Bill Gross: "College Is Worthless"

Tyler Durden's picture

A few weeks ago we pointed out what may be the most troubling (and Marxist) observation in America's labor arena, namely that the labor's share of national income has dropped to the lowest in history as a record number of Americans now focus on wealth creation through assets (i.e. owners of capital) instead of labor. In his just released latest letter (below) Bill Gross piggybacks on this observation in what is one of the most scathing notes blasting the traditional of higher education, and in essence claiming that college, as means of perpetuating a broken employment status quo whcih redirect labor to a now-expiring Wall Street labor model, is now worthless: "The past
several decades have witnessed an erosion of our manufacturing base in
exchange for a reliance on wealth creation via financial assets. Now,
as that road approaches a dead-end cul-de-sac via interest rates that
can go no lower, we are left untrained, underinvested and overindebted
relative to our global competitors.
The precipitating
cause of our structural employment break is both internal neglect and
external competition. Blame us. Blame them. There’s plenty of blame to
go around." And why college graduates have only a 6 digit loan to look forward to: "American citizens and its universities have experienced an ivy-laden ivory tower for the past half century. Students, however, can no longer assume that a four year degree will be the golden ticket to a good job in a global economy that cares little for their social networking skills and more about what their labor is worth on the global marketplace." And some very bad news for the communists in the White House and the chimpanzees in the San Francisco Fed who continue to believe that unemployment is anything but structural: "The “golden” days are over, and it’s time our school and jobs “daze” comes to an end to be replaced by programs that do more than mimic failed establishment policies favoring Wall as opposed to Main Street."

From Bill Gross of PIMCO

School Daze, School Daze Good Old Golden Rule Days

  • The
    past several decades have witnessed an erosion of our manufacturing
    base in exchange for a reliance on wealth creation via financial assets.
  •  Fiscal balance alone will not likely produce 20 million jobs over
    the next decade. Government must take a leading role in job creation. 
  • A growing number of skeptics wonder whether college is worth the time or the cost.

A mind is a precious thing to waste, so why are millions of America’s
students wasting theirs by going to college? All of us who have been
there know an undergraduate education is primarily a four year vacation
interrupted by periodic bouts of cramming or Google plagiarizing, but at
least it used to serve a purpose. It weeded out underachievers and
proved at a minimum that you could pass an SAT test. For those who made
it to the good schools,
it proved that your parents had enough money to either bribe
administrators or hire SAT tutors to increase your score by 500 points.
And a degree represented that the graduate could “party hearty” for long
stretches of time and establish social networking skills that would
prove invaluable later on at office cocktail parties or interactively
via Facebook. College was great as long as the jobs were there.

Now, however, a growing number of skeptics wonder whether it’s worth the time or
the cost. Peter Thiel, an early investor in Facebook and head of
Clarium Capital, a long-standing hedge fund, has actually established a
foundation to give 20 $100,000 grants to teenagers who would drop out of
school and become not just tech entrepreneurs but world-changing
visionaries. College, in his and the minds of many others, is
stultifying and outdated – overpriced and mismanaged – with very little
value created despite the bump in earnings power that universities use
as their raison d’être in our modern world of money.

Fact: College tuition
has increased at a rate 6% higher than the general rate of inflation for
the past 25 years, making it four times as expensive relative to other
goods and services as it was in 1985. Subjective explanation:
University administrators have a talent for increasing top line
revenues via tuition, but lack the spine necessary to upgrade academic
productivity. Professorial tenure and outdated curricula focusing on
liberal arts instead of a more practical global agenda focusing on math
and science are primary culprits.

Fact: The average
college graduate now leaves school with $24,000 of debt and total
student loans now exceed this nation’s credit card debt at $1.0 trillion
and counting (7% of our national debt). Subjective explanation:
Universities are run for the benefit of the adult establishment, both
politically and financially, not students. To radically change the
system and to question the sanctity of a college education would be to
jeopardize trillions of misdirected investment dollars and financial
obligations.

Conclusion to ponder:
American citizens and its universities have experienced an ivy-laden
ivory tower for the past half century. Students, however, can no longer
assume that a four year degree will be the golden ticket to a good job
in a global economy that cares little for their social networking skills
and more about what their labor is worth on the global marketplace.

Fareed Zakaria, as usual, has a well-thought-out solution. “We need,”
he writes, “a program as ambitious as the GI Bill,” but one that
focuses on retraining existing unemployed workers and redirecting our
future students. Instead of liberal arts, he suggests focusing on
technical education, technical institutes and polytechnics as well as
apprenticeship programs. Our penchant for focusing on high tech
value-added jobs should be modified and redirected, he claims, to mimic
the German path, which allows people with good technical skills but
limited college education to earn a decent living.

One thing college does do is to keep 25 million students off the
unemployment rolls, much like it did for me when I went on my own four
year vacation. The world was a different oyster in 1966, however, and it
behooves America to recognize the reversal and the necessity for
significant changes if it is to compete in the global marketplace of the
21st century.

It is becoming obvious that the 2012 election will be fought on a
battlefield of job creation. A 9.1% official unemployment rate, and a
number nearly double that when discouraged and part-time workers are
included in the rolls, portend an angry and disillusioned electorate,
which will include millions of jobless college graduates ill-trained to
compete in the global marketplace. Over the past 10 years under both
Democratic and Republican administrations, only 1.8 million jobs have
been created while the available labor force has grown by over 15
million. It is clear, however, that neither party has an awareness of the why or the wherefores of how to put America back to work again.
Few economic advisors from either party ever mention structural
long-term disconnects in employment – a recognition that cyclical
influences will no longer dominate the U.S. labor market. Manufacturing
and goods exports have ceded enormous ground to China and other
developing labor markets, as America’s reliance on services and high
tech innovation has exposed gaping holes in an historically successful
model. Almost any industry dominated or significantly connected to
finance and financial leverage has hit the canvas and stayed down in the
aftermath of Lehman 2008. Housing construction, real estate brokerage,
banking and consumer retail employment will likely never come back to
levels dominated by our prior decade’s excessive leverage and its abuse
leading to overconsumption. Because of that focus, a “shovel-ready,”
vigorous manufacturing sector is not there to pick up the slack.

Similarly, the high tech paragons of the 21st century – Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook et al. – never were
employers of high school or B.A. college graduates in significant
numbers. Production of hardware, to the extent that any was needed,
quickly gravitated to foreign ports of call where workers were willing
to produce an excellent product for 1/10th of the U.S. wage. The past
several decades have witnessed an erosion of our manufacturing base in
exchange for a reliance on wealth creation via financial assets. Now,
as that road approaches a dead-end cul-de-sac via interest rates that
can go no lower, we are left untrained, underinvested and overindebted
relative to our global competitors.
The precipitating
cause of our structural employment break is both internal neglect and
external competition. Blame us. Blame them. There’s plenty of blame to
go around.

Solutions from policymakers on the right or left, however, seem
focused almost exclusively on rectifying or reducing our budget deficit
as a panacea. While Democrats favor tax increases and mild adjustments
to entitlements, Republicans pound the table for trillions of dollars of
spending cuts and an axing of Obamacare. Both, however,
somewhat mystifyingly, believe that balancing the budget will magically
produce 20 million jobs over the next 10 years
. President
Obama’s long-term budget makes just such a claim and Republican
alternatives go many steps further. Former Governor Pawlenty of
Minnesota might be the Republicans’ extreme example, but his claim of 5%
real growth based on tax cuts and entitlement reductions comes out of
left field or perhaps the field of dreams. The United States has not had
a sustained period of 5% real growth for nearly 60 years.

Both parties, in fact, are moving to anti-Keynesian policy
orientations, which deny additional stimulus and make rather awkward and
unsubstantiated claims that if you balance the budget, “they will
come.” It is envisioned that corporations or investors will somehow
overnight be attracted to the revived competitiveness of the U.S. labor
market: Politicians feel that fiscal conservatism equates to job growth.
It’s difficult to believe, however, that an American-based corporation,
with profits as its primary focus, can somehow be wooed back to
American soil with a feeble and historically unjustified assurance that
Social Security will be now secure or that medical care inflation will disinflate. Admittedly,
those are long-term requirements for a stable and healthy economy, but
fiscal balance alone will not likely produce 20 million jobs over the
next decade.
The move towards it, in fact, if implemented too quickly, could stultify economic growth. Fed
Chairman Bernanke has said as much, suggesting the urgency of a
congressional medium-term plan to reduce the deficit but that immediate
cuts are self-defeating if they were to undercut the still-fragile
economy.

Academics also point to a theory known as Ricardian equivalence, a
notion named after David Ricardo from the early 19th century. His ivory
tower theorem was that consumers would become more and more confident of
their financial future if in fact they believed that their own
government’s exuberance would be held in check. Balance the U.S. or any
government budget, he prophesized, and the private sector would extend
and lever theirs. Well, commonsensically and anecdotally, I know of no
family who, after watching the Republican candidates’ debate in New
Hampshire, went out the next day and bought themselves a flat screen
under the assumption that their Medicare entitlements would be cut in
future years and the U.S. budget balanced. Ricardo and his “equivalence”
belong in the trash bin of theses and research aimed more towards
academics than a practical remedy to America’s job crisis.

What then, shall we do? My preferred solution has long- term elements, which includes the opening language in this Investment Outlook,
concerning the value of a college education as currently structured.
Peter Thiel may be on to something, but all of our kids just can’t up
and quit college à la Bill Gates. Still, if we are to compete globally
while maintaining a higher wage base, we must train for “middle” in
addition to “high” tech. Philosophy, sociology and liberal arts agendas
will no longer suffice. Skill-based education is a must, as is science
and math.

Additionally and immediately, however, government must take a leading
role in job creation. Conservative or even liberal agendas that cede
responsibility for job creation to the private sector over the next few
years are simply dazed or perhaps crazed. The private sector is the
source of long-term job creation but in the short term, no rational
observer can believe that global or even small businesses will invest here when the labor over there
is so much cheaper. That is why trillions of dollars of corporate cash
rest impotently on balance sheets awaiting global – non-U.S. –
investment opportunities. Our labor force is too expensive and poorly
educated for today’s marketplace.

In the near term, then, we should not rely solely on job or
corporate-directed payroll tax credits because corporations may not take
enough of that bait, and they’re sitting pretty as it is. Government
must step up to the plate, as it should have in early 2009. An
infrastructure bank to fund badly needed reconstruction projects is a
commonly accepted idea, despite the limitations of the original
“shovel-ready” stimulus program in 2009. Disparate experts such as GE’s
Jeff Immelt, Fareed Zakaria, Jeffrey Sachs and Paul Krugman believe an
infrastructure bank to be an excellent use of deficit funds: a true investment
in our future. While the current administration admits that the $25
billion in Recovery Act spending on infrastructure only created 150,000
jobs, it also stabilized and improved this nation’s productivity for
years to come. Clean/green energy investments also come to mind, most of
which require government funding and a government thrust in order to
create millions of jobs. China knows this and is off and running. The
U.S. needs to learn from their state-oriented model. In times of
extremis, pushing on the private sector string is ineffective,
especially within the context of a global marketplace that offers
alternative investment locations. Government must temporarily assume a bigger, not a smaller,
role in this economy, if only because other countries are dominating
job creation with kick-start policies that eventually dominate global
markets.

And how about at least an intelligent discussion on “trade policy”
which incorporates more than just a symbolic bashing of Chinese currency
relative to the dollar. Who, from either side of the aisle is willing
to discuss the use of trade measures in order to help balance our $500
billion trade deficit? This is delicate territory, reawakening fears of
Smoot-Hawley in the 1930s, but we are in delicate territory regarding
our unemployment rate as well. Warren Buffett in 2003 advocated an idea
he called “Import Credits” which he claimed would increase exports in
the hundreds of billions and jobs in the hundreds of thousands.
Republicans? Democrats? Discussion please.

In the end, I hearken back to revered economist Hyman Minsky – a
modern-day economic godfather who predicted the subprime crisis. “Big
Government,” he wrote, should become the “employer of last resort” in a
crisis, offering a job to anyone who wants one – for health care, street
cleaning, or slum renovation. FDR had a program for it – the CCC,
Civilian Conservation Corps, and Barack Obama can do the same. Economist
David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff sums up my feelings rather well. “I’d
have a shovel in the hands of the long-term unemployed from 8am to noon,
and from 1pm to 5pm I’d have them studying algebra, physics, and
geometry.” Deficits are important, but their immediate reduction can
wait for a stronger economy and lower unemployment. Jobs are today’s and
tomorrow’s immediate problem.

Those who advocate that job creation rests on corporate tax
reform (lower taxes) or a return to deregulation of the private economy
always fail to address dominant structural headwinds which cannot be
dismissed: 1) Labor is much more attractively priced over there than
here, and 2) U.S. employment based on asset price appreciation/finance
as opposed to manufacturing can no longer be sustained.
The
“golden” days are over, and it’s time our school and jobs “daze” comes
to an end to be replaced by programs that do more than mimic failed
establishment policies favoring Wall as opposed to Main Street.

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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.

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qrriKcwvlY&feature=relmfu

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

Ray1968's picture

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

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]
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. 

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

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.

the left behinds's picture

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

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.

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

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

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

 

  

 

 

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..."

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.

Hedgetard55's picture

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

 

EPIC FAIL, Gross.

malek's picture

Precisely.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Uncle Remus's picture

can't find pin 1 on a chip

 

They're numbered?

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…

 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

AnAnonymous's picture

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

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.

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.

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.

Boop's picture

Which is why liberal arts education is still important.

Who else is going to lead the riots?

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.  

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.

mickeyman's picture

You are advocating slave labour.

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.

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.  

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.

damage's picture

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

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.     

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!

Harmonious_Dissonance's picture

DooD! Damage, your a fucktard.