Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Those Who Can't Do, Teach

Those who do, do.

I'm going to tell you kids for about the 300th time

You do NOT need a degree in the liberal arts to gain the knowledge and education it provides.  You need to simply go to the library.

AND this has the added benefit of having the exact same employment prospects as if he had attended

Heck, I'm one of the best economists in the world and all I have is a MINOR in econ!

Shocking, yes, I know, but I'm just glad I didn't get a doctorate.


The Conservative Sociologist said...

I enjoy teaching for many reasons. Mostly because it allows me the freedom (aka time) to work other things I want to do: writing, starting my own businesses, etc. I also see it as a way to improve my public speaking and leadership skills (I'm a shy lady), but ultimately, it's not what I want to do with the rest of my life. It's also fun because I get to be the department nemesis, via my evil Capitalist ways. That's always fun.

lelnet said...

Not to mention that, since you don't have to devote four years of your life to doing nothing but studying stuff you can read in the library for free and going hundreds of kilobucks into nondischargeable debt for the privilege, you don't actually have to _worry_ about whether it'll make you more employable.

You can do it as a _hobby_, and emerge a better person for it.

Whereas anything you devote the time, energy, financial, and opportunity cost of a BA to really needs to generate a substantial concrete return, or else you're just making a fool of yourself.

taterearl said...

My grandfather had a saying...

There needs to be a class in school called "common sense". The problem is there would be so few people who could teach it.

Anonymous said...

Between the net and the library all things can be known. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Capt.

I sent this message to the guy who does the guest work for the Peter Schiff show (

Hello Tom,

My name is ------ and I have been a Premium Member of the Peter Schiff Show since the start. I have a request for a future guest.

His name is Aaron Clarey and in the early to mid 2000's he worked as a credit analyst for a number of banks in Minnesota. He predicted the housing crash and wrote a book about it called "Behind the Housing Crash: Confessions from an Insider" in which he tells many funny (in a bleak sort of way) stories of banker stupidity. I think it would be interesting to hear Peter and Aaron talk about the housing crash as both of them predicted it, but Aaron was on the inside and Peter was looking from the outside. Aaron also wrote another book called "Worthless: The Young Person's Indispensable Guide to Choosing the Right Major" in which he breaks down the collage scam. I think he is an intelligent and funny writer. He has a blog called "Captain Capitalism" at:

His books are at:

I have already posted a message at his blog asking if he would be interested in being a guest on the show and he responded that he would really like to. He also offered to send you a copy of his book(s). His posted email is:

I really hope that you get him on.

Thank you for your time.


I hope you get on.

Unknown said...

Exactly right, Captain. Why is it that some people have a hard time distinguishing between self-directed education and having some old, worn out professor bore you to death about an interesting subject that one could have learned on his own at the library. I remember when I was supposed to take AP Macroeconomics in high school and the school faculty forced me to drop down to honors economics because of the ridiculous courseload I had signed up partially by accident. I was devastated and as a way to spite these people, I single handedly took Greg Mankiw's Principles in Economics, the textbook that was assigned for the class, took it home winter break, read through the whole textbook in one week, and took notes on almost every single chapter (there were 36 chapters in all), the P/Q and aggregate demand and supply graphs, the Phillips curve, the circular flow diagram, and etc. using possibly hundreds of notecards resulting in several stacks of notes in all.

The only chapter I regretted not reading was the chapter on microeconomics, which the AP U.S. history teacher who also taught the AP Macroeconomics class (he was one of the two teachers who taught this class) advised me not to read it because I wouldn't need it for the AP test. I should have went against his so called wisdom and read it anyway just for my own benefit. When I tried to resign up for the AP Macro class, the school again wouldn't let me do it, so that was discouraging, but my father gave me some of the best advice I had ever heard. He basically told me that even though I wasn't going to be taking that specific class despite all the hard work I had done in preparation for it that all that knowledge that I had acquired would stay ingrained in my mind for a long time to come and he was right. That was when I learned to appreciate the massive wealth that good, scarce knowledge can bring to a person when they actively decide to seek it for themselves.

Meanwhile, one of my friends from high school ended up taking that AP Macro class and ended up reading Paul Krugman's blog regularly. This specific teacher had failed calculus in college, blaming the fact that his professor had died during the middle of the semester. When I tried to show him a few of Peter Schiff's books, specifically How an Economy Grows and Crashes, he read through the whole thing and thought Peter was "full of crap" in his words and I believe he tried to justify all the Federal Reserve's actions through historical merit. That should tell you a lot about the value of so-called public school "education," though I don't know anything about the state of the private schools because I've never attended one. It doesn't teach anyone how to truly think critically or seek out information for themselves, though I did have some really good teachers here and there.

Pulp Herb said...

I think you forgot to mention one of the most timely lines in the article:

Strassler handled the business well through an oil boom, but when a bust came, in 1983, he was worn out. His bond portfolio seemed like a better place for his and his family's money--no employees or regulations to worry about.

This guy not only does, but apparently used to do in a way that provided jobs and tax revenue until the gov't make it so unappealing retirement seemed a better choice.

That a man like that wouldn't have retirement stop him from producing isn't a surprise. Still, imagine if we hadn't made it not worth his while to help find oil.

Thidwick said...

I'm having trouble right now convincing my parents that it's fine for me to drop out of college. I'm 21 years old and still nowhere near graduating, and I just find academia mundane and largely a waste of my time. Most of what I know I have learned on my own -- I don't see why I need to waste my time getting a degree in history or English when the library has everything that I need to learn those subjects.

I've been contemplating dropping out for a while and learning some kind of trade skill, but my parents still think in the old paradigm that a degree leads to a job. But the world doesn't need one more schmoe with a liberal arts degree. I'm not particularly inclined toward math/science, so I'm not interested in engineering or computer science or anything like that.

I can either go on and get a degree and still have no job prospects, or I can drop out now, learn practical skills, and start making money.

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Anonymous said...

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