Politically Correct Employment
By Arnold Kling
Even more frightening is the young woman who graduated from UC Berkeley, wanting to work in “sustainable conservation.” She is now raising chickens at home, dying wool and knitting knick-knacks to sell at craft fairs. Her husband has been studying criminal justice and EMT — i.e., preparing to work for government in some of California’s hitherto most lucrative positions — but as those work possibilities have dried up, he is hedging with a (sensible) apprenticeship as an electrician. These young people are looking at serious downward mobility, in income as well as status. The prospects of the lower tier New Class semi-professionals are dissolving at an alarming rate. Student loan debt is a large part of its problems, but that’s essentially a cost question accompanying a loss of demand for these professionals’ services.
This popular essay commits the sin of trying to interpret the Occupy Wall Street movement. Please shoot me if between now and the end of the year I finish a serious sentence that begins something like “What the OWS movement represents is…”
Come back to me in 2012, provided that the OWS movement is larger than the number of people who claim to know what it represents. Meanwhile, I vow to render no judgment.
But the issue of college graduates seeking, and perhaps not finding, politically correct employment is an interesting one. Recall the view from Yale.
I think that this is a good time to raise some challenging questions about college education as we know it.
Would students be better off delaying college and instead trying to work for a year or two first?
Should young people be allowed to pursue professional training without going to college? (In other countries, someone going to law school, for example, might skip college.)
Do academically-trained Ph.D’s make the best teachers/mentors for today’s students, or should there be more people with “real-world” experience teaching college courses? Maybe only a few students benefit from courses taught by Ph.D’s, and as a larger share of the population attends college, there is too much of a disconnect between the academic talents of the professors and the more ordinary abilities of the students.