Reason Interview Via Youtube: ‘Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe On The High Cost Of College’


Quite reasonable.

How do we best line-up expectations with aspirations, training with available jobs, and credentials with marketable skills?  Technology and global competition are forcing change rapidly, and Rowe pushes against the oversold idea that everyone should go to college (and many are going into non-dischargable debt to do so, driving-up prices rapidly).

A four-year degree is still worth the investment for many people, and higher annual incomes don’t lie, but there are many escalators leading out of four-year degree programs straight into unrelated cubicle-work, or back to Mom and Dad’s couch in this economy.  Buyer beware.

This blog holds out hope that a reasonable equality-of-opportunity approach can be maintained out of the mess of grade-inflation, watered-down standards, and the kind of competitive meritocracy that has come about.  I suspect the rise of helicopter-parenting and over-monitored kids has a lot to do with fewer perceived opportunities and more intense competition for those opportunities.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This Site: Should you get a college degree?:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

,,Ron Unz At The American Conservative: ‘The Myth Of American Meritocracy’

Analagous to old media? What to change and what to keepFrom The Arnoldian Project: ‘Architecture, Campus, And Learning To Become’

Two Americas forming?:  Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

Megan McArdle At Bloomberg: ‘Health-Care Costs Are Driven By Technology, Not Presidents’

Full piece here.

McArdle attended a seminar:

‘Most participants agreed that if you want to control costs, you need to stop third-party payers from paying for new technologies — particularly Medicare, which is not very discriminating, and which makes it hard for private insurers to deny a treatment that the U.S. government has thereby endorsed. Several people argued rather hopefully that the government could do this — and maybe even would do this, with moves, in Medicare and Obamacare, toward bundled payments and “Accountable Care Organizations.” But no one offered any reason to believe that the government, or the ACOs, would only shut down bad innovation.’

Who makes the decisions, and how will they do it?

From the comments:

‘One of the reasons national healthcare will not work in the US is that US doesn’t have powerful technocrats who can do the right thing regardless of politics. In the US everything that involves government ends up drowning in the political squabbles and thus is made extremly ineffective, slow and expensive.’

Uh, that’s by design.  Welcome to America!


Addition:  How much are public schools, unionized or not, willing to reform themselves?  What about the NY Times and old print media?  What about the guild structure of higher education?

Is the rate of change of technology slowing down, staying steady, and how much will regulation get in the way?

The government has grown steadily for decades now, and a lot of inertia is built into the system.  In California, especially, but nationwide, we’ve seen the growth of a very muscular individual freedom aided by technology , which is changing how all people, but young people, especially, live their lives and adjust their expectations.  But we’ve also seen the growth of green thinking, the decline of religion in the public square for better or worse, the rise of ‘spirituality,’  the rise of the cultural revolution of the 60’s through our political and social institutions.

Perhaps we’ve also seen the growth of an excessive egalitarianism, and a promise for ever more groups of people to be included into an American identity and ‘greatness’ as well.

Peter Thiel and Andy Kessler, interviewed by Peter Robinson touch on all of these issues:


Related On This Site:  Avik Roy At Forbes: ‘Democrats’ New Argument: It’s A Good Thing That Obamacare Doubles Individual Health Insurance Premiums’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘The Obamacare Quaqmire’

Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution: ‘Watching Obamacare Unravel’

From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’

Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘No Flying Cars, But the Future Is Bright

Full piece here.

Postrel mentions Peter Thiel:

‘In speeches, interviews and articles, Thiel decries what he sees as the country’s lack of significant innovations. “When tracked against the admittedly lofty hopes of the 1950s and 1960s, technological progress has fallen short in many domains,” he wrote last year in National Review. “Consider the most literal instance of non­acceleration: We are no longer moving faster.”

She counters with the idea that while not predicted, we take our innovations for granted:

‘Technologists who lament the “end of the future” are denigrating the decentralized, incremental advances that actually improve everyday life. And they’re promoting a truncated idea of past innovation: economic history with railroads but no department stores, radio but no ready-to-wear apparel, vaccines but no consumer packaged goods, jets but no plastics.’

Splashy innovations may not be necessary, Postrel argues, and could hinder the real progress being made, and that there are many people, for various reasons, who will put up barriers to that progress (there could be some danger in utopianism there, that has political implications as well).

Comments are worth a read.

Addition: Shouldn’t we still aim high?

Related On This Site:Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘Want To Be The Next Apple? Lose The Bafflegab’

From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’

It might be worth mentioning the importance that science and technology have had on our culture through science fiction, too, and how sci-fi writers have handled its relation to political philosophy, from Robert Heinlein to Jerry Pournelle to Paul Krugman via Isaac Asimov, to manifest destiny to colonizing the West etc: Paul Krugman At The Guardian: ‘Asimov’s Foundation Novels Grounded My Economics’

Check out Pournelle’s Iron Law Of Bureaucracy and his chart of political organization.