My inspiration for this post/review comes from heretical economist Aaron Clarey, and his book, Worthless. There is a growing awareness in non-mainstream circles of the wholesale rort that is higher education. In the seventies and earlier, it was the case that a large percentage of high school students would only study until the tenth grade – from which point they would study a trade, or work in a family business. Students that showed academic promise would finish their twelfth or thirteenth year, and could go on to attend university to become a professional, academic or teacher. Masters and First-class honours, let alone PhDs were exceedingly rare, and accordingly had value, to those who completed them and those around them who admired higher learning and research. How times have changed!
Today’s students more often than not find themselves in degree factories posing as universities, which, in cahoots with the banks, saddle them with thousands of dollars of debt that can take decades to repay. Students are encouraged to study ‘Arts’, ‘Communications’ or ‘Gender Studies’, are told they will ‘find themselves’, in what often amounts to not much more than leftist politically correct indoctrination. This of course does not apply to those who study STEM degrees (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), which are focused on acquiring specific skill sets required in their respective industries – i.e, lead to employment.
One of the sociological patterns I have observed is that since a certain level of education is usually required for conventional middle class success, the concept that education is a valuable tool has morphed into a greedy monster that dupes students and their parents by selling a lie. A very expensive lie. All education is good for you, no matter where, why, or what it is you’re ‘learning’. The point is, that unless you want to become teacher, or the cost and time of a degree is immaterial to you, a non-STEM degree is a bad decision. The economy can only support so many university graduates – we live in a world of scarcity. There are far too many graduates applying for the glamorized-by-TV, Carrie Bradshaw media jobs, and even if you are ‘lucky’ enough to land one, you will likely find yourself interning for free and getting coffee for your superiors, until you ‘earn your stripes’ and in the event of layoffs, you’re the first to go. You even get to buy them lunch.
Like most things in life, the phenomenon ‘everybody else is doing it’, is usually a good indicator that it’s a bad idea, unless you enjoy following herds off cliffs. If you want to be a maverick, do what others aren’t. Don’t take this as a ticket to be lazy. In fact, it’s the opposite. Many (or most) don’t pursue education seriously, or anything seriously, and either end up living in poverty, or are forced to work arduous jobs for extremely long hours just to get by. For most people, learning a technical skill (university or trade school) that leads to well-paid employment (or their own business) is the most secure and well paid route.
For those of us looking to forge their own path, there are other ways. One is to take the experience that you have gained working in your field of expertise, and starting you own business venture. Another is to identify something you’re passionate about, and finding a way to use your superior knowledge and understanding of this area to provide people with value. It could be through writing about it, introducing a new product to market, or becoming an intermediary.
If you are considering a college degree, or know someone who is, I strongly recommend you buy Worthless, it could mean the difference between poverty and freedom.