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Bill Gross: "College Is Worthless"

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Tue, 06/21/2011 - 08:41 | 1388461 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture

Student loans exceed credit card debts.

Someone should be jailed for allowing such a travesty to occur...but of course that won't happen.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 08:56 | 1388504 doesmybuttlookf...
doesmybuttlookfatinthis's picture

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades,
I gotta wear shades

I've got a job waiting for my graduation
Fifty thou a year -- buys a lot of beer
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

Well I'm heavenly blessed and worldly wise
I'm a peeping-tom techie with x-ray eyes
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades

(instrumental break)

I study nuclear science
I love my classes
I got a crazy teacher, he wears dark glasses
Things are going great, and they're only getting better
I'm doing all right, getting good grades
The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades
I gotta wear shades


We're fresh out of shades but we are running a special on blindfolds and cigarettes.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:05 | 1388533 Ray1968
Ray1968's picture

Ah yes, the mid 1980's. Things did look brighter back then.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:20 | 1388612 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

College has been such a bust, it's even getting real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot, lately, dog.

Whole Foods Parking Lot - Music Video [HD]
Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:36 | 1388672 knukles
knukles's picture

Studying nuclear science!
A bang up bright bloody future.
New need for better obsolete out of warranty reactor design.
New and imporved weaponry.
Kid's got it fucking made and cynical as all hell.
Maybe some real time unemployed dripping with angst and anxiety attacks'll do him some good.

This world is soooooooooooooo screwed.

Have McIlroy hand out golf balls to kids in Haiti.  Fuck yeah, use 'em to hunt buzzards. 

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:43 | 1388692 Leopold B. Scotch
Leopold B. Scotch's picture

"If you want to get laid, go to college.  If you want an education, go to a library." 

-- Frank Zappa

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:55 | 1389152 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

Although I totally agree with Zappa, the issue isn't about an education.  It's about a DEGREE.

Shit, you can't even get a bullshit $9/hr job in this market with a degree at this point.  It's an overstatement to say college is "worthless." 

Its value is in helping you get a soul-crushing, mind-numbing position of wage-slave for a few years here or there until market conditions change and you're displaced and need to find another.  That's a bit tougher with just a high-school diploma.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:59 | 1389158 the left behinds
the left behinds's picture

+1 His Dad always said "go and educate yourself"

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 12:02 | 1389166 the left behinds
the left behinds's picture


Tue, 06/21/2011 - 12:02 | 1389169 CPL
CPL's picture

Smartest man I know is also the poorest I know and he lives in the library.  When he's at the pub fights nearly break out for NTN trivia night to partner with him.  So if anyone plays NTN and sees a little blip in the top ten in NTN coming from the Ottawa Valley, that's William. (not Bill or Will, William)


other than shaking down the township and surrounding area for around 800 a week for anyone stupid and drunk enough to say they know something, he's the Janitor at the High school and rink on top of his community stuff.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 12:14 | 1389222 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

The evil corrupter of youth is going to take him from Step One, Which is a mere high-school diploma stuffed with a gym sock, To Step Two, Which is a college-degree stuffed with absolutely nothing at all. Smoke that and it'll really get you out there!


"Dummy Up" from "Roxy & Elsewhere" - FZ

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 19:42 | 1390761 janus
janus's picture

oh i sincerely miss those heavy-metal bands

we used to go see by the landing in the summer...

she fell in love with the drummer

another and another

she fell in love...

I miss the innocence I've known

rain-kissed colors beautiful and chrome


a double-kick drum by the landing in the summer

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 08:56 | 1388514 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

They call it higher education

  I call it debt indoctrination (oh yeah)

They feed us pablum extroadonnaire

  Only empty rhetoric on the menu there;

Held hostage in an ivy jail

   "Thou shalt spew thy rhetoric" (or fail);

Tuition must rise five, seven, nine percent!

   As our PhDs are tenured in cement;

Alas, the impenetrable, academia wall...

   Is the greatest ponzi of them all.


-in my sopwith camel





Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:15 | 1388550 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture

"Fiscal balance alone will not likely produce 20 million jobs over the next decade. Government must take a leading role in job creation."

They will... more Government jobs. Why you may ask? Because their retards!!! Retarding us back to the 3rd world. "He's Brilliant..."

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 12:04 | 1388767 maximin thrax
maximin thrax's picture

In order to keep the college loan bubble going, government must increase in size to create jobs for graduates to keep up "demand" for degrees, as it has been doing for some time.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 10:58 | 1388972 Hedgetard55
Hedgetard55's picture

"Government must take a leading role in job creation."



Tue, 06/21/2011 - 14:42 | 1389715 malek
malek's picture


Gov't has never created productive, sustainable jobs. The best thing they can do is GET OUT OF THE WAY.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:11 | 1389007 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

That's what jumped out at me. Classic Keynesism bullshit. So, we spent $25 billion on infrastructure to produce 150,000 jobs. And somehow that utter failure in terms of dollars spent to jobs created equates to the Government must take a leading role in job creation. Bill Gross is a perfect example of how just because you're rich doesn't mean that you're not also a retard.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:20 | 1388596 centerline
centerline's picture

I would start by asking who here does not know that money = debt?

The whole college thing is just another damn bubble.  It is a desperate attempt to keep debt creation moving forward to avoid a deflationary collapse of the system.  The money (debt) created here finds its way right back to where you think it goes.

Oh, and this plan is downright fucking evil.  The loans cant be discharged like other debts.  They are saddled on the youngest in the workforce.  And the whole things perpetuated by playing on the fears of the students and parents that without a degree, they will be doomed to a life of poverty.

Every one of these damn bubble plays on some vice or fear.  When will people reallize this and stop getting duped?  This particular bubble is so damn big it is slapping people right in the face and calling them "bitch." Yet, the herd has been programmed to ignore instinct and simply follow.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:32 | 1388673 Eternal Student
Eternal Student's picture

I would start by asking how many people Gross has hired recently who don't have a college degree, and who get paid anything decent?

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:51 | 1388702 Leopold B. Scotch
Leopold B. Scotch's picture

I think you miss his point: the Ponzi finance economy is coming to a close.  U.S. citizens actually need to produce stuff.... Stuff = wealth. 

Finance for finance sake that enables some businesses to exist is not wealth. It's inflated asset prices. 

Money shuffling by the money shufflers on Wall Street is not wealth creation, it's scalping dollar holders and wealth producers by inflating credit that becomes magically imbued with purchasing power at the expense of the former, who are then correspondingly stunted.

An economy based on selling each other mortgages, financing, legal services, tax compliance, regulatory compliance, etc., doesn't produce shit -- especially when enabled through monetary policy alone.  It merely  parasitically consumes its host (the actual wealth producers constantly giving up pound upon pound of flesh via taxes and inflation) until the host falls to the ground and dies.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 13:21 | 1389451 hbjork1
hbjork1's picture

A favorate little thought experiment from my working days was, when disgrunteled with a job, was to go look in the mirror and think about what I could really do well in a pinch.  Then ask myself; "What would I hire me for."  "What can I actually do that someone else might want to buy."

Works wonders for motivation.

Thu, 06/23/2011 - 20:19 | 1397066 Eternal Student
Eternal Student's picture

While I agree that the Ponzi scheme is coming to a close, my point is that it's rather hypocritical of Gross to be telling others not to pursue a college education as a golden ticket, when that's the only type of person he would hire. Let's see him put his money where his mouth is. Until then, the fact remains that a college education is the only way to have a chance at the golden ticket. You can't win if you don't play.

Even after the Ponzi collapses, the good paying jobs are still going to require a college education. Perhaps I'm wrong, so let me know when Gross stops requiring one in order to be hired at Pimco.

Until then, he's just a hypocrit.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 10:11 | 1388792 Manthong
Manthong's picture

The university system is no different from the banking system.

They both operate with different variants of the same model.

They both indenture the masses to sustain a system of elites.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:05 | 1388990 mickeyman
mickeyman's picture

A major reason for the problems with university education is that it is a consumer good rather than a useful good. Middle class parents dream of having their kids have a university education--then are vague on what the kid needs it for. 

In Canada, it is well known that there is a huge impending shortage in skilled labour--but no parents want their kids to be plumbers or carpenters--they send them to universities, and the universities in response expand into useless programs like management or generic environmental science programs using courses with no labs so that the graduates have no actual skills or ability to do anything but be lobbyists.

The second problem is that the universities' principal goal is no longer research or education--it is raising money. As here: http://worldcomplex.blogspot.com/2010/08/universities-whats-wrong-with-them.html

When I first taught university courses (in environmental geology) in the early 90's, the goal of the program was to produce students who could work as geologists, but who enough practical knowledge of environmental issues to do something useful with them (normally clean-up of contaminated sites). Courses were small and all had lab work.

I went off to work in the field for some time, and when I returned to teach some fifteen years later, I found that the program had metastasized into one with enormous (600+ student classes with no lab component or any practical experience. The reason was money--the tuition received by the department for 600 students is enormous, and with no labs and a cheap part-time lecturer in front of the class, was nearly pure profit for the department. Twenty years ago there had only been one such course in the program--whereas five years ago, the entire program (except for a few courses in the final year) was composed of such courses. There are no resources for marking essays, so all students learn how to take multiple choice exams and how to memorize facts from powerpoint presentations, but do not learn how to think critically or write.

From time to time I would talk to some of these students and ask what they wanted to do with this course. Most students were in a program called "management". I had no idea what that was. I asked them why they didn't become engineers or chemists or something useful and then take an MBA, but only got blank looks in response. I left teaching again because it felt dirty teaching as part of a program that leads nowhere.

Back in industry--when hiring, we assume any university graduate knows absolutely nothing.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 13:23 | 1389456 hbjork1
hbjork1's picture

+ 10 mickeyman.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 13:33 | 1389482 Strider52
Strider52's picture

So True MickeyMan! I'm a computer engineer, I couldn't afford college, so I learned it all by getting jobs starting at the bottom - soldering, production, testing, etc. I moved up by reading all of the technical manuals I could get my hands on, which occassionally involved stealing books - again, no money after rent, beer, etc.

  Now I'm a top designer - I developed the storage system for one of the first CAT-scan machine when I was 23. I'm now 53 and I have done it ALL, every language, every processor. No college at all.

  I'm amazed when we hire someone who has a BS in Computer Science, and can't find pin 1 on a chip.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 14:17 | 1389642 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

I build my own computers. But what is the 50 pound dinosaur good for anyway? Anything I can do here except gaming can now be done in one hand with 4G. All built by Chinese workers who are essentially chained to the desk by day and stacked like cordwood by night in anti-suicide protected boxes.


Yes Wife and I did go to college, but we did not learn much of anything. Yes Wife got a 4 year, but it is a shit peice of paper added to a mountain out back on the dumpster pad.

That's right, college is BULLSHIT. Real life, Real work will get you educated fast in what matters or not. The rest are killed, maimed or otherwise removed from the work because they did not learn the first time around.


And the school we went to? They got bigger in the last ten years... more bling, more this more that and tuition goes even higher. As I type this people are lining up to sign thier life away in the financial aid office. All they are being told is sign here get X dollars, sign these three get much more funding.

And what do these 19 year olds do? Buy a car. The coolest biggest ride they can find.

Then struggle and starve for the next 4 years if they even get past the first year.

You can literally see it in the service jobs that don't pay for shit in this area. The young ones tired and exhausted, sometimes with a baby to deal with.

The biggest thing to cap of my daily rant.... the text books. They re essentailly 120 or so per class. Good for three months. Picked by the teacher giving the class.

Those books were sold back hardly touched. To finance new books for the next three months.

You say OMG Untouched!!!! WHY! I say "Google" knows all.

Just don't copy and paste writing assignments, they check that too.


Good luck grasshopper.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 14:41 | 1389712 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

can't find pin 1 on a chip


They're numbered?

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 16:31 | 1390065 heloc
heloc's picture

I do have a CS degree and can say it has made a world of difference when I compare my skill set to what I call the hacker self taught group I have worked with overt the last 26 years - sure in a CS degree you are forced to learn compiler construction etc and for one I have found no software development project(software side)  in the business world as difficult as my compiler construction class and I have worked as a software engineer designing and building cellular billing and call rating systems and tax revenue collection(it was a job somebody had  to  do it...) systems etc from the scratch ground up as programmer, team lead and project manager for software development/consulting companies, only 3 different firms in 26 years with  - all I can say is the skills I was forced to  learn as a computer science major have enabled me  to be very productive very fast no matter what the hardware or software environment, I would imagine the same can be said for any engineering degree too – the business skills are the easy ones to learn on the job – I would consider it a waste of time to go back  to school and get an MBA cause  I  doubt that it would teach me much more than what I have learned on the job. 

I guess I could say the same thing about the CS degree if the shoe was on the other foot, but I think we all would agree it’s easier to learn soft business skills on the job compared to technical skills on the job which have no room for error.  But given today’s cost of tuition there is something to be said for the votech and on the job apprentice type training  in the technical areas, it depends on what  you are called on to do  in your job – if you have to think critically and work on your own you better have learned those types of skills before you ever  step foot into a professional position.  Also the breath of skills you bring to the table as a trained engineer is much greater which lends itself to problem solving levels and insight initially far greater than a self taught or limited voteh training would provide, off course this all depends on the individual and  their intellect and aptitude for the job at hand – all things being equal except the education the engineering degree will put you in a different league with more options and more places to work then a hacker, on the job, votech trained individual.   Off course you will have to do an ROI on your degree and tuition costs to know the best path to take – this is what  I am trying to get my teenage kids to realize – its all about the ROI on their education, not just about getting an education…


Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:04 | 1389003 NumberNone
NumberNone's picture

This is another bubble allowed by cheap credit.  Universities have been allowed to become bloated pigs due to the fact that they can shove the students toward easy-to-get student loans.  Why should they give a shit about raising tuition $10,000 a year when the students/parents can go to the Admin office and get the money to pay for it in the form of a loan? 

Also, not their problem if they send the graduates out to the workplace ill-equipped to find a job...they got paid.  Siemen's has 3,200 open jobs in the US right now and is hiring recruiters to scour the country to find qualified candidates because the talent pool in the US sucks.  With a bloated university system and almost 10% unemployment this is a fucking disgrace. 

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 12:52 | 1389348 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Siemen's has 3,200 open jobs in the US right now and is hiring recruiters to scour the country to find qualified candidates because the talent pool in the US sucks.  With a bloated university system and almost 10% unemployment this is a fucking disgrace. 


Stop dreaming. It only shows that the recruiters can afford being extremely selective in hiring people.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 14:23 | 1389651 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

That too.

I thought instantly that the Siemen's are cherry picking the least blighted and best looking crop in a Nation rapidly rotting on the couch.

It will take Siemens a little longer to complete the hiring as they do. But they will get it done.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 08:38 | 1388462 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

Is it troubling because it's Marxist? - or is it troubling because if he's right about this, then he could well be right about everything....and where will we be then?


You can criticise Marx all you want about Communism - but he knew Capitalism better than any man - which is why 95% of what he wrote was about Capitalism. Not that you'll find that knowledge in any American text book - Marx is cleverly associated with Communism...and therefore Stalinism. The bogeyman to motivate the American people into order.

...and hasn't it worked well. The grandest robbery in history and not one riot in the USA - except over football of course!


BTW "wealth creation via financial assets" - is not true, you cannot create wealth with financial assets, merely extract wealth from wealth producing industries - like manufacturing for example - where the labour force provides the wealth to the industry.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 08:42 | 1388476 AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

Actually, your narrative is older than Marx and co. It dates back to Smith.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 08:54 | 1388500 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

True - but Smith could only describe it as 'the invisible hand' - but Marx ellaborated and clarified it - and then the capitalists duly ignored it.

Hey they even invented the FED to get around the problem by devaluing the currency - a 'fix' which has lasted nearly 70 years (except for the times when it didn't)

If people could be bothered to read Marx - they might understand why all their jobs went abroad (surplus value and the tedency of the rate of profit to fall) - instead of just moaning about it and blaming the Government like a 4 year old might blame his Mummy for banging his head.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:05 | 1388546 Terminus C
Terminus C's picture

But... reading Marx would be a liberal arts education and therefore of no value.

I get Gross' point about college being a holding area for youth unemployed but to disparage an entire knowledge set diminishes his point.

I also agree that Marx is one of the most misunderstood philosophers/economists out there.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:23 | 1388627 Bob
Bob's picture

Agreed.  As for Gross' vision of a brave new world, an education would no longer provide classical tools for meta-critique of larger systems and their assumptions . . . which would seem beyond the appropriate concerns of the new globally competitive labor class and be best left to the informed expertise of the ruling elite.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 17:43 | 1390406 Boop
Boop's picture

Which is why liberal arts education is still important.

Who else is going to lead the riots?

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:49 | 1388714 ZakuKommander
ZakuKommander's picture

The better "holding area" for youth unemployed would be a program of national service for one or two years.  Whether it's the armed services, the peace corps, a job corps, or whatever, it would have to be something that, as Gross suggests, builds real world skills, maturity and self-confidence.  

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 10:05 | 1388777 writingsonthewall
writingsonthewall's picture

"skills, maturity and self-confidence" - what for - to go and fight wars?


Surely human progression is driven by thought and not just labour. We work to produce, but we think to produce better.

Stopping the ability for everyone to 'think' gives you 2 problems.

1) You don't progress and are doomed to a life of manual repetitive labour

2) It allows the fascists in as they find it easy to manipulate the populus - like claiming that 'bailing out banks' is doing us all a favour by throwing around some meaningless acronyms in the MSM making people glorify the king with no clothes.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:08 | 1389005 mickeyman
mickeyman's picture

You are advocating slave labour.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 14:20 | 1389656 HungrySeagull
HungrySeagull's picture

It is a form of slave labor. Think about it. Even the wages are not enough to get you to advance. They don't want the people to turn around and buy the employer out.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:52 | 1388726 ZakuKommander
ZakuKommander's picture

The better "holding area" for youth unemployed would be a program of national service for one or two years.  Whether it's the armed services, the peace corps, a job corps, or whatever, it would have to be something that, as Gross suggests, builds real world skills, maturity and self-confidence.  

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 09:56 | 1388754 ZakuKommander
ZakuKommander's picture

The better "holding area" for youth unemployed would be a program of national service for one or two years.  Whether it's the armed services, the peace corps, a job corps, or whatever, it would have to be something that, as Gross suggests, builds real world skills, maturity and self-confidence.  

The early Marx generated superb thoughts on human nature, and as several have noted, his insights into the darker aspects of capitalism were well conceived.  He has been demonized by TPTB of the capitalist world.  It's amusing to see certain ZHers attack Marx, not understanding that they are falling into the precise mindset that TPTB desire.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:45 | 1389111 damage
damage's picture

It's amusing to read what idiots like you type.

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:53 | 1389122 Bob
Bob's picture

Irony of ironies, being so hyped up on "freedom" and all.  Wait 'til the mother fuckers don't have their money . . . and their new peers recognize them as the guys who helped lay the bricks for the brave new world we all--or mostly all--then share and share alike.     

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 11:55 | 1389155 damage
damage's picture

So ironic d00d. OMG LOL


Yeah, those capitalists will be laughing when the marxsexts phase out the money and everyone uses democracy to allocate goods man!

Tue, 06/21/2011 - 15:31 | 1389893 Harmonious_Diss...
Harmonious_Dissonance's picture

DooD! Damage, your a fucktard.

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