Monday, January 04, 2010

With honors

New York Times:

“The phrase drives me crazy — ‘What are you going to do with your degree?’ — but I see increasing concerns about that,” says Katharine Brooks, director of the liberal arts career center at the University of Texas, Austin, and author of “You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career.” “Particularly as money gets tighter, people are going to demand more accountability from majors and departments.”

Even if the university system fashions itself as little more than a "good jobs" broker,  "demanding accountability" from it doesn't change the fact that employers aren't under any obligation to "supply" them.  "Good jobs" cost shareholders money; subsequently, they permit fewer of them.  Just because Americans are willing to pay the broker more for a degree doesn't change this.  Yet the "consumer" will go into debt for the rest of their lives for the chance at a tolerable occupation before they will ask why there aren't enough for everyone in the first place.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

There aren't enough because some are untermenschen and some are ubermenschen. The best we can do is give the untermenschen generous welfare benefits. If we tried to run shit according to some kind of anarcho-syndicalist workers counsel anarchist magical pony system, there would still be the ubers that rise to the top and exploit the unters, just like in our current shitty system. We can try to soften the edges of society, but the fact remains that humanity is brutal and you need to secure your own place. Once you've secured your own place comfortably, you can throw a few bones to the weak and stupid.

I've been drinking so I'm not sure if I mean all that. But I think I do. I want to be an anarchist. But I don't trust the peasants. They are too stupid.

Anonymous said...

well said. i didn't read the article you cite, but i did skim many of the comments. no one seemed to raise the point you make (comments are censored at NYT, so...) they all to some degree blamed educators. rather sad.

almostinfamous said...

shorter anonymouse 1:

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings"

Johnny Sunshine Jackson said...

"Yet the "consumer" will go into debt for the rest of their lives for the chance at a tolerable occupation before they will ask why there aren't enough for everyone in the first place."

I'm sorry to admit that's the story of my life right now. The false promises of social mobility and the power of one's privileges.

Rachel said...

But I don't trust the peasants. They are too stupid.

The funny thing here is that he thinks he's not a peasant.

JRB said...

Anonymous 1: I certainly share your skepticism towards "running shit according to some kind of anarcho-syndicalist workers counsel anarchist magical pony system."

However, I am much more skeptical of "securing your own place" in a system of arbitrary authority. There is no such place, because nothing is yours under this arrangement. Business executives learn this every day.

For me, the issue is much less whether or not you "want to be an anarchist," but whether you want to undertake a course of self-defense or leave yourself vulnerable in every instance.

Personally, I admire people who strive to defend themselves -- and ultimately this means some form of collective organization against every power system. Whether you want to be "smart" or "stupid" in this respect is exactly the right question to ask.