The Astounding Failure of the US Educational System, Part 3 (And Why Entrepreneurship Can Save America)

smartknowledgeu's picture

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Stuck on Zero's picture

I would like to see a group of educators brought to an important conference where they had to sit for six hours through boring lectures.  They would be talking to their friends, getting up constantly to get coffee, doodling, making calls on their mobiles, tweeting, planning their taxes, etc.

My guess is that 80% of the attendees would be classified as ADHD by the definition of the behavior and would be required to take Ritalin. 

tony bonn's picture

thank you again for drawing important distinctions between education and intelligence. psychologically the difference is vast. iq is a quantity of an entirely different nature than education which is why iq testing can be administered to very young children whereas a differential equations test must wait for a few years more. iq is stable (or frozen) after 12-16 years depending upon to which psychological theory one subscribes.

as a personal example i was once hired by a prestigious consulting firm which refused to hire anyone based upon academic degrees although they certainly preferred such persons. instead they administered what amounted to an iq test whose passage was a sin qua non for hiring. when i in turn hired my staff i was forced to adhere to this practice to great frustration.

the recruiting firms sent me only college graduates - bachelors, multiple bachelors, masters, multiples masters, phd candidates. etc...i was hiring for various software development positions - ba, sa, architects, pm, programmers, testers, ui designers etc etc....

over 50% failed the testing. despite their experiences these people were not eligible for employment. i could always tell who failed during the interview. living fucktards with more education than me who couldn't pass iq standards. yet many of them would have made excellent team members due to their experiences and expertise which they acquired in spite of their low iqs and high education. many of them thought they were hot shit but i begged to differ.

So what’s the point? my personal belief - again something confined to business activities as opposed to certain specialized fields as physical sciences - is that success is a confluence of several factors of which knowledge, aptitude, and iq are essential ingredients. formal education is one path to knowledge. In most cases that knowledge is so primitive that it would not suffice for a mid- or senior- level position. Yet the degree is demanded.

and isn't it amazing that so many people are in a different field than their formal education - proof of my point about its vacuity.

i heartily endorse your prescription for more entrepreurship. street smarts count for a lot.

i have longed for the day that someone with your cachet would say what i have long said with less effect and tact :-o. for that i am extremely thankful....god bless you god bless you god bless you. your essay is worth its weight in gold.

(regarding ritalin - it is a huge program sponsored by the plutocrats and cia (mk-ultra) to brain wash americans into being nice docile fucktarded debt and consumer slaves.)


tamboo's picture

"...Tesla had discovered in the late 1880s and early 1890s how to build ASYMMETRIC systems which could take and use all the EM energy one wished, from the "active medium" (Tesla's term) and without consuming fuel. And Tesla was briefing technical societies to that effect. (See rigorous proof that Tesla could have given us free EM energy from the seething active medium: See T. W. Barrett, "Tesla's Nonlinear Oscillator-Shuttle-Circuit (OSC) Theory," Annales de la Fondation Louis de Broglie, 16(1), 1991, p. 23-41. Barrett rigorously shows that EM expressed in quaternions allows shuttling and storage of potentials in circuits, and dissipation of the energy in those regions desired. The quaternion electrodynamics also allows additional EM functioning of a circuit that a conventional EM analysis using the symmetrized Heaviside-Lorentz vector equations cannot reveal. Barrett shows that Tesla's patented circuits did exactly this] 

We also strongly note that Barrett is a very noted (though quiet) electrodynamicist and one of the cofounders of ultrawideband radar, along with Harmuth.

All this was known to the ruthless financier J. P. Morgan, still angry and smarting at his own backing of Edison and DC power systems being soundly defeated by Tesla's much more practical AC power systems. So he was already setting up the total suppression of Tesla, by first breaking his backer Westinghouse (which he did) and then deliberately breaking Tesla (which he did also).

Morgan had already had his technical advisors check the work of Tesla, and they found that Tesla's confounded "energy freely from the active medium" systems (asymmetric systems) were for real.

As a result, Morgan's tech advisors did a group analysis on the Heaviside equations and showed that the Heaviside equations were still ASYMMETRICAL -- and thus they still contained some of those confounded Tesla "free excess energy from the active medium" (i.e., asymmetric) systems. At Morgan's bidding, Lorentz was then elicited to eliminate those "free energy from the active medium" systems from this new-fangled electrical engineering that was being formed..." 


MurderNeverWasLove's picture

The comments are better than the article, and reflect better insights than the author's.  I think it is a matter of trying to cover too much material.  I'm glad when the subject comes up, but tell us something we don't know.

Diamond Jim's picture

(1) for Mr. Gekko....yes "geology" as being taught in college is currently screwed up. One hardly has to take a mineralogy or optical mineralogy class anymore. The reason is that "environmental geology" has taken over...mining bad, environment good. We'll see when no one can find REE for your HD flat screens, or Ti for advanced aircraft.  

(2) with regards to this bloviated, self congradulatory 3 part article.......entrepeneurship is certainly worth pursuing if one has a good idea. You can take that money that might be wasted on an MBA and apply it to your company.  But let me know when they are hiring pimps, IT guys, plumbers, MBAs, lawyers, basketball players,  and nail bangers to build rockets taking people to the moon.........or I want that surgeon from the U. of Haiti to fix my heart, not the one from Baylor.

(3) Education might be boring today. Classroom isn't as exciting as Lady Gaga or that Pimps and hot chicks/cars I-pod game. It could also be because the teachers are unqualified to be teaching, may not have the background or are just plain boring to begin know what is usually said of those that teach..if you cannot handle the field / reality of your profession, then you teach. I submit to you that today's education diploma is worthless without a solid background in what you plan to teach, learning all about "Classroom planning", the advanced use of your "Daily Planner", the psychology of teaching, sociology of ADD students and all that does not prepare a teacher to be effective unless you are doing kindergarten. By the time one is teaching in junior high and up you better have a Bachelors at minimum to teach english, history, chemistry etc. Mastery of your subject is only going to be found by attending a college, sorry. Getting a real degree is a tough task, one that requires sacrifice, dilligence, long hours pouring over textbooks, time in the library etc..IF, you want to be good at it. This article appears more of an excuse being offered or a way out for the lazy and "challenged".

Not everyone should go to college to "make it" in life. We have been sold a bill of goods here, just like not everyone should own a home. You can see where no money down, inflated appraisal prices, congressional mandates and banksters got us in the housing industry...the same can be said for the education industry, the same players are screwing things up: congressional interference and programs, just pay us $5,000 and we will mail you your Ph. D. in economics from the Univ. of Phoenix, my $200,000 degree from Princeton is worth more than your from U. of Montana..........

Lastly, I should have seen it coming...always follow the money were simply soliciting your book, research publication or service.

Anonymau5's picture

Kim, I think you speak alot of truth - which is why I'm going to propose this harsh criticism of your work.  Ultimately we are on the same team.  That said:

1. I checked out your website.  You are in the information brokerage business.  While your information may be more tangible than that proposed by any of the Ivy Leagues, you are nevertheless engaged in this activity.  You serve the same purpose, using the same mechanisms, with the same intent.  200k in tuition might buy one a false education and a short at the corporate ladder; however roughly 9k buys predigested and regurgitated access to information on your website - which you openly admit to arriving at independent of your formal education.

How are you not selling snake oil?  If you truly believed your diagnosis, you would deliver this information for free, allowing your analysis to stand on its own two feet.  A self-fulfilling prophecy would propagate your instruction to a much wider audience - assuming that is your intent.

However I do not believe it is.  You aim to capitalize on your life story without producing any tangible value.  You are shifting risk.  Your investment perspective, like many others, relies on the scarcity of information and it's controlled distribution in order to maintain a competitive advantage.

2. While I appreciate the exposure of the WSJ as nothing more than the propaganda arm of the financial oligarchy; your (and every one else's) obsession with Commodities - specifically gold and silver - is unwarranted except from a perspective of productive scarcity as measured by a material's specific properties in manufacturing.  Gold is not a store of value.  Silver is not a store of value.  Oil is not a store of value.


Your arguments for gold as wealth inherently enable the same control mechanisms you claim to deride.  Who overwhelmingly controls the resource rights, excavation, processing, and distribution of Gold?  How about Silver?  Oil?  Any other commodity?  By reinforcing the idea that expound “The Monetary History and Investment Value of Gold and Silver"  you are only ensuring that those who control these systems continue to control these systems.  This is not a contract of trade who's tangible measure is democratically elected by and for the people. 

Gold is historic currency for a lack of a more available historic means to guarantee the validity of a contract.  This is no longer the case.  Molecular purity based on a scarce and malleable element, while ingenious up to the modern era is obsolete.  Furthermore, History is wrought with the exact same control mechanisms we encounter today manipulating the monetary supply for the benefit of the few.

I'm not saying you can't make a profit or even protect the conversional value of your life's accumulated goods - just that it is not the end-all-be-all historic standard your profess.

3. Encuraging youth to reject the established educational institution and operate outside its bounds is poor advice.  Better advice is to recognize these truisms you identify before hand, be realistic about expectations, and establish powerful, organic, and diverse relationships with like-minded individuals within its walls.  This is quite easy as truth speaks to power.  You may not need an ivy league education to excel at life, but you probably dont need a ten-thousand-dollar crash course from some blog either.

In all likelyhood, you will earn more about any subject matter attended community college and state-school than you will at an Ivy.

For the same 10 k I would spend on your courses, I can enter a community-based-university and interact with real individuals in a social environment and develop strong connections akin to those at an ivy league while still taking away profound academic truth from good and knowledgable people who genuinely wish to "open minds" and enable the next generation.

This was my experience.  150k at an Ivy league, and I learned so much more my second time around spending 3k a year at a state-run-university.

Did they give me the same doctorine?  YES.

Did I let it influence my ability to think critically and search for truth as best I can?  Absolutely NOT.

People, individuals are smarter than you give them credit.  Truth speaks only to those willing to listen.  It takes a willing candidate to accept an indoctrination.  we are all enabled to think critically from birth.  It is the natural way of things.

Having the discipline to tap it yourself is the trait we sometimes lack.


Again I appreciate your article and what you are trying to do.  Please accept my criticism at face value.  

Triggernometry's picture

Advanced degrees are overrated in most fields outside the technical innovation area, as the level of material knowledge required is well outside the level of individual self-instruction.

As for other areas, their uselessness will only be realized when the quality of primary education meets the needs of today's cut-throat commercial landscape. Most are insufficiently equipped in math and personal finance(account balancing especially) even after college. Thus the primary school curriculum needs to be reworked, that much is certain, let's start by teaching people to make things their local community needs.

michigan independant's picture

Hard to cover all the bases but overall the articles cover freedom of thought not how Business can be done. All I have noticed In Cluster Corporate Organizations is degrees sort out the clever one's, and in my view we see who we can work with later to serve the Customer. We seen how this model conveyed below

and of course newer Business practises to social dynamics.

We have the usuall suspects on internal customers and typical thought bubbles slowing evolving to egocentric informational filters on LEAN manufacturing and basically conform to best practise the application demands to improve.

As for the medication of Children the parent is the essential link and they must be informed to risks. My backgroud confirmed my conviction on this practise on long term issues and we avoided this route given the biological nature of brain developement in subjects under 21

Given the scope and bent of mind of the articles from the Author it was nice to see that we all do, and can understand the more we know the less we know but you must think for yourself and posit progress on so many issues in the real world to recycled issues usually are short of truth of the world we live in.


Unlawful Justice's picture

Thank you Mr. Kim!

Read Books, books, books,

Be your own scientist and test your theory's of your own experience.


Gordon_Gekko's picture

EXCELLENT article as always, Mr. Kim. I wish to thank you for your efforts as you were one of the very first people who helped me in my enlightening process.

Paul Bogdanich's picture

Fallacy in the logic.  Entrepenuership can help America IFF (If and only IF) there is capital formation to fund them.  SO long as the banks are taking all the available capital to try and fill the holes in their balance sheets there will be no capital formation.  So long as they are too big to fail others are too small to succeed. 

DR's picture

Commerical banks aren’t usually in the business of funding startups because of the incalculable risks-i.e banks like to see proven cash flow. Venture capital and investment banking are the usual financing routes for new companies but many funds are returning money back to investors because of a lack of investing opportunities. If you know of any viable business ventures that are faltering due to lack of funding please post of the details…

minus dog's picture

I don't need capital to start working with my own two hands.  But entrepreneurship isn't saving jack shit as long as both the tax code and the USC open you up to a whole world of hurt for breaking bullshit laws that you didn't know existed.  

It's just not worth it.  We're drifting into a damn police state... I can't walk down the fucking street without worrying about getting arrested, assaulted, or killed for some nonsense or other.  If that sounds over the top, tell that to any number of locals who've been shot on bullshit pretenses lately.

Justibone's picture

I agree that there is the potential for entrepreneurs to get going at some level even from their own savings.  Regulation is a big issue, though.  For example, at one point I considered a micro-business to make newspaper-route money doing something I liked... it lost the appeal when I realized that I would have to pay more for a license to CHARGE my clients income tax than I was likely to make from clients in my own state.

And that was a rule I did know about, imagine the ones I didn't know about!

Sean7k's picture

It would have been useful for the author to define intelligence. When you use a term repeatedly, it is important to define it. Most people associate it with educational prowess or IQ tests. Unfortunately, this is but one type of intelligence. Especially the IQ test, which in reality was a test designed to test for one's ability to succeed in college- not measure all intelligence. 

There are different types of intelligence, some have identified eight types of genius. I mention this because IMHO, different intelligences create different drivers in students generating different needs in education. 

As any Austrian knows, not everyone can be an entrepreneur. Not everyone is capable of reading the trends in society or recognizing the opportunities and costs associated with producing a new product. Education will not improve this. Life experience will not improve this. Therefore, most people are going to work for someone else regardless. In this situation, the standard education may be the best route to pursue. 

Not every person wants to be wealthy. Secure, yes. There are many ways to going about being secure, but money will provide no security if you choose to live with a mad person or in a place that is dangerous. Some just want to get by ( the story of the ant and the grasshopper being a good analogy). For them entrepreneurship may or may not be the answer.

The people that find an education beyond the traditional provided by the establishment will always succeed, because they thirst for knowledge. For those in rigid science, the present system is probably the best way to guarantee society you are well trained. Those who want nothing more than to live middle class, seek mild advancement and retire with some quality of life- college is going to do that. 

To rail against the lies of the establishment is similar to talking into the wind. It would be great if the leaders of the world wanted to advance the understanding of people. To improve their conceptual constructs, to encourage their understanding of power and wealth accumulation. However, if they did that, they would not be the leaders of the world. They seek a compliant work force. They want it as cheaply as possible. It must provide for their needs, wants and desires. They have designed the present system and continue to refine it in order to accomplish this goal. 

To swim against this tide is extremely difficult and requires great risk. For those capable, with great intelligence and better skill sets, there can be some success. However, they are a small minority- like the author. To expand this to the population as a whole would require leadership of another type. A leadership that has failed to materialize or accumulate any substantial support. This is the hard reality and the answer does not lie in informal education. 

Unfortunately, the people capable of providing this leadership are bereft the requisite motivation to succeed at all costs that is exhibited by our present overlords. Which is why we continue to hope the tide will change, that the necessary ten percent will "show up". We are leaders unwilling to risk the demands of this kind of  leadership.  

kaiserhoff's picture

Higher ed tends to make us super-specialists.  That can be profitable, but it is rarely satisfying on any other level.  We need to look at careers as lifestyle choices, not just what maximizes the bucks.

Also, I agree with Mercury.  There are no stable careers left outside of goverment and health care.  That's a sure sign of a dying society.

RichardP's picture

No stable careers in accounting?

MachoMan's picture

I dunno, I went with the shotgun approach (accounting and law).  Figured I'd find a meal ticket somewhere.

PS, I know an accountant that never gets out of his pajamas, works from home (palace), and pulls in a quarter mil a year in a land where the poverty level is ~$14k.

PS2, the CPA exam is vastly harder than the bar.

obewon's picture

@ JS Kim:

Most of your commentaries in the past have been excellent; this 3 part series is "very good" but could have been much better if you didn't "rush through it" (I realize you had a lot of ground to cover!). In summary, I believe you've performed a great service in exposing the failures and rigid structural problems associated with the US educational system.

However, as I scanned several responses above, I note that there were some valid points. One of my constructive criticisms lies in the organization of the vast amount of material here; perhaps a summary of your key points in the front of your long commentary would have helped. But as I've said in response to another reader's criticism, without a doubt, the US K-12 (and higher) schools represent a rigid system of indoctrination that has been proven to be a total failure; I believe that is the author's primary message."

VK's picture

Pointless article. The US and Western Civilization is facing collapse. What kids should be learning are basic skills, farming, plumbing, repair work etc. The future is bleak, the sooner we accept this fact, the faster we can rebuild once the great collapse occurs.

MachoMan's picture

My law school has pre-law undergrads call me wanting me to pony up cash as an alum.  The first two that called of the last three, I went into great detail how they should complete their degrees since they were so close and the degrees were relatively practical, e.g. business/science.  Then, once out, get a vocational degree and stay away from law school.  They are dumbfounded.  Pretty hilarious really...  they weren't expecting the onslaught. 

Of course, after going into a big schpiel about how the market is oversaturated and they'll make vastly more return on their time through vocational skills, they still have the gall to ask me if I want to donate money to an institution I've spent 20 minutes telling them is going to fail...  So, I just tell them to ignore it and go to law school...  and, of course, don't pay.  (mind you, my 1L year, the university got a $1b donation from walmart that was a "matching" donation, meaning, the university raised $2b...  squandered by now I'm sure...).

I told the third kid to take me off the list and tell everyone else to quit calling.

I already paid for the degree, what the fuck else do you idiots want?  Walmart doesn't ask me for donations...  it's a simple business exchange...  i pay you thousands of dollars and you babysit me and give me a piece of paper that says I'm ready for the world...  what's so difficult to understand?  Our relationship ended when you fulfilled your end of the bargain (you bill up front of course).  Piss off.

Needless to say, +1 on the vocational/practical knowledge route.  Better to get established now than in the ensuing flood.

MilleniumJane's picture

This has been a really good series...academia (business, economics, political science) has been having an out-of-body experience for the last thirty years or more.  It just doesn't do society any good to be floating above the maelstrom in the world of theory instead of getting ones hands dirty in the real world.  Why most people continue to trust the degrees from these "prestigious" institutions is beyond me.  This is just one of many things wrong with the system we have in place right now and maybe it's time the general populace realises that a degree from an Ivy League university does not necessarily measure the worth of a human being.  Grit, determination, common sense, ethics and empathy must factor in as well.  The education system as it currently stands continues to favor socio/psychopaths who can mimic these qualities while their actions show the true nature of their motivation. 

JW n FL's picture

There can be only one... one view!

As a child of the 1970's and 1980's... I can attest to the over use of stimulants in children!

Because I can naturaly multi task and you cant I should be doped up... becuase your kid is smarter than you he / she should be dumbed down to your sub sonic speed of stupidity? ___________ Loves Company!

Pills and kids dont mix, no if ands of buts.. if a kid needs pills he needs professional full time care. I can go on why that sentence is correct for a multiple of view points. LOL

I didnt hate the article... long winded... self rightous bullshit that you are bitching about is communicated easily thru your own writting. Oops!? not that bad though... guilt or genuine lack of money either way, the dumbing down of the masses... No child left behind...

Med school? Harvard or Miami? Ivey or South Beach? who is better? Oops!?

The reality is no one will suffer the longer 3 parter... except people like me or Dr.Likes to touch the kids wee wee's above me here.

divide_by_zero's picture

Todays educational system, which was compromised over the last 30-40 years by the progressives, is mainly there to indoctrinate, especially K-12. Any mandate to educate is a secondary function.

JW n FL's picture

There is a BIG! Fucking Club and YOU! aint in it!!!!!

George Carlin ~ The American Dream

drB's picture

This is one of the worst articles I have read on ZH for several reasons.
(1) The author claims that ritalin overuse is the result of education, if I read him correctly. This is complete bullshit - ritalin overuse is the result of lack of discipline in family. It is easier to make kid pop pills than actually work with him and make him behave. School has very little if anything to do with this.
(2) The author lumps all education together. I firmly believe that while most of social/inexact science education is just politically correct indoctrination and as such worthless, the exact sciences are still being taught reasonably well at college level. Would you like to hire a chemical engineer for an oil refinery from street and then watch the plant blow up, or would you hire someone who knows the science/technology required? Given, this engineer could be trained in 2-3 years instead of 4 IF he would not have to take crap courses in sensitivity and humanities.

In short, generalizations are STUPID. The self-righteous tone of article is not much different from lectures with a PC bend. If you want to analyze an issue, do not generalize and look at it from several angles instead of writing a propaganda pamphlet.

obewon's picture


Without a doubt, the US K-12 (and higher) schools represent a rigid system of indoctrination that has been proven to be a total failure; I believe that is the author's primary message.

Take a hard look at the K-12 equivalent schools in China or in Turkey, for example. Completely different styles, and completely different approaches. Yet these countries do a far better job than the US in preparing their young for the workplace.

You are correct that ritalin overuse is the result of lack of discipline at home; but I believe you've misinterpreted the author's intent regarding the frequent use of ritalin in our schools.

Ritalin is not "the result of education"; ritalin is the crutch that is used by those who work within an extremely poor K-12 education system to simply "cope with a subset of their students."

Disclaimer: I'm a retired engineer; I taught math & science for only one year in a foreign school, where the approach and methods used are diametrically opposite those in the US.

drB's picture

I am not sure if the biggest problem is indoctrination (I do not deny that there IS indoctrination). I am familiar with US, East European, and S-E Asian educational systems. The difference is giving in to laziness and stupidity in US system where everyone gets the credit/passes just because they try. You can not tell to a kid that he is a lazy moron even though it is true. Result is idiots with overinflated self esteem and very little basic science knowledge whose only skill is to BULLSHIT.
With respect to ritalin, an interesting question one has to ask is what % of girls vs. boys are medicated. From what I have seen very few girls are medicated relative to boys. Basically one can argue that they are trying to make boys behave like girls - not be very active and curious.
Also, misbehaving at school IS the result of lack of discipline at home. I do not think that SE Asian or East European kids misbehave less because the school curriculum is very interesting (author says "boredom or other possibilities" as a reason for misbehaving). They misbehave less because they are taught at home how to behave and at school they have CONSEQUENCES other than being medicated for misbehaving. In this passage author also says that education apparently has to be interesting. That is the stupid idea which they try to introduce, unsuccessfully, in K-12 education here. Education has to give knowledge instead of being cool and interesting.

jdrose1985's picture

Education has to give knowledge instead of being cool and interesting.

HAS to? Do people become successful at things they find mundane and pointless? You've probably made a career out of it.


drB's picture

1. Do you find calculus interesting? I do not, but I find it useful and scientists need to know calculus.
2. How do you know what is my career and what/how I do there? Arguments should involve discussion instead of clumsy attempts at insults.
3. You talk like K-12 educators whose methods of education make US kids less educated, more indoctrinated, and more stupid than Asian kids. Have not seen any Japanese or Korean educators caring about anything else than giving knowledge.

RichardP's picture

Giving knowledge can be done in an interesting way or in a boring way.  The personality and style of teachers do make a difference in helping kids pay attention, or not.  And we learn what we pay attention to.

drB's picture

True, but the point is learning instead of making learning cool and enjoyable. Learning is hard work which is not understood in US, at least at high school.

MachoMan's picture

So how exactly is entrepreneurship going to pull us out when credit is contracting/unavailable and growth prospects are small/nil?  That's like telling a slave all he has to do is invent a new shovel.

Entrepreneurship isn't going to pull us out of anything.  Simply put, it's going to be the only vehicle available to put food on the table and will probably provide little more if it even accomplishes this rudimentary goal...  for a significant period moving forward.  The pie will not be expanding....  the only "growth" available will be via cannibalization.

Further, it was precisely entrepreneurship that got us in this mess...  the attempt to create wealth where none exists...  most of us live in an entrepreneurial desert.

Justibone's picture

"Further, it was precisely entrepreneurship that got us in this mess...  the attempt to create wealth where none exists...  most of us live in an entrepreneurial desert."

You are confused.

It was criminal behavior that created the problem.  Criminal behavior is a net negative, always, because it 1) reallocates resources inefficiently and 2) inhibits production.

1) Criminals will not put money/resources to productive use.  They will either squander it or use it for more criminal enterprise.

2) Stealing resources from productive people disincentivizes them to produce, as well as removing from them the means to increase their productive activities.  Furthermore it could distract them from their productivity while they invent or conceive of means to protect themselves from further theft.

Entrepreneurs find the inefficiencies in the system and exploit those opportunities to create production from waste.  They are anti-entropic.  They are immensely useful to society in general, but high rates of confiscation as well as regulation, and low rates of security, discourage entrepreneurism.

So, there's a brief lesson on what it really means to be an entrepreneur.

Good luck overcoming that nasty little case of anti-capitalist false knowledge you seem to have caught! :D

MachoMan's picture

I don't know if you're not familiar with me or what, so I'll save you a background story.  Needless to say, I'm familiar with the substance of your post and am not in general disagreement.  In short, you have missed the point of the statement.  I'll rephrase it for you, "given the lack of entrepreneurial opportunity our economic environment presents, persons are incentivized to lie, cheat, and steal from others despite setting up shop as otherwise upstanding businessmen."  It was meant as nothing more than a statement on our money changers' rise to prominance over the last few decades and the papering over of our job losses.

Further, I have a few issues with your post.  First, our legal system is not the arbiter of what is "productive".  Criminal behavior may be productive, neutral, or nonproductive.  It simply depends upon the activity and whether society values intangibles or other aspects more than the efficient use of resources.  For example, if I drove 55 in a 25 mph zone, then I would probably conserve more gas, but this might put me more at risk to strike a pedestrian, crash, or some other calamity.  For additional example, drugs have been criminalized.  Does a pot grower not put money or resources to productive use?  As a society, we make laws that balance factors other than simple production or the maximization or perfect realization of resource allocation.  Criminality involves qualitative factors, not just quantitative.

Second, it is presumptuous to say that it was criminal behavior that created the problem given we have no criminal convictions.  Given that the "criminals" are also the arbiters of what constitutes crime, you're left largely with an unfalsifiable statement (since "crime" itself changes over time).

Third, and probably most significantly, you have to be able to draw a distinction between a capitalist/productive person and a criminal.  In our present situation, it will likely be found that the last 40+ years have actually been the results of entrepreneurs attempting to shed themselves of "high rates of confiscation, regulation, and low rates of security."  In other words, the entire credit system is nothing more than a cancer planted by the original entrepreneurs to kill the result of collective bargaining, which at this point means the death of sovereigns and the survival of the entrepreneurs.  In other words, at what point does an entrepreneur attempting to circumvent confiscation of the bounty of his labor become a criminal?  You seem to think there is some easy distinction/bright line between the two.  Needless to say, the world is not that simple.

Waubay's picture

I have taught for 12 years in public education.  I tell all my students that being smart counts for very little toward doing well in life.  Being smart only makes a few things easier.  What education does/should teach is time management skills, how to study, the ability to organize, focus, and work with others.  With these skills under their belt they can be successful in any arena.  Unfortunately none of these things can be measured on a standardized test.  As far as learning information I must go to the oft repeated meme, "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink."  I personally believe that most informational knowledge is learned on one's own.  My job is to help these kids develop the skills and give them a general introduction to many different areas that may spark their interest.

Anonymau5's picture

I absolutely agree. In my personal academic experience - this is precisely what I took away from college, and the only thing that was worth value.  sure we learned all about science and math and economics, but none of that was anything I couldn't get from the library.  It was the development and refinement of a process for assimilating this information and digesting it into knowledge that may be applied in life's context that proves the most valuable.

pyite's picture

I couldn't agree with you more.  In addition to this, everyone should get an education in money - home economics on steroids.  I wish we had that drilled into our heads when I was in school, but this wasn't required at all.


Mercury's picture

Yeah, the Obama's mega-corp/government dominated future is so bright for entrepreneurs in this country you might have to wear shades.  Carpe fucking diem.

Get a government job.  Any government job - it doesn't even matter.  You'll be the last man standing.   And tell your kids this every night before they go to bed. That's the future.

obewon's picture

@ Mercury:

Your cynicism is well justified!

Obama's fascist vision is creating the reality of George Orwell's profound book (nineteen eighty four).

rwe2late's picture

 The author's overgeneralizations lend themselves too easily to a reactionary anti-intellectualism.

 A graduate of business school or engineering is unlikely to have studied the same topics as a history, philosophy, or anthropology  graduate.

Perhaps the author was contending that business education is not of much use, even for business. If so, that point was lost in his muddled attack on a straw man position that purportedly claims college education makes one more "intelligent". Obviously, refuting that straw man position,  then conflating intelligence with learning, then generalizing that all college education is the same as business education, all hardly  makes a case for spurning formal education altogether.

 Other than dropping out to avoid business studies, isn't there  an alternative possibility that fields other than business may be worthy of study?

Gordon_Gekko's picture

I will contend that history, geology (and perhaps even anthropology) are almost as screwed up in today's "educational system" as business and economics.

Cui Bono's picture

Anthropology is FUBAR.... every bit as bad as econ....

Citxmech's picture

I have to agree.  If all you want from an education is the path to the most money - sure there are many alternate avenues - and some are more efficient if you have the aptitude.  And if you don't have the aptitude, you're asking too much from the system if you expect it to supply you with it.  Education educates - it doesn't make you "smarter."  Regardless, for certain tasks, a formal education is critical.  I don't know many self-taught surgeons, molecular biologists, or engineers.

I have an advanced academic degree, as well as many years of education in the trades [formal and OTJ], and I wouldn't trade either for anything.

Both have their place.

Desenstematic's picture

The author fails to side-step his own educational indoctrination by equating the point of education with "money making."  Shows how strong of a force the Ivys really wield - that the author can come so close and not see it.  By the author's logic, the education system should focus on something like how to efficiently steal – perhaps they do?  The indoctrination is a multi part poundage of "money making" as the ultimate goal of life.  It is hard not to feel for those who have succeeded in this goal...left with a quiet emptiness of its false reality. 

Cpl Hicks's picture

fareast-font-family...any relation to the Saudi royal family?

Just wondered.

apberusdisvet's picture

I have advanced degrees from two of the elites.  None of my coursework was attributable to any of the success I've had.  The key advantage, and perhaps the only one, was that the degrees got me in the door to corporate entities who could teach me, first hand, the ins-and-outs of their particular businesses.  On-the-job training, as it were.  The degrees allowed me to vault the intern stage directly into upper middle management.  BTW, I agree with Kim that the economics courses I took from Nobel winners was relatively useless.  The real world is 180 degrees from academia.

Azannoth's picture

"The Astounding Failure of the US Educational System" theres nothing 'astounding' it's all by design

NotApplicable's picture

Nor is it a failure, but rather quite successful. Boobus Americanus is what they wanted, and Boobus Americanus is what we've got.

For anyone who disagrees, I'd recommend reading John Taylor Gatto, although it will make you sick to your stomach as the reality sinks in.