< HOME  Monday, April 10, 2006

College: The Great American DeathTrap

I'll be the first to concede that knowledge is power. But, not for the reasons they sell you.

Higher education in America is legalized slavery in the service of which the mainstream media continues to propagate the myth of "learn more, earn more."

As a result, America's students are demoralized and enslaved en masse by our not-so-'noble' institutions of 'higher' learning.
College admissions this year have been positively nightmarish. Acceptance rates are way down. . . .

The horror stories are everywhere. According to the Washington Post, one of the top students at Thomas Jefferson High School, a math-and-science magnet school in Alexandria, Virginia, was rejected by Yale University despite being the child of a Yale alumnus.
If that's what's happening to the spawn of the privileged, you can imagine the humiliation heaped on the average Joe.

Valedictorian? Not Impressed

Having good grades and test scores, it seems, may no longer be enough to secure a slot at a top university. Harvard University, for example, rejected more than 80 percent of the valedictorians who applied last fall.

Applications are up. Competition is stiff. But, why?

The author attributes increased competition in part to application standardization and fee waivers, but also to what he confidently describes as "education's payoff" in support of which he cites a new study by an economist at the University of British Columbia:
[T]here has been a dramatic increase in the rate of return to post- secondary education in the United States. [The study] finds that most of the increase in wage inequality in the U.S. is accounted for by a sharp increase in the wages of highly educated individuals.
The bovine excre-meter just shot off the charts!

The mainstream media deliberately and persistently conflates wages and income, as they do equity investors and bondbuyers. Wages are earned through LABOR, while other income is collected or won through inheritance, interest, royalties, and speculation.

The former is active and productive, the latter is passive and necessarily exploitative.

Consequently, "the increase in wage inequality" is primarily a result of structural defects in the economy:
  1. the wealthy get tax breaks; and
  2. moneylenders, patentholders, and speculators rake in bushels of dough at the expense of poor working Americans.
But, No. This guy won't admit it.

Instead, he engages in wild unfettered fantasy, taking readers along for the ride.
[T]he returns skyrocket as you get more education. Lemieux writes that "the wage gap between college post-graduates and college graduates has increased more than the wage gap between college graduates and high school graduates, which has itself increased more than the wage gap between high school graduates and high school dropouts."

Kids (and parents) are smart enough to recognize this [read: dumb enough to fall for this]. The benefits of being an academic star are increasing, so more and more students are trying to become one. That makes it harder to get into college but increases the quality of each year's senior class.

There are a number of things wrong with these assertions.

The author of the study, like the author of this article, misleads readers into thinking correlation means causation.

While it is true that increased education is often related to increased wages, that is NOT the cause. This much he admits later in his piece. One man's gain necessarily comes at another man's expense.
A really smart manager can figure out how to locate his production chain all across the globe, lowering his costs and increasing his own income.
When highly educated people are paid more than uneducated people, it's because they "learned" the skills needed to exploit others AND their services are needed to exploit others AND they agree to and do, in fact, exploit others.

If one element is missing - e.g., the skills they learn are not exploitative (social worker, teacher), their services are NOT needed (plenty of mercenaries around), or they refuse to exploit others (not 'cut out' for the job) - then the correlation between higher education and higher wages instantly collapses!

But alas, kids and parents are readily duped and as a result, each year more and more victims fall prey to the fallacy making it increasingly "harder to get into college" while "increas[ing] the quality of each year's senior class."

Ultimately, those in control of the money supply benefit from an ever increasing pool of highly trained, extremely competitive mercenaries from which to choose. So, even they (willing mercenaries) are not immune to the increasing pressures of global competition in labor. Most eventually will succumb to the ravages of the system.
Those who have the highest training will be the last to be confronted with wage pressures from globalization.
So, the notion that "the benefits of being an academic star are increasing" is a colossal farce.

The "learn more, earn more" mentality is nothing but a great American deathtrap, luring unsuspecting youth either into the fangs of perpetual debt, or forever conscripted as corporate mercenaries feeding off of and exploiting their neighbors at the behest of the money masters.

Wakeup America. You're being had.


At Monday, April 10, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

Ohmigod you totally hit the nail on the head.

It is one big debt scam. You just wrote about it brilliantly. I feel sicck to my stomache every day with the knowledge that I owe tremendous debt, and will either go to the poorhouse or have to compromise my morality to pay back the education I have received.

It's one or the other, unless someone gets a scholarship to attend school. This is why I told my sister she better not go to an expensive private school, as it is simply not worth it.

Boy, would I have done things differently if I could have!

At Monday, April 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea my brother even in a public state school is paying a ton and taking out lots of loans to pay for it. Luckily due to my computer expertise my employer paid for my college tuition.

I'm trying to find some way to get the same kind of deal for my brother.

At Tuesday, April 11, 2006, Blogger Citisucks said...

Great article. College can be such a rip off. People in subliminal mind fuck America are so brainwashed about college. Having been brainwashed myself I went through undergraduate and graduate school, decided not to sell my soul to the devil and go into social work/counseling, and only make a little more than 30,000 a year. My undergraduate degree by itself wasn't even worth the paper it was written on and I wished someone would have warned me of that before I went to college.

At Monday, December 11, 2006, Blogger AdNihilo said...

Student Loan extortion is an extreme example of one of the most severe and harmful acts of corporatism found in America today. Corporate America and the US Federal Government working together increased the size of my student loan 500% in 11 years after denying me any procedural due process. In refusing to accept their extortionist terms, together they further denied me all reasonable rights to earn a 'liveable' wage for the last 15 years now through unjust, biased credit report discrimination soley based on their extortion claiming I now owe them over $75K increased 650% in 17 years on a $12 original student loan debt. Mine is just one story of 100s of thousands being enslaved by the Fed Dept of ED in conjunction with corporate lenders and collection agency enjoying legalized extortion that what one Harvard Law professor says the mafia would be envious of..

For my "How Student Loan Corporatism Ruined My Life" true story of a system gone wrong, as well as a host of others, go to Student Loan Slave Blogs and Student Loan Justice - of which of course there is none at the present time nor can be expected long into the future. Not with over half the US tax money going to the Dept of Offense and the Gov't 1st strike imperialistic wars of aggression.

At Thursday, December 28, 2006, Blogger Jason said...

I read your article and you sound like someone who really has people's best interests at heart. You seem, however, overly cynical about the educational process.

I believe the reason why college graduates earn more is because they CREATE MORE VALUE. Not every well-paying job requires exploitation - Doctors, Writers, even most business owners. They are providing products and services that people desire and are willing to trade their money to have and use.

The world is becoming a more complex and innterconnected place. A good college education allows people to better understand and interact with this world.

At Thursday, December 28, 2006, Blogger qrswave said...

I have nothing against KNOWLEDGE which is power - I have something against the educational system which is institutionalized slavery.

Doctors are the FIRST people who exploit others, albeit many of them unknowingly, or unwillingly - they are USED by insurance companies to bleed a sick and aging population and a population that fears bankruptcy in case of sudden or severe illness.

You should open your eyes wider - it might let in more of what you don't want to see.


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