Less College for All

As I frequently write on this blog, college education isn’t what it use to be because of the heavy government subsidies. Just a few days ago I wrote:

College degrees no longer signal intelligent self-starters with moxie. Now degrees are signals risk averse, color-by-numbers people. Bureaucratic employers value these people for their conformity and aversion to risk.

Robert Samuelson agrees in the Washington Post. He wrote:

The college-for-all crusade has outlived its usefulness. Time to ditch it.

The real concern is the quality of graduates at all levels. The fixation on college-going, justified in the early postwar decades, stigmatizes those who don’t go to college and minimizes their needs for more vocational skills. It cheapens the value of a college degree and spawns the delusion that only the degree — not the skills and knowledge behind it — matters. We need to rethink.

Thanks to Mark Perry of Carpe Diem for the link.

Economics Should Be Easy

“Rank-and-file PhD economist” Kartik Athreya explains why Economics is Hard and “bloggers” like John Stossel, Matt Yglesias, Robert Samuelson and Robert Reich are unlikely to have anything “interesting to say” about economics and “cannot meaningfully advance the discussion on economics policy.”  At least in Stossel’s case, that’s a straw man fallacy.

The key is that macroeconomics, which involves aggregating the actions of millions to generate outcomes, where the constituents pieces are human beings, is probably every bit as hard [as predicting Earthquakes].

Kartik asks why a cottage blog industry hasn’t cropped up to “offer their own diagnosis for what had happened, and advice for how to avoid the next big one [regarding earthquakes],” while such a cottage industry has popped up around economics.

I have some thoughts for Kartik.

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