PhDs are usually in it for one thing, to attain the ideal position as a professor in higher education. As many of our readers at BIDER know, the PhD program is the biggest Ponzi Scheme out there. Many lemmings feel that higher education will pay off, by allowing them to join the ranks of the very people that educate them. Much like Madoff's investors, these professors to be are shit out of luck:
The number of jobs university math departments were trying to fill in 2009 declined 40% from 2008, according to the American Mathematical Society. There were about 1,000 positions advertised from October 2009 to February 2010 in the Modern Language Assn.'s Job Information List, a 27.5% decline from the year before. (The association's conference this year will hold the foreboding title The Academy in Hard Times.)I could have told them that this was going to happen. Not to toot lawyer's horns, but at least we go to law school under the false impression that we will be learning a skill. The last people that any university wants to hire are those who have invested time and money in their education. Instead, they hire graduate students (for free or little pay) or adjunct professors for as little at $20K a year (who are probably working professionals as well). See my previous post on The Lost Generation of Scholars Who Did Everything Right.
What are we going to do to knock it into students' heads??? Education does not always pay off and often it prohibits you from obtaining work that does.
When I think of PhDs, I have this vision of Aristotle and his students speaking about philosophy for the sake of discussion. I think they were all men of leisure who liked to think and hypothesize. He abhorred paid work, by the way. I found this quote, where Aristotle said: All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind. Clearly, he did not think of education as a means to become wealthy. Education was a luxury to be enjoyed by the wealthy for the sake of enjoyment alone. This dreamer had this to say about his shitty investment:
At least one academic isn't worried. Patrick Horn is paying $25,000 a year to get a doctorate in mythological studies in the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria. His working class family balked at the tuition and time commitment, but the 30-year L.A. resident says he's not concerned.
"It's a great investment, and I'm not worried about the debt," he said. "I love being a thinker, I love being a writer, and I feel privileged for the opportunity."Patrick, privileged is the last thing you're ever going to feel after taking mythological studies so damn seriously for so long. Wait until Sallie Mae comes knocking on your door, you will have more in common with the tranny hookers on my street corner than you will with Zeus. Just saying.
Hardknocks and I differ in our philosophies about education. I'll let her tell you what she thinks of it, but I think it's unnecessary. In my ideal world, we would all learn practical skills and take a year trip around the world to gain enlightenment and knowledge. But the real world has robbed our parents of the means to subsidize this sort of worldly education, and has left us vulnerable to the vultures at local universities and colleges to teach us that... how to live, how to think, how to be understanding.
Ms. Jobless Juris Doctor wrote a post on the potential explosion of the education bubble, much like the sub-prime mortgage bubble. Steve Eisman, a economist who predicted the mortgage implosion, is addressing student loan defaults in his latest prediction:
If present trends continue, over the next 10 years almost $500 billion of Title IV loans will have been funneled to this industry. We estimate total defaults of $275 billion, and because of fees associated with defaults, for-profit students will owe $330 billion on defaulted loans over the next 10 years.
This will affect our children and our children's children. I don't think I will have a kid that will come home with a Doctorate degree. But he comes home a cop with a badge, or a plumber with a snake--I will be happy as a clam.