Doug Casey Explains Why College Is A Waste of Money

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Casey Research,

I recently sat down again with Casey Research founder Doug Casey to discuss a troubling trend: the fast-rising cost of a college education. Read our conversation below to see why Doug says relying on - and paying for - today's educational paradigm "makes as much sense as entering a Model T Ford in the 24 Hours of Le Mans"…

Justin: Doug, I recently had an interesting conversation with my sister.

She told me that her financial advisor suggested she start setting aside $500 to $1,000 a month to pay for her son’s college education. That’s because a four-year college education is apparently going to cost between $400,000 and $500,000 18 years from now.

Her advisor clearly arrived at this figure based on how fast college tuition costs have been rising, which is about 6% per year based on my research.

But you have to wonder if the cost can keep rising at this rate. It seems to me that no one will go to college if it’s going to cost a half-million bucks.

What do you make of this trend?

Doug: Well, the first thing—my advice to your sister is to get a new financial advisor. I fear that she’s relying on a complete imbecile. She should fire him immediately, and for a number of reasons.

Number one is his assumption that the trend of higher college costs is going to continue to a totally unaffordable level. In fact, the cost/benefit ratio of going to college is already so out of whack that the whole system has to change radically. A college degree, even now, is of only marginal value; most everybody has one. And things that everybody has are devalued. You’re quite correct that colleges and universities today are dead ducks as businesses. Unless you’re going to learn a trade, like doctoring or lawyering, or you’re going for science, engineering, or math, where you need the formal discipline and where you need lab courses, it’s a total misallocation, even a waste of money to go to college today.

So I applaud the fact that all these colleges and universities are dead men walking, that they’re all going to go bankrupt. They are totally overrun and infested with cultural Marxists and progressives, militant leftists that are propagandizing kids with absolutely the wrong kind of values. It’s astonishing that parents are willing to pay even today’s prices to subject their kids to four years of indoctrination. So I’m glad that they’re all going bankrupt.

Justin: But don’t you need a college education to get ahead in life?

Doug: It’s not necessary to go to college. You’re likely to be corrupted, and indebt yourself like an indentured servant for many years to come. The question is: Do you want an education, or do you just want a piece of paper that says you logged the time in a classroom? These are two different things. Getting an education is strictly a matter of motivation and self-discipline, not paying money to sit in a classroom. If you’ve got half a brain, you realize that you want the knowledge, not the diploma, and there’s no necessary correlation between them. Nobody can “give” you an education; it’s something you must gain for yourself.

Most top universities now have their courses online. You can get an education by listening to these courses. And even when you’re driving your car, you should be playing CDs by The Teaching Company. They have the best professors in the world giving command performance lectures. And you can hear them an unlimited number of times. This is much better than listening to some also-ran drone on, while you may have cut the class, or be half asleep, or not taking good notes.

Technology has changed the whole landscape of education. Its cost is approaching zero, not the stratosphere, as your sister’s advisor seems to think. If the kids insist on going to college and indenturing themselves, as well as cluttering their minds with irrelevancies and false data, then they should only consider, say, Harvard, or very few schools like it. At least there the prestige, and qualifications for admission, are so high that the connections they make may compensate for the many downsides.

And anyway, Ray Kurzweil’s right about the Singularity, in my opinion. And he’s upped the date to when it’s going to occur to 2029, which is only 12 years from now, at which point the whole world will have changed in ways that will change the nature of life itself. So forget about saving to send your kids to college; and that goes double for your grandkids.

Justin: I thought the same thing, Doug.

You see, my sister’s advisor suggested that she and her husband set up a 529 plan, which is basically a tax-friendly way to save money for college. I asked her what would happen to the money if her son didn’t go to college. She said she could use the money to pay her for grandchildren’s college education.

But, like you said, the world is going to be very different 12 years from now. Who knows what it’s going to look like 40 or 50 years from now?

Doug: Over the next generation the world is going to change totally and unrecognizably from the way it is right now. Technological change is compounding at an exponential rate. It’s always been exponential, quite frankly. Ever since the invention of fire. But we’re now in its later stages; it’s like a Saturn rocket taking off, very slowly at first, but constantly accelerating.

It’s going to be fascinating and fantastic to watch what happens over the next 20 years. And relying on, and paying for, today’s educational paradigm makes as much sense as entering a Model T Ford in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Justin: I agree 100%. We’re living in very exciting times.

Anyway, thank you for taking the time to speak with me, Doug. It was a pleasure, as always.

Doug: You’re welcome.

*  *  *

Every month, Doug shares his unique insights in The Casey Report, our flagship publication. If you sign up today, you’ll get complete access to all of our archived content, including recent essays by Doug on the Greater Depression, the migrant crisis, and technology. You’ll also receive specific, actionable advice to help you protect and grow your personal financial empire. You can sign up for a risk-free trial of The Casey Report right here.


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Dilluminati's picture

Good debate, but being poor and stupid is harder

better to be smart and poor than stupid and poor

just the way it is.. 

danl62's picture

Sounds like you are equating smart=educated and stupid=uneducated. I think even you know that is not true. All a 4 year college degree means for sure is this: You had enough time and enough money to get a degree. Doesn't mean you are smart or stupid. Just means you have that piece of paper.

Dilluminati's picture

I agree, but the only chance you really have is an education.

Pick up a book, any book, read it twice and then klep out.

I did it that way, funny with but two classes left my spouse did the same

there is a point where you have to be smart enough to educate yourself

but the general disatisfaction with higher education is unwarranted

I love football, hate the fact that college programs rape the taxpayer for the program either at the NFL level or college, even HS

Cut the dumb shit and get back to STEM and not award any $ for the dumb shit

I'm all for spending for tactical advantage, but not for the dumb shit, I'm moderate in respect to education, and child healthcare else.. I'm focking onbard with conservatives.  There ought to be a van with a dental office in it for the duration of good performance in school, nothing more than a dirt circle to run off the fat..

I hurt people's feelings everyday with truth



JamesBond's picture

It's only waste for those who pay; the middle class.  



J S Bach's picture

The premise is correct.  College is a scam.  Fork out 10s of thousands of dollars of debt and maybe... just MAYBE... you'll land that inane position in an Al-Gorish company to justify your twisted dreams.

Or... you can take an apprentice position with your local plumber or electrician to get a job as a useful citizen in our ever-decreasing civilization.

froze25's picture

It'd all about what skills you have and finding the people or groups Tha need them and will pay. You got to be social and bring value. You can learn management skills through volunteering at organizations and immediately step up to take the lead or in the beginning work under the leader for whatever event is being done. You would be surprised how many "big CEO's" volunteer their time at some organizations. Once they see your capacity,  getting a job is easy. I agree wholeheartedly about audio books in the car rather then listening to the mindless drivel that is called music these days. Self discipline is definitely huge in this.

Dilluminati's picture

Self discipline is reading a dry subject and memorizing IP list, and then taking an exam.  Freedom isn't easy, batteries not included, think I'd pay for a class if I could do the book and "pay myself?"  

For those who think Security + will pinch hit for your self esteem, it won't.. better be ready to get what you negotiate and not what you deserve, welcome to freedom and reality.

froze25's picture

What you deserve is a matter of perspective. Your spot on with what you negotiate,  it's been my experience that women have the hardest time with that concept.

Dilluminati's picture

Yeah I'm not kumbaya with looking at a state budget and the fees for recreation and sports and then seeing the fat culture when really in grade school a dental van and a dirt track where you just keep on walking or running to shed the fat is needed and pays a better ROI.

F0cking ridiculous we get gouged for national healthcare and no dental, and I'm against natonal healthcare but see our youth as our ROI.

Just make em keep running walking at recess until they get weight corrected unless they have a gland issue and exempt...


Pork Rind's picture

Pick up a book, any book, read it twice and then klep out>>> What the hell does "klep" mean I guess it's from the gutter Jew yiddish language  - you're Jew - you posted your hatred of uneducated whites and your love of Jews, you're a fokkin Jew neoconservative there isn't anything special about you, you're a dime a dozen - shall I post your hateful anti-white screed again ?

No.Fifth.Turning's picture

klep=clep=CLEP=College-Level Exam Program

SilverRhino's picture

If you actually had a fucking brain you would know what a CLEP test actually was.  

Instead you choose to spew anti-Jew shit like you think you know what you are talking about. 

Dilluminati's picture

Thank You, stupid white trash is like BLM in that they blame all of their inability to find a fucking public library, fill out a library card, read a book twice, and take a test.

It's then some conspiracy and somebody elses fault.

Just remember that BLM and white pride have that in common.

But if you were to suddenly wake up, look in the f0cking mirror and see the tattoos and no future, reaize that as a consequence of your own choices it wasn't going to change, that cognative dissonance would kick in and you would blame another and not own your circumstances.

Bought a book, read it twice, passed Security + last December, didn't have to, but now that I'm getting chopped glad that I did.

And if I have to do it again I will.

I'll not sit there and look anywhere else but the mirror for a solution to my problems, I solve as many problems as I create.

BLM and White pride only point out problems, they are not ever in the process of solving anything.

Indignant folk are insecure, whaaaa I'm so indignant ergo so self-important.. no your not.. your uneducated and you need to change that


NoPension's picture

In what language was that written?

I read it three times, and still do not understand the point you where attempting to relay.

wcole225's picture

You hit the nail on the head. " enough to educate yourself." That's generally not gonna happen with a dumbed down population exposed to every conceivable brain altering toxic chemical, and processed food. With minds as flabby as their bodies and parents with shit for brains, everything we see and believe teeters on the edge of collapse. Who was it that said something to the effect of, that which can't continue, won't ? The predictable consequence of a Godless people.

SweetDougisaTwat's picture

Dear Dilluminati,

Reading in between your lines I suggest that you up your medication immediately.


The other truth for you

AlaricBalth's picture

7 years of college down the drain...might as well join the fuckin Peace Corp.

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

i think it was Mark Twain that said...i never let school get in the way of a proper education.

Ex-Oligarch's picture

Actually, if I interview a candidate and see that they invested in a four-year degree in some unemployable subject area from an expensive school, it tells me something about their common sense and business acumen.  That's especially true if they chose an expensive school that lacks a first tier reputation or a strong alumni network.

So, I agree that the degree does not mean the candidate is smart.  But it can provide a strong suggestion that the candidate is stupid, or at least has poor judgment.

The Wizard's picture

Sounds like you are equating smart=educated and stupid=uneducated. It is like reading a mainstream newspaper, you will know less truth than when you began reading.

Correct, most people are paying to get stupid.

However, there are programs that offer a valuable training experience.

MANvsMACHINE's picture

You folks are forgetting something. Would you prefer to look at the plumber's ass crack for 10-12 hours a day or drink beer and bang hot 18-21 year old girls?

Sages wife's picture

Liviin' in the 'now', oh yeah baby! Fuck the future; there's nothing any of us can do about what's coming. The world will be unrecognizable in 20 years; likely sooner. Life is grand, don't let it pass you by.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

Plumbers lay a LOT of pipe.  Plenty of ladies waiting for the plumbers to stem their leaks.

Anteater's picture

Chasing money (worshipping the golden calf) is a waste of your life (soul experience on earth).

"So, how was your spiritual journey to the astral plane called Earth?" the Sage One asked the Young Noob.

"I accumulated a ton of stuff, got blotto with my circle of friends, and my feet never touched bare soil!"

"Aha, so you chose to go as a Cockroach. Did you learn anything?"


doctor10's picture

smarts duz the mathz firsts

besnook's picture

you need a different kind of education to make money. you don't need a college degree. the willingness to set your goals(whatever they are) and achieve them is all that is needed.....but most people prefer to be sheep or cattle following the lead cow to the farmer's barn to be milked so you have what you have within that context.

mr.Parsifal's picture

Doug is right, if everyone knows how to write and is literate, than that knowledge and skill has no value, because everyone has it.

He is such a smart guy, I folowed his advice and bought gold few years back before it tanked. Now I'm waiting for hyperinflation and the economy to crash so my investment turns out profitable.

Is-Be's picture

Yes. That thought has occurred to me too.

The internet has improved my analytical skills and my ability to express myself, while taking care of the small stuff like speling.

HillaryOdor's picture

A paper degree is not a skill, your first comma should be a period, and it's "then" not "than."  How's all that education working out for you?

MANvsMACHINE's picture

Its werking out jus fine, goddamit!

SweetDougisaTwat's picture

You made a cute grammar critique.  However, you seemingly failed to grasp his telling content with respect to gold.  I suspect your reading comprehension is sub par.  Are you of the millenial generation?

HillaryOdor's picture

It's not a grammar critique.  It's a critique on the worth of public education.  Grammar was just the easiest avenue of attack because that's what he exposed, but it's clear he has a mental deficit in many other areas.  Actually you completely missed my first point which has nothing to do with grammar, the fact that a paper degree is not the same as an actual skill like reading, a false equivocation he made in his failed attempt at making a point.  There are all kinds of incompetent people out there with a myriad of certifications.  Paper means nothing; skills mean everything.  I did not fail to grasp anything.  It's called ignoring.  I ignored his statement about gold because nothing in his post indicated that I should take anything he says seriously.  That it seemed like a failure of comprehension is an indictment of you and shows your inability to think logically due, again, to the inefficacy of the education of morons.  


NoWayJose's picture

Cut Women's Studies, Philosophy, and other worthless majors - and you cut costs and make college worthwhile. Also, cut admissions in half - the top half of students in the correct majors will do fine. The reason the author's question is even raised is that low potential students take worthless majors and cannot find jobs.

red1chief's picture

I'd say the number is more like 80% should not be there. They could make college free for everyone who deserves it, and it would cost the government less as you'd only have 20% of the students.

SweetDougisaTwat's picture

And, all Negros should be banned from attending any collegiate institution.  Higher education is not suited for cognitively inferior hominoids.

artichoke's picture

Trump gave the solution during the primaries.  Have private lenders at least partly underwrite the student loans.

Engineering student in good standing?  Here's your loan, study hard.

Africana Studies major?  Sorry, we have no funding for that major at this time.

Well Trump won.  I am waiting to see it!

VWAndy's picture

 Imagine paying someone to lie to your kids?

peippe's picture

most of the 'professors' didn't think they were lying, 

they actually believed the world would not change.

it was/is funny. 

Deplorable's picture

STEM / Technology degrees are the only ones worth the cost of college.

My son is graduating in May and just recieved an offer for an engineering position at a major defense contractor. 5 years of colllege and he is emerging with just $6,000 in student loan debt, which he will pay off in 6 months.

I paid most of his college bills, but he did provide a big chunk through internships with local engineeering firms. Good experience that paid off handsomely. 

artichoke's picture

Defense contracting is nice work, did it for some years myself.  It should be a good time now with Trump increasing defense procurement.

crossroaddemon's picture

So your boy is going to work for the MIC. You should be trying to talk him out of it.

Deplorable's picture

Asked him what he would be doing and he said he could tell me but would have to kill me afterwards.

crossroaddemon's picture

Sigghhh... I don't care how much he makes, working on arming the evil empire is a horrible idea. My military service is something I am deeply ashamed of; you don't want your boy to feel like I do in twenty years.

kbohip's picture

So what you're saying is the people that go to college for something meaningful like STEM are really the only people who should be going to college?  No!  This is not what the public indoctrination system tells us!  All kidding aside I'm glad your son was able to do so well.  A friend of my wife's son went 4 years, got a political science degree and couldn't find a job when he graduated.  Going on a year now.  He finally got hired doing the same thing his mom does.  A CSR at a call center!  That's bad enough but the debt he's in is much worse.

artichoke's picture

I knew a guy, bright but not brilliant.  Went to MIT.  Couldn't pass engineering there, had to switch to political science.

If he hadn't been "lucky" to get into MIT, he could have gone to his state university and surely completed an engineering degree.

DipshitMiddleClassWhiteKid's picture

i agree, but the elephant in the room is very few people are born with the right stuff to do that kind of work...


it doesnt help that out education system is a fucking joke and being overrun by 3rd worlders and wild dindus



CJgipper's picture

Even STEM degrees are not worth it until the H1B disease is dealt with.

ebworthen's picture

No job for you when you graduate good enough of a reason.

H1-B Visa holders hired instead of Americans.

Higher Ed. = Ponzi Scheme.