites. The real danger to the West are the numberless hordes of barbarians who would like to cross the frontier and live in civilization but in the end are going to do the opposite and drag the West into barbarity.

    The Romans used to bring the sons of barbarian kings in subject kingdoms to Rome, partly as hostages and partly to try to turn them into Romans. This is not what caused the downfall of the Empire. Once the empire fell, these semi-Romanized princes tried to at least preserve a semblance of Roman civilization as best they could given their barbarian subjects, which was better than nothing.

    We've seen this movie before and it's going to turn out the same way. The real problem is not the barbarians themselves, who only want to better their lot, but corrupt and decadent elites who have lost civilizational confidence. With civilizational confidence you can do anything - conquer the world, go to the moon. But without it, game over.

    …Migration of elites is not the main problem.

    Yes, but it is the gateway for the rest. Third World elites are not as elite as you think – mostly they are the endless loser relatives of someone close to power, or someone with a little bit of wealth. There are a lot of them, their families are large, there are literally tens of millions of them and they are over-represented among the migrants. In general, almost all want to leave their Third World sh..tholes. Unlike the poor people there, they actually have the minimum means to do it.

    The migrating hordes are full of them, they are ambitious, have no scruples, and use their tribal networks to game the system. You are missing the point of what is going on if you think that the migrants are poor and dispossessed. The media-political hysteria that we see now in the West is their desperate attempt with the help of their liberal allies to keep the migrating train going. They know people, they are in all institutions, they want the rest of the family gang to join them. If you only focus on the illiterate poor, you will not solve anything. It is the middle class migrating Third World elites that are truly changing the West.

  201. @Autochthon
    The total initial McDonald’s franchise amount is from $1,008,000 to $2,214,080.

    I reckon you mean owning one, not managing one. It's the difference between being Paris Hilton and the schmuck doing the night audit at your local Hilton.

    And as you can see, the important point here is that being a millionaire is the threshold requirement for owning one, not the reward afterward (although I'm sure they are very profitable).

    People who tout the reward of rugged individualism whilst disregarding minor details like capital requirements, regulatory capture, and such are Boomerific. Horatio Alger wrote fiction, not biographies....

    They have recently ramped up the cost, it used to be much lower, and you can use equity from your house. It’s still possible to drudge and grind your way to millionaire status (this is what nearly every Indian family is doing here as a unit) but a lot of people will become more content with their lot when they see what it would entail.

  202. @JackOH
    Question: Is there a name for or precedent for countries (or nation-states, or peoples) in which the relative and absolute numbers of academically credentialed persons increases, while its economic standing and its standing by other measures decreases?

    I'm thinking of the U. S., of course. I think some folks above have mentioned Europe and China in various historical periods.

    Comparisons to Swift, Leaping Mao, and the early Soviets come to mind, but I don’t recall a name. There are almost certainly several, but they threaten the class of people who are in charge of keeping big words circulating.
    Kakistocracy is rule by the least fit.

    • Replies: @JackOH
    J. Ross, thanks.

    I was sort of thinking half-assedly of the 18th century American and French examples, in which some of the intellectual elites diverted their energies to revolution, instead of arguing law, making trade deals and what-not. I'm not sure the 1848 European uprisings had a significant intellectual leadership.

    What do you do when you have a far larger percentage of the public who are academically credentialed, but whose prospects look pretty grim? Are they constituents ripe for "revolution" by the ballot box? Or, as I've seen it, are they more likely to believe their academic credential will pay off somehow? (Thought experiment: Would the American and French revolutions been more or less likely had the population been better educated, but living in the same economic circumstances?)

  203. @BB753
    A high IQ individual develops immunity to groupthink over the years. If you're repeating the party line past the age of thirty you're either scared or dumb.

    You omitted the word “can.” Newton, South Sea bubble, and all that.

  204. @Alec Leamas (hard at work)

    Thiel is being very snooty. A “good position” in his mind is a tenure track job at Stanford or another top 50 university. If you limit “good position” to that then his statement is true, but that’s much too narrow a filter. There are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the US, including over 2,500 four year colleges. Once you get beyond say the top 100, any one of them would be glad to have a Stanford PhD. on its faculty, even one from the bottom of the class. This is not to mention various government agencies, think tanks, Wall Street firms, etc. who employ economists.
     
    This may be true as far as Stanford goes, but as you write there are over 4,000 degree granting institutions in the U.S., many of which have graduate programs in this or that and as a consequence there is a surfeit of academic clockwatchers with enormous non-dischargeable debt and no real career prospects in a field which would enable them to service their debts.

    Many are probably smarter than the average bear, but not smart or talented enough (or politically savvy enough) to achieve success by attaining a stable position in the academy in their fields of study.

    Paradoxically, it's probably even difficult for them to get hired to teach in public high schools without a degree in education given the Teachers Unions' cartel-like control teacher credentialing and concern that credentialed subject-area experts could put competitive pressure on their members.

    We could have all the teachers we need if that’s what we wanted. It really is the requirements, which are pure cartelism, and meaningless anyway — increasingly the tendency is to assemble an all-important manual and require that the teacher never deviate from it (you will be chewed out even if your deviation helped the kid). I had good humanities and biology preparation, with weak math, and a handful of other things like econ and introductory business law. I asked about becoming a teacher using my existing credits. I was told they were worthless and that I should start all over, expecting to take as much time as would be neccesary to saw bones or pull teeth. I did not say out loud, “that can’t possibly be right.” None of the theoretical classes and workshops had anything to do with controlling a classroom or accurately representing source material. In the past, counting non-ed-school credits toward a teaching certificate enabled perfectly qualified people to become good teachers (it also meant teachers were more well-rounded). Now the feeling is that this practice was sloppy and dangerous. Problems with individual teachers have frequently been chalked up to this “failure to professionalize.” And then there’s the political and diversity mess.

  205. @JackOH
    Question: Is there a name for or precedent for countries (or nation-states, or peoples) in which the relative and absolute numbers of academically credentialed persons increases, while its economic standing and its standing by other measures decreases?

    I'm thinking of the U. S., of course. I think some folks above have mentioned Europe and China in various historical periods.

    You’ve simply described one example of an economic law – that of supply and demand. If the relative and absolute numbers of anything – chickens, Corvettes, candybars, gold coins, handsome men… – increase, their “economic standing” and “standing by other measures” (i.e., their value, or utility, if you like) decreases.

    The fancy term in question is “elementary maths” and the precedent you seek is “at all times and everywhere.”

  206. @Massimo Heitor

    Anyone who really wants to can find out which universities and programs have a positive rate of return and which ones don’t. But most people don’t seem to care – maximizing their lifetime earnings is apparently not their only priority or there would be zero English Lit. majors.
     
    The job market changes.

    I remember the tech market crash in ~2002. Programmers were out of work, salaries plunged. Economists said all programmer jobs would get outsourced and wages would continue to plunge and stay low, and no companies would hire tech workers in US or Europe when they could hire much cheaper workers in cheaper countries. Tech was considered a bad career direction. The opposite happened.

    Another strategy is study what you like that should plausibly have a future. Because five years later, who knows how the market will change.


    I’d rather be treated by a doctor who did 4 years of pre-med and then 4 years of med school than by a guy who went straight to med school from high school.
     
    It really depends on the treatment. I personally did a very demanding pre-med program, I worked very hard at it. I remember studying like mad on organic chemistry and biochemistry. But that stuff is of low importance to me as a customer when I want a medical treatment.

    I remember the tech[nology] market crash in ~2002. Programmers were out of work, salaries plunged. Economists said all programmer jobs would get outsourced and wages would continue to plunge and stay low, and no companies would hire tech[nology] workers in [America] or Europe when they could hire much cheaper workers in cheaper countries[, or import them en masse with the blessings of traitorous legislators and presidents]. Tech[nology] was considered a bad career direction. The opposite happened. It still is, because those economists were right.

    I’ve taken the liberty of correcting your typographical error so that it does not harm some naïve, young man considering a career as a programmer. (How is life in rural Alaska, anyway?)

  207. @Art Deco
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has it that the wage scale for LVTs is such that someone earning $11.30 an hour is at the 10th percentile. That's not including benefits.

    I don’t take your point.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has its place, but it also reckons people unable to find work for more than a few months are no longer unemployed. In any event, the data you cite do not contradict my statement. (You do realise the data you cite mean that ten per cent of those employed in this field earn less than $11.29 per hour, right? (I’m correcting the figure for you, since you gave everyone a raise of one penny per hour on a whim – it’s insignificant, but it is a reminder it is never a good idea to simultaneously cite your sources then inaccurately transcribe their content. Though I’ll concede you may have gotten hold of some more recent report than what I was bothered to track down from their conventional online charts.) That ten per cent of these people? The ten per cent who earn less than $11.29 hourly? Some of them – primarily those taking on their first job – earn $8.00 per hour. (I’ve spoken to them personally; they aren’t lying about it to impress me.)

    “Not including benefits?” Seriously?

    “Well, I was going to have to turn down your offer of $8.00 per hour in salary because of my expensive habits, like sleeping indoors and eating, but now that I see I’d also get two weeks’ vacation annually, a dental plan, access to a health maintenance organisation with astronomical deductibles, and this handsome tote bag, I am in!” – No Prospective Employee Ever

    There is no way you are not a Baby Boomer.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has its place, but it also reckons people unable to find work for more than a few months are no longer unemployed. I

    It doesn't. It records such people as 'discouraged workers' and their number is generally quite small.


    “Not including benefits?” Seriously?

    The figure $11.29 an hour is cash compensation. About 20% of employee compensation is in the form of fringes on average. That share is usually higher for people in wage-earning strata. However, when you reach the lowest ratchet, fringes tend to disappear. For private sector employees, about 70% have access to company medical benefits. Others are married to someone with benefits.



    Some of them – primarily those taking on their first job – earn $8.00 per hour. (I’ve spoken to them personally; they aren’t lying about it to impress me.)

    If you need it spelled out to you, I'm pointing out that their situation is atypical among veterinary technicians. This isn't that difficult.



    There is no way you are not a Baby Boomer.

    Perfectly irrelevant. No clue why you're talking as if you fancy 22 year old youths were commonly paid handsome wages 40-odd years ago.
  208. @Jack D
    Migration of elites is not the main problem. No one in London is getting mugged by Russian oligarchs or Chinese grad students and by definition there are a limited # of elites. The real danger to the West are the numberless hordes of barbarians who would like to cross the frontier and live in civilization but in the end are going to do the opposite and drag the West into barbarity.

    The Romans used to bring the sons of barbarian kings in subject kingdoms to Rome, partly as hostages and partly to try to turn them into Romans. This is not what caused the downfall of the Empire. Once the empire fell, these semi-Romanized princes tried to at least preserve a semblance of Roman civilization as best they could given their barbarian subjects, which was better than nothing.

    We've seen this movie before and it's going to turn out the same way. The real problem is not the barbarians themselves, who only want to better their lot, but corrupt and decadent elites who have lost civilizational confidence. With civilizational confidence you can do anything - conquer the world, go to the moon. But without it, game over.

    This sort of fostering was pretty common among nobles in medieval Europe, as I learned from Ed West’s book about the history that inspired Game of Thrones.

  209. @Jack D
    Herman the German, aka Herman the Jew in his native Deutschland. Neumann was an interesting character who ended up running GE's profitable jet engine division but the kind of Jew (this type was once common among German Jews and also the elite Jews in Hungary,Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc. - you'd think that their experience with Hitler would have knocked some sense into the ones that survived) who liked to pretend that he wasn't Jewish ("my parents were Jewish"). Too bad that the Third Reich wasn't willing to go along with his pretense. This is still going on today with the Sulzbergers - no matter how much they do that getting baptised and going to church and marrying fellow Christians stuff, they're still Jews in some people's book. The taint is in the blood.

    MIT and some of the other post-Civil War universities were consciously patterned after the German polytechnic universities. Germany was once considered a world leader in education and many other German educational innovations ("kindergarten") were copied in the US. MIT to this day requires quite a bit of hands on work in its engineering program and in the past required even more. This is very distinct from the English divinity school model found at Harvard where thinking about great issues is more important than getting your hands dirty which is why Harvard is the #21 best engineering school and MIT is #1. However the Nazis ruined the German university system and it has never fully recovered.

    This brings to mind an excerpt from Simon Kuper’s column about his time at Oxford.

  210. @Jack D
    Herman the German, aka Herman the Jew in his native Deutschland. Neumann was an interesting character who ended up running GE's profitable jet engine division but the kind of Jew (this type was once common among German Jews and also the elite Jews in Hungary,Austria, Czechoslovakia, etc. - you'd think that their experience with Hitler would have knocked some sense into the ones that survived) who liked to pretend that he wasn't Jewish ("my parents were Jewish"). Too bad that the Third Reich wasn't willing to go along with his pretense. This is still going on today with the Sulzbergers - no matter how much they do that getting baptised and going to church and marrying fellow Christians stuff, they're still Jews in some people's book. The taint is in the blood.

    MIT and some of the other post-Civil War universities were consciously patterned after the German polytechnic universities. Germany was once considered a world leader in education and many other German educational innovations ("kindergarten") were copied in the US. MIT to this day requires quite a bit of hands on work in its engineering program and in the past required even more. This is very distinct from the English divinity school model found at Harvard where thinking about great issues is more important than getting your hands dirty which is why Harvard is the #21 best engineering school and MIT is #1. However the Nazis ruined the German university system and it has never fully recovered.

    This brings to mind an excerpt from Simon Kuper’s column about his time at Oxford.

  211. @obwandiyag
    In my father's day, you had to have a law degree to qualify as an insurance adjustor.

    Can you cite anything supporting this claim? I ask because I reckon either your old man was taking the piss, or you are now.

    Only some thirty-five percent of adjustors even have undergraduate degrees; I can attest, from personal experience, many are lucky to be able to tie their own shoes.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    A. "Taking the piss" is idiot talk.
    B. You can't read. I said in my father's day. Not now you imbecile.

    The English are really the stupidest of all.
  212. @J.Ross
    Comparisons to Swift, Leaping Mao, and the early Soviets come to mind, but I don't recall a name. There are almost certainly several, but they threaten the class of people who are in charge of keeping big words circulating.
    Kakistocracy is rule by the least fit.

    J. Ross, thanks.

    I was sort of thinking half-assedly of the 18th century American and French examples, in which some of the intellectual elites diverted their energies to revolution, instead of arguing law, making trade deals and what-not. I’m not sure the 1848 European uprisings had a significant intellectual leadership.

    What do you do when you have a far larger percentage of the public who are academically credentialed, but whose prospects look pretty grim? Are they constituents ripe for “revolution” by the ballot box? Or, as I’ve seen it, are they more likely to believe their academic credential will pay off somehow? (Thought experiment: Would the American and French revolutions been more or less likely had the population been better educated, but living in the same economic circumstances?)

  213. @Autochthon
    Can you cite anything supporting this claim? I ask because I reckon either your old man was taking the piss, or you are now.

    Only some thirty-five percent of adjustors even have undergraduate degrees; I can attest, from personal experience, many are lucky to be able to tie their own shoes.

    A. “Taking the piss” is idiot talk.
    B. You can’t read. I said in my father’s day. Not now you imbecile.

    The English are really the stupidest of all.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Thanks for repeating yourself, Captain Civility, but I am literate. My skepticism comes of its being very uncommon for any particular work to go from being so regulated as to require an advanced degree to having the vast majority of those doing that work not even having an undergraduate degree, all in only one generation.

    Since you decided to make inane insults instead of answering a perfectly civil and reasonable question, I investigated the matter myself.

    It seems that while it was once common for adjustors to be lawyers, I find no evidence this was ever required (unless your father meant it was required by the insurance companies in the same way an employer selling cheeseburgers might require its employees to have advanced degrees in culinary arts).

    In 1939(!) – your father must be long deceased and you yourself must be a relic – the American Bar Association formally addressed the topic, concluding that being an insurance adjustor, in and of itself, was not tantamount to the practice of law, and formally approves the the employment of laymen for the work.

    Have a blessed day.
  214. @Autochthon
    I don't take your point.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has its place, but it also reckons people unable to find work for more than a few months are no longer unemployed. In any event, the data you cite do not contradict my statement. (You do realise the data you cite mean that ten per cent of those employed in this field earn less than $11.29 per hour, right? (I'm correcting the figure for you, since you gave everyone a raise of one penny per hour on a whim – it's insignificant, but it is a reminder it is never a good idea to simultaneously cite your sources then inaccurately transcribe their content. Though I'll concede you may have gotten hold of some more recent report than what I was bothered to track down from their conventional online charts.) That ten per cent of these people? The ten per cent who earn less than $11.29 hourly? Some of them – primarily those taking on their first job – earn $8.00 per hour. (I've spoken to them personally; they aren't lying about it to impress me.)

    "Not including benefits?" Seriously?


    "Well, I was going to have to turn down your offer of $8.00 per hour in salary because of my expensive habits, like sleeping indoors and eating, but now that I see I'd also get two weeks' vacation annually, a dental plan, access to a health maintenance organisation with astronomical deductibles, and this handsome tote bag, I am in!" – No Prospective Employee Ever
     
    There is no way you are not a Baby Boomer.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has its place, but it also reckons people unable to find work for more than a few months are no longer unemployed. I

    It doesn’t. It records such people as ‘discouraged workers’ and their number is generally quite small.

    “Not including benefits?” Seriously?

    The figure $11.29 an hour is cash compensation. About 20% of employee compensation is in the form of fringes on average. That share is usually higher for people in wage-earning strata. However, when you reach the lowest ratchet, fringes tend to disappear. For private sector employees, about 70% have access to company medical benefits. Others are married to someone with benefits.

    Some of them – primarily those taking on their first job – earn $8.00 per hour. (I’ve spoken to them personally; they aren’t lying about it to impress me.)

    If you need it spelled out to you, I’m pointing out that their situation is atypical among veterinary technicians. This isn’t that difficult.

    There is no way you are not a Baby Boomer.

    Perfectly irrelevant. No clue why you’re talking as if you fancy 22 year old youths were commonly paid handsome wages 40-odd years ago.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    This reply is so unresponsive to my points (indeed, it seems to be mostly refuting imagined arguments wholly unrelated to my points), that I'll just let it lie.
  215. @obwandiyag
    A. "Taking the piss" is idiot talk.
    B. You can't read. I said in my father's day. Not now you imbecile.

    The English are really the stupidest of all.

    Thanks for repeating yourself, Captain Civility, but I am literate. My skepticism comes of its being very uncommon for any particular work to go from being so regulated as to require an advanced degree to having the vast majority of those doing that work not even having an undergraduate degree, all in only one generation.

    Since you decided to make inane insults instead of answering a perfectly civil and reasonable question, I investigated the matter myself.

    It seems that while it was once common for adjustors to be lawyers, I find no evidence this was ever required (unless your father meant it was required by the insurance companies in the same way an employer selling cheeseburgers might require its employees to have advanced degrees in culinary arts).

    In 1939(!) – your father must be long deceased and you yourself must be a relic – the American Bar Association formally addressed the topic, concluding that being an insurance adjustor, in and of itself, was not tantamount to the practice of law, and formally approves the the employment of laymen for the work.

    Have a blessed day.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
    The English are the stupidest people on earth.

    They type something on the intranets, stumble onto something that ratifies their stupidity, and they think they are geniuses who have "proven" something.

    Why don't you say "bits" a few thousand times, limeytunes?

    You know nothing and yet you think you know everything. Fatuousness Uber alles.
  216. @Art Deco
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has its place, but it also reckons people unable to find work for more than a few months are no longer unemployed. I

    It doesn't. It records such people as 'discouraged workers' and their number is generally quite small.


    “Not including benefits?” Seriously?

    The figure $11.29 an hour is cash compensation. About 20% of employee compensation is in the form of fringes on average. That share is usually higher for people in wage-earning strata. However, when you reach the lowest ratchet, fringes tend to disappear. For private sector employees, about 70% have access to company medical benefits. Others are married to someone with benefits.



    Some of them – primarily those taking on their first job – earn $8.00 per hour. (I’ve spoken to them personally; they aren’t lying about it to impress me.)

    If you need it spelled out to you, I'm pointing out that their situation is atypical among veterinary technicians. This isn't that difficult.



    There is no way you are not a Baby Boomer.

    Perfectly irrelevant. No clue why you're talking as if you fancy 22 year old youths were commonly paid handsome wages 40-odd years ago.

    This reply is so unresponsive to my points (indeed, it seems to be mostly refuting imagined arguments wholly unrelated to my points), that I’ll just let it lie.

  217. @Autochthon
    Thanks for repeating yourself, Captain Civility, but I am literate. My skepticism comes of its being very uncommon for any particular work to go from being so regulated as to require an advanced degree to having the vast majority of those doing that work not even having an undergraduate degree, all in only one generation.

    Since you decided to make inane insults instead of answering a perfectly civil and reasonable question, I investigated the matter myself.

    It seems that while it was once common for adjustors to be lawyers, I find no evidence this was ever required (unless your father meant it was required by the insurance companies in the same way an employer selling cheeseburgers might require its employees to have advanced degrees in culinary arts).

    In 1939(!) – your father must be long deceased and you yourself must be a relic – the American Bar Association formally addressed the topic, concluding that being an insurance adjustor, in and of itself, was not tantamount to the practice of law, and formally approves the the employment of laymen for the work.

    Have a blessed day.

    The English are the stupidest people on earth.

    They type something on the intranets, stumble onto something that ratifies their stupidity, and they think they are geniuses who have “proven” something.

    Why don’t you say “bits” a few thousand times, limeytunes?

    You know nothing and yet you think you know everything. Fatuousness Uber alles.

  218. @Autochthon
    The total initial McDonald’s franchise amount is from $1,008,000 to $2,214,080.

    I reckon you mean owning one, not managing one. It's the difference between being Paris Hilton and the schmuck doing the night audit at your local Hilton.

    And as you can see, the important point here is that being a millionaire is the threshold requirement for owning one, not the reward afterward (although I'm sure they are very profitable).

    People who tout the reward of rugged individualism whilst disregarding minor details like capital requirements, regulatory capture, and such are Boomerific. Horatio Alger wrote fiction, not biographies....

    You are wrong and clueless and clumsy as usual, because of your whilsty-whilsty Englishness, and J.Ross affirms it cogently and elegantly.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
    What are you, twelve?

    "British people are stoopid! Hah!"

    "The information you cite is incorrect because it was available on the Internet!"

    (So are the Congressional Record, the whole of Newton's works on physics and mathematics (stoopid Englishman!), and any number of other things you may mention.)

    If the piece I cite – an official pronouncement by the American Bar Association – is incorrect or misleading, by all means enlighten me. Is it a forgery? Does it omit important information? Which statutes did require admission to the bar to be a claims adjustor? (A genius like you will doubtless know all about how to compile the historical data from old session laws.) Is "my old man said so" really meant to be taken as a sound refutation of primary historical sources by any serious person?)

    Did you know Tim Berners-Lee, an Englishman, invented the World Wide Web via which you are pronouncing the categorical stupidity of Englishmen? Did you know I am not an Englishman? Do you know – since you prefer to debate upon such boorish terms – your ass from your elbow? Do you know who Charles Murray is?

    These are rhetorical questions, of course. I expect you will nevertheless answer them by writing that I am a "poopy-head."
  219. @obwandiyag
    You are wrong and clueless and clumsy as usual, because of your whilsty-whilsty Englishness, and J.Ross affirms it cogently and elegantly.

    What are you, twelve?

    “British people are stoopid! Hah!”

    “The information you cite is incorrect because it was available on the Internet!”

    (So are the Congressional Record, the whole of Newton’s works on physics and mathematics (stoopid Englishman!), and any number of other things you may mention.)

    If the piece I cite – an official pronouncement by the American Bar Association – is incorrect or misleading, by all means enlighten me. Is it a forgery? Does it omit important information? Which statutes did require admission to the bar to be a claims adjustor? (A genius like you will doubtless know all about how to compile the historical data from old session laws.) Is “my old man said so” really meant to be taken as a sound refutation of primary historical sources by any serious person?)

    Did you know Tim Berners-Lee, an Englishman, invented the World Wide Web via which you are pronouncing the categorical stupidity of Englishmen? Did you know I am not an Englishman? Do you know – since you prefer to debate upon such boorish terms – your ass from your elbow? Do you know who Charles Murray is?

    These are rhetorical questions, of course. I expect you will nevertheless answer them by writing that I am a “poopy-head.”

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