Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Worthless Degree Awareness Month - An Easy Problem to Solve

Cancer is hard to cure because of it's varied and chaotic evolutionary nature

Crime is also hard to eliminate because of various socio-economic reasons, not to mention it's part of human nature.

Even a vaccine for the common cold, common as it may be, has eluded science for millennia.

But while some scourges of society have no obvious or immediate solution, there is one that plagues us today, but could be solved tomorrow.

Worthless degrees.

Before you get your blood pressure up or your emotions a-flutter, realize neither you nor I nor the taxpayer have the time, money, patience or resources to keep this facade up any longer.  Every year millions of American students take on $300 billion in student debt.  They waste anywhere from 4 to 8 years of their youth earning degrees that have no job prospects attached to them.  And then for the next decade are financially impaired under the weight of these student loans, preventing them from homeownership, forming families, or the plain ole pursuit of happiness.  This translates not only into ruined lives of the victims of worthless degrees, but greater economic social costs in the form on an inadequately trained labor pool, lower economic growth, lower standards of living, and a debt bubble that is larger than the mortgage crisis of 2007.

The question is how to solve it.  And in order to answer that question we need to find out how the scourge of worthless degrees became so prominent and widespread in America. 

To be blunt the worthless education bubble came about because of a combination of sparing people's feelings, poor parenting, an ignorance of economics, and a resultant entitlement mentality. To an outside observer, majoring in something like "English" is laughably foolish.  It offers no real world skills.  You're already living in an English-speaking country.  And, unless you had a mental disability, you are likely 100% fluent in English by the age of 18.  But that is not the environment in which a 16, 17, or 18 year old child determines his or her major. He/she is cocooned in an environment controlled and dominated by parents and teachers.  At best these parents and teachers are innocently ignorant about today's labor market because they attended college in the 70's or 80's.  They recommend college because it worked for them...back in the Nixon administration.  But what is increasingly likely today is a spinelessness on the part of both teachers and parents to tell their children the harsh, real world realities of economics and the labor market.  And instead they tell their children what they want to hear simply to avoid the standard rigors (and crying and temper tantrums) that come with properly raising and educating a child:

"Follow your dreams and the money will follow!"
"Any degree is a good degree!"
"You can't put a price on education!"

Alas it is no surprise little Jimmy decides he's going to major in puppetry because there was no real adult there to stop him.

But there is another, not-so-obvious-yet-key cause of the scourge that is known as worthless degrees:

A birthright.

And this is perhaps the real reason the worthless degree tick is so thoroughly lodged into America's bloodstream.

Understand that from a child's perspective the ONLY thing he or she has in her life is college.  K-12 is so horrendously boring, inefficient, and mentally stifling, it resembles a prison more than it does a school.  Increasingly apathetic parents drop their children off with increasingly apathetic teachers, where the true purpose of K-12 education is more baby sitting than it is education.  Alas, most kids are just biding their time, waiting out a mental prison sentence, chomping at the bit to get out.  But the biggest lie we feed them is not "follow your heart and the money will follow," or "you can't put a price on education," but the canard

"It will all get better in college."

This turns college into the ONLY thing these poor souls have to look forward to in life.  And this delusion is only further propagandized as a utopia by media, government, politicians, and the colleges themselves.  Movies, college football games, the false illusion of 24-7 free sex and partying, it becomes every American high school senior's promised land.  And for any sane or rational person to come in and try to interrupt that dream, warning them that a degree in "Art History" will result in a nightmare, is VEHEMENTLY met with a scathing emotional, passionate, and completely irrational response. Most people, parents, teachers, or not, dare not upset these children with the truth.  And thus we condemn these poor kids to a life of underemployment, debt, and a lesser life.

The solution is very simple - tell these kids the truth about the employment prospects of different degrees.  It's sadly too late for the millennial generation as they were the experimental sacrificial lambs Americans forfeited to see if absentee and spineless parenting/teaching would work.  So far removed are they from the realities of the labor market and the real world even a mere attempt to get through to them evokes unexplainable accusations of "racism," "sexism," or "ignorance."  But Gen Z and all future generations of Americans do not need to needlessly suffer as the millennials (and Gen X'ers) did.  We do not have to ruin their lives by forcing them to go to college to get a degree, "any degree," and mortgage their futures for it.  Having candid, realistic, frank, and adult conversations with them about what their educational options are, be it college, the military/GI Bill, trade school, or IT certifications, can not only spare them the fate of the millennials, but usher in a new era of strong economic growth, financially stable families, and happier Americans all around.

It can happen tomorrow.  We can end the cancer that is worthless degrees.  We simply need to love our children enough to tell them the truth.
Help end worthless degrees!  Share this article with a loved one you care about who's about to go to college or has children that are about to go to college.  Use the hashtag "#WorthlessDegreeAwarenessMonth"
Helpful Books:
"Worthless" - The young person's indispensable guide to choosing the right major.
"Reconnaissance Man" - A book for students who don't know what they want to study in college.
Check out Aaron's other cool stuff below!
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A Texan said...

Captain, you may have start including STEM in the worthless degrees category. Way too many of them to. Even engineering is not a real guarantee. Too many pharmacist right now in some parts of the country.

I would like to know who is hiring all of these Phd's, including engineering and what the salaries are:

Anonymous said...

NEEDED: Generic Father for Backyard BBQ

Just leaving this link here. SMDH

Anonymous said...

In Australia, I was told that politicians encouraged university in order to keep the unemployment rates artificially low for re-election purposes. Also, some parents I have talked to here are saying that a normal uni degree is not enough anymore as every kid has one so they figure that even further education is necessary to 'stand out from the crowd'. These parents may be supporting their darlings for the rest of their natural life!

Anonymous said...

Love your videos an blogs. You are the Simon Cowell of life consultants/self-improvement gurus. Have you ever watched American Idol? I used to enjoy when Simon Cowell who gave truthful but scathing criticisms, and crushed the dreams of delusional contestants who think they can all be rock stars/pop stars because they live in America, land of dreams and fame. Then they go back home to do their average, boring jobs but contribute to society. That is the same mentality that college graduates who earn worthless degrees, apply for jobs, and get rejection letters from companies. Their dreams of fame, money, and entitlement are crushed.

Southern Man said...

And here is the inevitable result:

A university publishes that their CS majors have 90% employment in the field.
Everyone flocks to CS.
Many of them can't do it and wash out, and bitch and moan about it to the administration.
In response, the CS Department is required to "dumb down" the program to get the pass rate up.
CS degree from said University becomes...worthless.

tpkeefe said...

To be fair, the labor market has contributed to this problem by stubbornly insisting on college degrees as proxies for "intelligence" and outsourcing the training problem to colleges because the employers can't or won't take on the burden themselves. At best, they simply can't afford to do that much to bring someone up to speed. At worst, they're lazy.

Anonymous said...

STEM degrees are useless if you aren't any good at it. I've said that on your blog before though. When my son was wondering what to do, I told him to go into the service. They'd give him something to do, for sure.

But what happens if I've read your book, asked those probing questions to my youngest, and still come up short - she's getting a music performance degree. True, she's talented.

But - One of the principles at an Orchestra here told me you didn't need a degree to play in an orchestra, and he was sorry he wasted money on his. He went back, got a dentistry degree, and does that for a living, while playing on the side. Told her his story - fell on deaf ears.

Just last night, we were chatting with a dude (while buying some furniture from him via NextDoor) about her major. He majored in that instrument as well, and knows who's who on the local scene. He says, "You know, a position (not the lead) comes up for that instrument in an orchestra once in about every 15 years."

So, after all the questions, and counselling telling her she needs a big time plan -b, what to do? You do what her financial pro mother did - engineer the loans so that after one years payments, we drop as co-signers. Those 12 payments will be made, come hell or high water. The rest, that's her problem. One we told her was looming for years.

A Texan said...

Sgt. Joe Friday said...

Large corporations have used college degrees as a proxy for IQ ever since the late 1970s. IIRC, it was the Carter administration that basically outlawed the practice of IQ testing job applicants, so employers had to have some kind of filtering process. Ergo, jobs that did not require a BA or BS degree in the past (e.g. sales rep positions) suddenly required 4 years of college.

What I find funny is that people do understand that scarcity increases a thing's value: diamonds, rare art, exotic automobiles...beautiful women. When something is abundantly available or there is even a surplus, it becomes worth less and less.