generation limbo: 20-somethings today, debt, unemployment, the questionable value of a college education

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i literally read that URL and went "pffffffffffft" at my desk

what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:24 (seven years ago) link

key graf

This overlooks a more important question, which is why the system went wrong. Don't tell me it got hostage to the wrong ideology--tell me why all those professors we paid millions of dollars to study economics couldn't provide a convincing rebuttal to that ideology in advance of the crash. Don't tell me that regulators were stupid or bankers got greedy until you first explain to me why tens of thousands of very well educated people, most of them graduates of colleges and professional schools that had aggressively winnowed them based on intelligence, barely outperformed a bunch of upstart micks, third-generation coupon-clipping WASP dimwits, and central bankers who still worshipped the barbarous relic of the gold standard?

what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:26 (seven years ago) link

yikes

ah, how quaint (Matt P), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:27 (seven years ago) link

I'm not sure I'm really following her point.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:41 (seven years ago) link

i think she's saying "the problem is the meritocracy, cause clearly it fucked us just as badly as the robber barons"?

what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:53 (seven years ago) link

which is totally fascist and batshit?

what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:53 (seven years ago) link

Interesting how she slips in "a few mick upstarts" -- McArdle who grew up on the Upper West Side etc.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:54 (seven years ago) link

Don't tell me that regulators were stupid or bankers got greedy until you first explain to me why tens of thousands of very well educated people, most of them graduates of colleges and professional schools that had aggressively winnowed them based on intelligence, barely outperformed a bunch of upstart micks, third-generation coupon-clipping WASP dimwits, and central bankers who still worshipped the barbarous relic of the gold standard?

like it sounds like she's saying "clearly these technocrats are all know-nothings and we should scrap the deal, cause i mean look at all those pre-depression people that did just fine clipping coupons"???

what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:57 (seven years ago) link

it's a sloppy argument but I think it's notable that someone like her is in a position that they feel like they *have* to talk about this. she might be ~occupying~ the right-wing corner of a left-wing subject, but watching conservatives approach ows-related issues is interesting cause a lot of the time they're basically forced to agree. there are not very many subjects outside of 'killing obl was a good thing' where that really happens these days.

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:58 (seven years ago) link

she's better than david brooks fwiw

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 19:59 (seven years ago) link

When she says "coupon-clipping" I assume she's referring to bond coupons, not supermarket?

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:01 (seven years ago) link

her argument is something like

1. bad old blue-blood days
2. the ivies start letting more jews and catholics in
3. crash of 2008 happens

??

no i don't get it either

goole, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:14 (seven years ago) link

seems like a reflexive need to not-explain the crash by reaching for some kind of business-page friendly greater narrative. oh, it wasn't an "oligarchic" elite that wrecked the world, but a meritocratic one. hmm, makes you think.

goole, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:15 (seven years ago) link

I remember reading somewhere that there's a narrative that plays bigger in Western Europe of non-blueblood upstarts coming to wreck up the financial system -- class (and sometimes ethnicity) overtones are more present in stories about "rogue traders" and the like who don't come from the right backgrounds/schools.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:18 (seven years ago) link

she seems to be using "change in admission standards at elite colleges of 80 years ago" and "upward mobility" somewhat interchangeably, which is pretty fucking stupid!!! ps i hate megan mccardle she totally sucks.

goole, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:20 (seven years ago) link

Yup, she sucks and is dumb.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:25 (seven years ago) link

srsly

what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:25 (seven years ago) link

it's worth noting that whatever her definition of meritocracy is, she certainly includes herself in the category

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:48 (seven years ago) link

and yeah the 'went to harvard' = meritocracy pov has a lot of faults w/ it esp since if you look at harvard (etc.)'s student body today you wouldn't think "wow that is a great institution when it comes to turning significant quantities of poor people into rcih people." otoh how do you define 'meritocracy'. it's a word that makes sense as a vague idea but when you try and sketch out a strict definition you run into a lot of problems. is someone who dropped out of hs but started their own successful business part of the 'meritocracy'? is someone who went to harvard but works as a (insert crappy job) part of the meritocracy?

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:55 (seven years ago) link

does she really include herself in it? I get an old money vibe.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 20:59 (seven years ago) link

really what you have is 'successful people are successful people' and maybe our system of credentialism is more 'fair' today than it was 80 years ago and maybe social networks are slightly less important when it comes to moving ahead. but I mean george w. bush was president notsolongago - very old school oligarchy was still on top of the american cheerleader pyramid when things went to shit. maybe it was less prevalent than before, but it's hard to pretend like we've turned into some bizarro society where nothing matters but test scores.

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:00 (seven years ago) link

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/10/the-rage-of-the-almost-elite/247638/


Of course, you might think my outlook was jaundiced because I identified with the bankers; I did go to an Ivy League school, and I eventually went to business school and spent a summer with Merrill Lynch. But I didn't know I was going to business school until shortly before I applied; it was what I did when I realized that I was never going to care as much about the inner workings of a computer as most of the guys I worked with.

And if Orwell (and I) are right, then it is I who should have had the most resentment. I did all the same things they did--went to the right schools, got good test scores--and they ended up in banking, while I ended up making a small fraction of what they did. In fact, this happened to me twice: once after college, and again after business school. My first job at the Economist paid approximately a third of what the management consulting job that I'd originally accepted had promised to pay.

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:02 (seven years ago) link

waht

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:24 (seven years ago) link

that has to be one of the stupidest things i have read today

so solaris (Lamp), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:41 (seven years ago) link

you guys are reading the Atlantic

The Uncanny Frankie Valley (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:43 (seven years ago) link

their new cities section is pretty good

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:48 (seven years ago) link

^^

what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:51 (seven years ago) link

also regularly enjoy connor friedersdorfenbergerdorf or whatever

what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:52 (seven years ago) link

Other than pure envy, it's hard to see how I could somehow be made worse off if Bill Gates' income suddenly doubled, but everything else remained the same.

lol behavioural economics, lol any economics

The old WASP bastions democratized or were swept away by nimbler competitors who didn't scruple to sacrifice profits because it might look bad to the boys in the club.

the benefits of an 'elite education' at work here, huh?

Whatever the systemic injustices, it's also quite clear to everyone . . . even parasitic leeches of investment bankers . . . that their salaries only come as the result of frantic effort.

as long as its quite clear to everyone, it certainly has to be true

so solaris (Lamp), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 21:59 (seven years ago) link

Megan McCardle is such a moron.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 22:34 (seven years ago) link

her last name is fun to say

ASPIE Rocky (dayo), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 22:35 (seven years ago) link

also regularly enjoy connor friedersdorfenbergerdorf or whatever

― what's happening to our based god??? (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Tuesday, November 8, 2011 4:52 PM Bookmark Suggest Ban Permalink

Holy crap, I have had this guy on my gchat buddy list for like two years thinking he was some law school classmate I couldn't remember. Now I realize that I had an e-mail exchange with him a while back in response to something he wrote in the Atlantic -- maybe even an article about Law School.

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 8 November 2011 22:43 (seven years ago) link

she goes between 'troll' and 'doesnt know very much about subject she's talking about'

at the end of the day the fact thy people like her and Brooks have jobs as intellectuals is pretty good evidence that we dont have a great meritocracy.

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 23:08 (seven years ago) link

thy = that

iPhone making me talk all fancy like

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 23:09 (seven years ago) link

Similarly, in the 1990s, when I worked with a lot of mostly blue-collar and first-generation college grads (with a fair sprinkling of Ivy Leaguers, to be sure), I didn't hear nearly so much about the rich and how greedy they were--even though in the late 1990s, income inequality was almost certainly worse than it is right now.

I thought this was a choice quote - "almost certainly worse" - wait, you are paid to write articles like these and you can't just look this up? income inequality is certainly-certainly worse today.

iatee, Tuesday, 8 November 2011 23:18 (seven years ago) link

Oh god I just read more of that McArdle piece, it's so headsmackingly awful at every turn. She reminds me of the ex-girlfriend who once bragged to me (while we were in college) that of all of the children of clients of her family's tax accountant, she had made the most money (because she worked a full-time summer job). I pointed out to her that that was probably because the kind of person who has to work full-time during school isn't usually the kind of person whose family has a tax accountant. "Oh come on," she replied, "everyone has an accountant." (my parents didn't)

pass the duchy pon the left hand side (musical duke) (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 00:21 (seven years ago) link

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/11/unemployment

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 00:41 (seven years ago) link

one thing he doesn't point out is that tyler cowen makes his $ as a social-sciences professor at george mason university. there are def worse situations to be in than an econ major from a mid-tier public school but let's not pretend that's a sure ticket to, well, anywhere.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 00:44 (seven years ago) link

I mean the dude is teaching at a place where only 64% of students graduate after 6 years and those who do have an average debt load of $22,219. he doesn't have to go very far time find some people who will soon be in pretty shitty employment situations. being able to write a 5 page essay on 'public choice economics' is not actually a valuable skill for the workforce.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 01:17 (seven years ago) link

go very far to find*

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 01:19 (seven years ago) link

64% is a pretty good graduation rate these days, iirc!

the MMMM cult (La Lechera), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 01:23 (seven years ago) link

that's true and if it were a european university it might not even be a tragic statistic, but w/ the american cost structure it is. I mean he's teaching at 'the cheap option' ~20k/y total cost - and fewer than 40% of entering students are actually earning that 80k degree in 4 years. and in the bigger picture of higher ed this still falls under 'not as bad as most places'. if he can't find a current student in a shitty economic situation he's not looking very hard. anyway he probably has weirdo libertarian kids who make 53% signs in his classes.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 01:37 (seven years ago) link

that's true and if it were a european university it might not even be a tragic statistic, but w/ the american cost structure it is.

64% would be appalling in most of europe wouldn't it?

caek, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 09:28 (seven years ago) link

idk I was mostly going off my knowledge of the french public uni system where it's pretty easy to fail an entire year / drop out / take forever to graduate. seems like it's easier to justify those things when your only investment is time.

iatee, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:07 (seven years ago) link

64% is a pretty good graduation rate these days, iirc!

that's mind-boggling to me

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:12 (seven years ago) link

fucking megan mcardle

horseshoe, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:13 (seven years ago) link

no thank you

dense macabre (DJP), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:13 (seven years ago) link

otm

horseshoe, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:15 (seven years ago) link

Attrition is the American way in education at all levels. The whole Rube Goldberg machine leaks at every valve. Fewer than 70 percent of high school students graduate. Just over 70 percent of those graduates will enter some form of postsecondary education. But barely more than half of those who start BA programs will finish them in six years, and only 30 percent of those who start community college will win an associate degree in three years. After that point, most people don’t manage to graduate.

Source: Our Universities: Why Are They Failing?

o. nate, Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:39 (seven years ago) link

that's mind-boggling to me

yeah i think the top tier colleges are p much the only exception to the stats o.nate posted e.g. harvard's graduation rate is 97%, stanfords 95%.

so solaris (Lamp), Wednesday, 9 November 2011 17:03 (seven years ago) link


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