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Old 02-04-2015, 06:41 AM
 
615 posts, read 595,082 times
Reputation: 899

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I think Peter Thiel hits the nail on the head with this one:

Quote:
Perhaps the least controversial thing that President Obama ever said was that “in the coming decades, a high school diploma is not going to be enough. Folks need a college degree.” This vision is commonplace, but it implies a bleak future where everyone must work harder just to stay in place, and it’s just not true. Nothing forces us to funnel students into a tournament that bankrupts the losers and turns the winners into conformists. [...]

[...]

This tournament is obviously bad for the losers, who end up shut out of a self-satisfied “meritocratic” elite. But it’s bad for the winners, too, because it trains them to compete on old career tracks such as management consulting and investment banking instead of doing something new. And it’s worst of all for society at large because our economy stagnates when its leaders jockey to collect rents from old industries instead of working to create new ones that could raise the standard of living for everyone.

Today that’s the tournament-style economy we have. Median household wages are actually lower than they were in 1989 (adjusted for inflation), so Americans have flocked to the few things that seem to promise an escape from stagnation. In the 2000s, that was real estate. Was housing an investment? A way to consume bigger houses? Or was it a kind of middle-class insurance policy when everything else looked broken? Nobody thought very hard about it because everybody believed that house prices would always go up.

Now education has taken the place of housing. If a college degree always means higher wages, then everyone should get a college degree: That’s the conventional wisdom encapsulated by Obama. But how can everyone win a zero-sum tournament? No single path can work for everyone, and the promise of such an easy path is a sign of a bubble.

[...]
Thinking too highly of higher ed - The Washington Post
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit, Michigan
12,675 posts, read 14,007,917 times
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You can't buy a path to the middle class. It is earned. And when you have an ever dwindling supply of legitimate ways to earn an honest, respectably paid living, watch out... We have the makings of a "lost generation". College has traditionally paid off, but that doesn't mean it always will. Particularly when gains in technology and productivity far outpace what the colleges can sort out and attempt teach. Forget about it, we require more specialized institutions for an ever more specialized workforce. College ain't it.

Which brings up another point I'd like to make. It was a huge mistake for colleges to be marketed as job training tools. They are not, and were never intended to be. They are institutions of higher learning, where higher level skills (ex. critical thinking) are to be further developed and honed. While this is fine and all, most people just need job training (OTJ or technical/vocational), and not something that was traditionally a luxury for the well off, or those willing to pay out of their own pockets. Handing out loans only serves to inflate prices, which certainly doesn't help the average student.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:54 AM
 
Location: NYC
12,908 posts, read 8,735,729 times
Reputation: 14156
We're trying to replicate how Europe is setup and that's not how America was founded and setup where there the privileged will always stay ahead of others and very little chance for someone without the opportunities to ever make it big because the whole society there is setup as a ladder game. There is no entrepreneurship spirit and everyone must conform.

Elitist mindset.
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:00 PM
 
60 posts, read 94,943 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andywire
most people just need job training (OTJ or technical/vocational)
So true. So many majors don't train you for a job (my Communication degree for sure), so with X number of people who have great critical thinking skills but not much work experience are vying for jobs, often the seemingly-most-basic of which (like secretarial work) require 5 years of experience...College seems like a no-win situation sometimes. I've never had a great job and I've been out of college for 6 years now.

While there was a technical high school in my hometown, since the plain old high school was 2 streets away, I never had an option (by my parents) to go to the technical school...If I had a kid, I would encourage them to go to the technical high school; even if they want to get a higher degree, they would have a great skill to potentially work in that field. Working in a field that may have a future (vs. just being a cashier to pay the bills because you can't find better work with your English/Communication/Art History degree) is not a bad option.

To be sure, I learned a lot of people skills in school, and I am a more effective communicator for having gone, but still, people skills don't equal a job...

Last edited by t1nkerbell24; 02-04-2015 at 12:01 PM.. Reason: add-on
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Suburb of Chicago
20,643 posts, read 10,017,887 times
Reputation: 20180
I think getting, and keeping, a good job is a zero sum game for some people regardless of education, experience, networking attempts, and how many resumes they send out a day.

Sometimes the inability to succeed has little to do with any of those things, and everything to do with something else.
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Old 02-04-2015, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Arizona
5,509 posts, read 6,127,550 times
Reputation: 7287
Quote:
Originally Posted by MPowering1 View Post
I think getting, and keeping, a good job is a zero sum game for some people regardless of education, experience, networking attempts, and how many resumes they send out a day.

Sometimes the inability to succeed has little to do with any of those things, and everything to do with something else.
Like not spending all your time whining about life being unfair, perhaps?
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Old 02-04-2015, 01:09 PM
 
1,774 posts, read 1,834,801 times
Reputation: 2701
He has some truth in his points, but like all guys who run VC and hedge funds, everything he says publicly is an attempt to sway public opinion to benefit his particular investment strategy.
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Old 02-04-2015, 01:34 PM
 
902 posts, read 910,347 times
Reputation: 1282
We know. College is a lie. Thinking a degree was a means to an end was stupid. You can bet the next generation of parents won't be hyping it up or only send their kids there once they get enough "experience", whatever that means. We f*cked up. We get it.
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Old 02-04-2015, 01:38 PM
 
2,727 posts, read 2,272,913 times
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He is a silicon valley guy who is extremely good at what he does, and apparently short-sighted in other areas.

Not everyone can be a Google. Not everyone is going to create facebook. Traditional jobs that require a top tier education, such as investment banking, absolutely increase the quality of people's lives.

I am sure Peter is very good at seeing potential in tech companies, start ups, etc. But I don't get the sense he has a full grasp of how the global economy operates.
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Old 02-04-2015, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
15,024 posts, read 21,728,201 times
Reputation: 22196
It's interesting when you talk to many, many people. Who really uses their college degree? Out of my friends I would say 20%. The only ones that do are a doctor or lawyer. The rest is just learning as you go.
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