I haven't had much time or inclination to post in the past three months, but I wrote a long post on the JD Underground forum and thought I'd turn it into a blog post.
Why is it that our nation's politicians and intellectuals (perhaps unwittingly) support the higher education scam by advocating higher education as a solution to our nation's employment problems?
Basically, the promise of higher education as a means of upward economic mobility serves a function similar to that of religion--it's a means of social control. That is precisely why our politicians, intellectuals, and university elites love to advocate it so much. Also, it is completely uncontroversial. The upper classes are being confronted by an increasingly angry populace that feels that our nation's social structure is becoming akin to a caste system with a lack of upward (but not downward) economic class mobility. If the masses began to believe that our society were structured against them and that it suffers from some sort of a gross unfairness, they could revolt like unruly Frenchmen protesting a proposal to raise the retirement age (or worse).
So, our politicians, intellectuals, business executives, and their media lackeys have been falling all over themselves to sell the promise of higher education to the masses as though it were an opiate. This goes for practically all of our politicians on both sides of the aisle; this is non-partisan. The implicit and sometimes explicit message is:
"Your unemployment and underemployment problems will be solved if you earn a college degree or obtain an advanced degree."Thus, unemployed and underemployed Americans will tend to blame themselves for not being educated enough, for not having been smart enough, for not having worked hard enough, or for not having networked hard enough rather than to blame the state of the American economy, our politicians, and the upper classes. At least the masses won't blame our politicians as much as they otherwise might. Also, many people really do believe all of that claptrap, especially older people (who entered the labor market in a very different time) and people who are currently happily employed. Also, people who tend to support free market ideology, such as Libertarians, Republicans, and the TEA Party types are liable to buy into the propaganda because it is consistent with their faith in Meritocracy (work hard and take responsibility by preparing yourself through higher education and you will get the jobs and vocational success that you deserve).
"The reason you're unemployed (or that your wages are low) is because you only have a high school education."
"Even though you have a bachelors degree, you're unemployed because your grades weren't high enough...or you don't have an advanced degree...or you didn't major in the right field but if you go back to school and major in a science-technology-engineering-math (STEM) field you're guaranteed to find a good solid middle class job."
I have been writing, for a long time, that it's much easier for politicians to say that we need more and better education than it is to actually address our real economic problems. Advocating higher education is warm-and-fuzzy and touchy-feely. What kind of a monster would oppose higher education? In contrast, it's much more difficult to even merely acknowledge nation's our real economic problems--Global Labor Arbitrage and population explosion:
(1.) We've sent millions of jobs including many college-education-requiring knowledge-based jobs to Mexico, India, and China (foreign outsourcing or offshoring).
(2.) We've also imported hundreds of thousands of foreigners on H-1B and L-1 visas to displace Americans domestically from what are often college-education-requiring knowledge-based jobs (often the ones people are supposed to retrain and re-educate for).
(3.) We've imported tens of millions of impoverished immigrants (legally and illegally) to displace working class Americans from their jobs and to drive down wages while also saddling ourselves with the costs of having to care for millions more poor people (health care for illegals, education for their kids, any associated criminal costs, etc.).
(4.) As a result of this mass immigration, we've suffered a population explosion. This means that we have fewer resources available per capita that can be used for consumption and economic growth, resulting in higher prices for those limited natural resources and a degradation of our environment (arable land, land around cities for housing, domestic oil supplies, freshwater, clean air, lumber, food, etc.). See the must-watch video: Immigration by the Numbers (aka "Immigration Gumballs").
Who does Global Labor Arbitrage benefit? The upper classes who own the businesses of course! They're also the same people who purchased our politicians. As a result of this gigantic increase in the amount of available labor, business owners can keep larger percentages of workers' contributions to the act of wealth production for themselves as profits. That is to say, the increase in the amount of labor relative to the amount of capital (jobs) serving the American market means that the price point where the supply and demand curves intersect must decrease. Facial prices for some goods and services may also decrease, but the end result is that workers' compensation in terms of the amount of goods and services they can afford to purchase must decrease. So, the Rich will get richer and the middle and lower classes will become poorer.
It's so much easier for a politician to say, "I propose to solve our economic problems by strengthening K-12 education, by increasing funding for college education, and by making college education more accessible," than it is to say, "I propose trade protectionism, an end to the work visa programs, and a moratorium on immigration."
Sadly, the sheeple just guzzle down this higher education message as though they were drinking Jonestown Kool-Aid. Then, when they lose their jobs, fail to find jobs with their college degrees, or suffer wage and benefits cuts, they blame themselves for not having enough education. Higher education also removes people from the labor market, decreasing the unemployment numbers. (In the absence of a labor shortage, I think that college students should be counted as unemployed, or at lest some percentage should be counted as unemployed.) Ultimately, the American people are themselves to blame for buying into this message, failing to understand what's really going on, and for electing our current politicians and for failing to drown all of them in the Potomac.
Will this higher education problem ever get resolved? As the force of Global Labor Arbitrage transforms our nation into a third world country and as student loans spiral out of control, eventually college graduates will end up defaulting in mass, making government-backed student loans untenable. Over a period of decades, the populace (many of whom will already be used to third world standards of living having emigrated from third world countries or being one generation removed) will become complacent about the "New Normal" and accept their impoverished standard of living, the student loans will disappear, and many colleges will shut down.
The United States may transform itself into a third world economy, but the Rich will enjoy large amounts of low-wage labor and our current politicians will have been able to successfully deflect a terrified populace's angry wrath.