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Thread: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

  1. #301
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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    The more tools you have, the more work you can do with less people. Law of diminishing returns says that you will come to a point where the sprialing effect collapses. There aren't enough consumers to support all these jobs you imagine.
    Under the current system? Of course not. This is absolutely UNremarkable, because capitalism is based upon prioritizing private profit, and maximizing private profit is not the same thing as making the most efficient use of resources.

    There's a basic disconnect going on here with regards to conflicting narratives of needs, wants, resources, and development of economies. It is indeed absolutely true that the system we live under (global capitalism) has a finite limit on how many people can be sustained in jobs calling for degrees (or advanced certifications, etc.). This limit, however, is an artificial obstacle imposed by prioritizing profit over efficient use. I'd add that we're not even close to approaching that artificial limit anyway. There's nothing etched into the fabric of the universe which magically prevents an employer from, say, hiring 20-30 employees with graduate degrees at around 40k a year instead of a handful of obscenely overcompensated executives drawing seven figures. There's plenty of dogma and mythology presenting ideological resistance, but nothing stopping the actual practice.

    But the deeper issue here is that jobs as we currently know them are NOT some self-obvious, natural order inherent to economic activity. Once again, even without challenging the larger system, there's no reason we have to resign ourselves to the job roles and duties we're currently accustomed to. Commercial employers already shuffle job duties on a regular basis when employees are away from work for a long time, when companies split or merge, etc. While there are a relative handful of jobs which -- due to the nature of the work done -- for all intents and purposes must remain specialized, MOST of the things people do for work are NOT structured that way. Can a professor manage to also empty their own trash/clean their own office? Of course they can. Get a few dozen professors to do their own cleaning, and the payroll formerly used to pay a full-time campus custodian could instead be used to train that former custodian into some other more flexible and rewarding line of work. Take your pick of work roles, and this concept can likely be applied.

    Basically, making higher education genuinely accessible -- in conjunction with rethinking how work duties are articulated and assigned -- means breaking free of the artificially constrained options built-in to presumptions that "the economy doesn't need more educated people." OK...if the CURRENT arrangement can't support more educated people...then let's change the economy.

    This dogged commitment to keeping things artificially difficult...because they're already artificially difficult...is an insult to human intelligence and creativity. Clearly people manage to do new things on a regular basis, yet if we took the It's-Just-Got-To-Be-This-Way meme to its logical extension, we are left with no explanation as to how anything new could or would come into operation. After all, if everyone accepted the idea that we have some magically fixed number of feasible work arrangements drawing upon advanced education, then jobs would function more like heirlooms, passed down like family treasures (which indeed they would be, if it were the case that we couldn't do anything to expand the number and quality of work roles available to people).

    Back in reality, of course, humans manage to establish work roles for most people, despite our habit of squeezing out more and more babies and expanding the population. Clearly there is some way (or rather, many ways) to establish new, additional gainful work for people, or we'd have long since become a planet of starving paupers.
    I've moved on to a better forum (scienceforums.net). Facts matter, and I don't have the time or energy for putting up with the pretense that they don't. PM me if you'd like me to get in touch with you when I'm done developing my own forum system, likely towards the end of 2013.

  2. #302
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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    No, that cuts the other way. The advance of technology is eliminating jobs that do NOT require an education. Those are the jobs that are most easily automated. Take landscaping. 50 years ago it required 2-3 times as many people doing that kind of work because they used hand clippers instead of weed whackers and shovels instead of back hoes and reel manual mowers instead of motorized law mowers. Manufacturing jobs are increasingly getting automated. Agriculture is increasingly getting automated. Hand car washes are fading away to mechanical ones. Even restaurants are slowly finding that they need fewer and fewer staff as cooking and dishwashing technologies get better and they can get pre-prepared components from the factory cheaper than they can make them themselves. As technology advances it chews away at the lower end of the job spectrum while creating new opportunities at the top of the spectrum. That's why we steadily need more and more education to keep up.
    you use the word automated, when you should be using "mechanized". automation will not displace all unskilled labor...
    Yes, we need more education now, but we also need less workers....if you want more education, go to the library, the internet, even educational TV.
    The taxpayer will NOT support free education if there isn't a new taxpayer being generated. Better tools, less need for workers, diminishing returns....
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  3. #303
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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by cmakaioz View Post
    Under the current system? Of course not. This is absolutely UNremarkable, because capitalism is based upon prioritizing private profit, and maximizing private profit is not the same thing as making the most efficient use of resources.

    There's a basic disconnect going on here with regards to conflicting narratives of needs, wants, resources, and development of economies. It is indeed absolutely true that the system we live under (global capitalism) has a finite limit on how many people can be sustained in jobs calling for degrees (or advanced certifications, etc.). This limit, however, is an artificial obstacle imposed by prioritizing profit over efficient use. I'd add that we're not even close to approaching that artificial limit anyway. There's nothing etched into the fabric of the universe which magically prevents an employer from, say, hiring 20-30 employees with graduate degrees at around 40k a year instead of a handful of obscenely overcompensated executives drawing seven figures. There's plenty of dogma and mythology presenting ideological resistance, but nothing stopping the actual practice.

    But the deeper issue here is that jobs as we currently know them are NOT some self-obvious, natural order inherent to economic activity. Once again, even without challenging the larger system, there's no reason we have to resign ourselves to the job roles and duties we're currently accustomed to. Commercial employers already shuffle job duties on a regular basis when employees are away from work for a long time, when companies split or merge, etc. While there are a relative handful of jobs which -- due to the nature of the work done -- for all intents and purposes must remain specialized, MOST of the things people do for work are NOT structured that way. Can a professor manage to also empty their own trash/clean their own office? Of course they can. Get a few dozen professors to do their own cleaning, and the payroll formerly used to pay a full-time campus custodian could instead be used to train that former custodian into some other more flexible and rewarding line of work. Take your pick of work roles, and this concept can likely be applied.

    Basically, making higher education genuinely accessible -- in conjunction with rethinking how work duties are articulated and assigned -- means breaking free of the artificially constrained options built-in to presumptions that "the economy doesn't need more educated people." OK...if the CURRENT arrangement can't support more educated people...then let's change the economy.

    This dogged commitment to keeping things artificially difficult...because they're already artificially difficult...is an insult to human intelligence and creativity. Clearly people manage to do new things on a regular basis, yet if we took the It's-Just-Got-To-Be-This-Way meme to its logical extension, we are left with no explanation as to how anything new could or would come into operation. After all, if everyone accepted the idea that we have some magically fixed number of feasible work arrangements drawing upon advanced education, then jobs would function more like heirlooms, passed down like family treasures (which indeed they would be, if it were the case that we couldn't do anything to expand the number and quality of work roles available to people).

    Back in reality, of course, humans manage to establish work roles for most people, despite our habit of squeezing out more and more babies and expanding the population. Clearly there is some way (or rather, many ways) to establish new, additional gainful work for people, or we'd have long since become a planet of starving paupers.
    Birth control.....especially where the starving paupers live...sounds cruel, but not as cruel as letting them be born only to starve to death...
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  4. #304
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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by PrometheusBound View Post
    You also refute the demand for lower-echelon workers with higher skills. Treat the superior minds like we now treat superior athletes, from childhood on, and you will get the people who make things user friendly. With a computer diagnostic, even the auto repairmen don't have to be very skilled. The more geniuses we pay for their grades, the more they eventually invent things that anyone can quickly learn to use.
    yeah, useful things like video games.....we already have too many people wasting their intellect and time on stupid gadgets...altho I think the intellect isn't really there for most of them, that leaves time. If these time wasters had jobs, they wouldn't be wandering around like zombies staring at a little screen and twiddling their thumbs on a keyboard..

    gotta give you credit for persistence, tho....
    just don't hold your breath til the nation goes another trillion in debt turning the mindless masses into educated people capable of real thought.
    That is the last thing politicians want.
    Last edited by UtahBill; 05-18-12 at 02:57 PM.
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  5. #305
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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    but how much education ??
    Last year the USA graduated about 120,000 engineers, and if we double that number the wages of those engineers will go down. We only need so many....
    Clearly we have way too many lawyers and politicians....do we need more of those?
    As a technician, I watched my profession change such that we need fewer and fewer techs, since electonics is cheaper to replace than repair, not to mention that the reliability is so much better now and long before our gadgets need repair, they are obsolete anyway.
    It is a waste of resources to train or retrain people into dying professions, something else that we seem to do a lot...
    How much education is the wrong question. What direction is a much better one. There isn't a huge need for PhD's in Latin, but there is for computer programmers and engineers. There is a need for more health care professionals. Those are the courses of study that need to be paid for collectively.
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  6. #306
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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by Dittohead not! View Post
    How much education is the wrong question. What direction is a much better one. There isn't a huge need for PhD's in Latin, but there is for computer programmers and engineers. There is a need for more health care professionals. Those are the courses of study that need to be paid for collectively.
    problem is, when there is a shortage, we over train until we have an excess....knowing which direction is good, just don't overdo it.
    where are these experts in trending when we need them?
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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    There needs to be some Government regulation on how much Colleges can charge (read that salary caps for administrators and professors).
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." - John Adams

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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    problem is, when there is a shortage, we over train until we have an excess....knowing which direction is good, just don't overdo it.
    where are these experts in trending when we need them?
    The experts in trending are a lot like the experts in forecasting the weather. They're pretty good in the short term, not good at all in the long term. What is a good bet is that it's not going to be below zero in Phoenix in July and that there isn't going to be a sudden need for advanced degrees in classic literature. Sometimes, the experts are going to be wrong, as when they decided that there would be a huge need for new teachers in California when the baby boomers started to retire. It sounded like a good bet, but didn't take in to account the economic crash.

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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post
    There needs to be some Government regulation on how much Colleges can charge (read that salary caps for administrators and professors).
    I shop a lot at university surplus outlets.....the waste is incredible. We pay professors and university leaders too much money to waste even more money....
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  10. #310
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    Re: A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    you use the word automated, when you should be using "mechanized". automation will not displace all unskilled labor...
    It probably will never replace all unskilled labor, but those jobs are going to get fewer and farer between. People who are capable of doing more- which is the overwhelming majority of people- need to be preparing themselves to do more. Somebody who fails to prepare themselves for the jobs of the next 30 years is going to be a drain on society and somebody who does prepare themselves for those jobs is going to be a boost to society.

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    Yes, we need more education now, but we also need less workers...
    If that were the case, why don't we have far fewer jobs today than we did 50 years ago? 50 years ago most women didn't work. We have far, far, more jobs today despite the massive leaps forward in technology and automation. It is because as we automate old jobs we come up with new things to do for a living. We focus on optimizing our ability to wield information, we invent new products that people like, we work on extending our lifespans, etc. 50 years ago there were more assembly line manufacturing jobs. Those got automated and now we have people who would have been working in a factory programming computers. In another 50 years computer programming will largely be automated and we will have those people working in some field that doesn't exist today. And 50 years after that, those jobs will start to dry up and they'll be working in some field that the people 50 years from today have never dreamed of. This is how life works. And each time we take that jump forward the new job requires more education than the last job.

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    The taxpayer will NOT support free education if there isn't a new taxpayer being generated. Better tools, less need for workers, diminishing returns....
    No, it isn't another taxpayer, it is converting a lower income taxpayer into a higher income taxpayer. Like I posted out before, the median person makes an additional $833k in their lifetime if they go to college. That's way more than enough taxes to cover the cost of college.
    Total tax rates- People living in poverty: 16.2%. The median American: 27%. Working people who make over $140k/year: 31%. The top 1%: 30%. Super rich investors: around 15%. Help the democrats retake the house.

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