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Hipsters On Food Stamps, Part 1
That some subset of the populace hasn't taken steps to realize the value of their credentials doesn't say anything about whether they're mispriced or overvalued by the market in general. And finally, if anyone is curious what people get on FS, how much when factors like kids and rent is figured in, Illinois has a SNAP calculator online. So what makes you better? Posted by Galimathias November 13, 5: Posted by Jim November 20, 3: Often I think the value in the blog, one of the values anyway, is in the cathartic release of people expressing themselves, which as you can see often happens quite strongly.

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.

Millions on food stamps facing benefits cuts

Hostility to the program, especially among some conservatives, has long made it a target. In the early s, for example, Congress moved to slim down SNAP costs by basing benefits on people's gross, not net, income and by limiting income tax deductions for people, among other measures.

The reality, however, is that many people who get food stamps are working. More than 80 percent of beneficiaries find employment within a year of starting to collect payments. With the economy no longer in free-fall and SNAP participation leveling off, analysts also do not expect the program to drive up the deficit. The Congressional Budget Office projects federal spending on food stamps to fall over the next five years as the economy strengthens. Parents often skip meals to ensure children are fed and use other means to make ends meet.

People are looking for something they can feed their children right now. Families, particularly single mothers, rely heavily on food kitchens, mobile food pantries, faith-based organizations and other charitable groups when their food stamps run out. Flowers leans on her church and Bread for the City, a Washington, D.

But that, too, worries, anti-hunger specialists. People in the field say food banks across the country are already at their limit in the help they can offer people. Resources are always tight, and they have been stretched to bursting by the recession and anemic recovery. And right now there is none.

As usual with large socioeconomic problems requiring public policy solutions, any remedies in principle lie in Washington. That may be bad news for SNAP recipients. Although some Democrats in Congress have attacked the Nov. When it comes to America's hungry, it seems, political leaders who can't agree on anything can agree on this: The poor can make do with less. For her part, Flowers has not given up hope that elected officials will help her keep food on the table.

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Mark Zuckerberg grilled over data scandal. Are those people you mention really "choosing" poverty or failing to choose and failing to change the behavior that screws them?

Posted by isomorphismes November 11, 3: I don't think it's "wrong", just on a totally different internal axis than the "justice" external angle you're taking. Not arguing with what you said, just orthogonal. Not sure I agree. You're assuming these people are making a rational and realistic assessment of actions and consequences. If you don't know what you're choosing, or why, or how it will effect you You're not improving, you're not changing, and you're not doing anything useful And you definitely can't be said to be choosing consequences you don't know.

You're simply following the status quo. Furthermore, you're simply following the status quo just like everyone else I see it as a red herring for another reason. These two people have equal incomes but probably very different lives in terms of social class, borrowing ability, future "breakout" potential, and how engaging their work is.

TV dinners are a weird example because they're for the lazy. Cabbage, potatoes, legumes, and eggs would be my example for cheap food. It might take another economic collapse for the writing on the wall to become clearer to the white suburbanites posting here. Please do not partake of the loathsome socialism of "Obamacare" when you decide that it's time to pull your head up and have the sand flushed out of your ears.

Posted by Lucas Gray November 11, 4: Posted by tornpapernapkin November 11, 4: Believe it or not they don't let just anyone teach these days. In fact, a lot of teachers now have a Master's degree, and often they want you to have majored in education. Posted by thestage November 11, 4: Posted by Lucas Gray November 11, 5: As far as I can tell, what you're communicating in this post is this: I know there's meant to be a Part 2 coming, and I'm hoping it resolves this, but pointing out that English majors have bleak futures, while failing to mention that this is the case for basically everyone, is perniciously dishonest, not to mention useless.

Posted by DensityDuck November 11, 6: Posted by tornpapernapkin November 11, 6: You are missing the point. Which is what you imply when you suggest they would be choosing homelessness or poverty. If the meth addict was a former pop star worth billions she wouldn't be in poverty, or if the halfway house for some reason accommodated meth use.

Or if she had a co-dependent sister to live with. She'd be making the same choice: But the consequences would be different every time. Or the people who leave the house before six AM for their first part-time job and get home from their second after nine PM. Or the same thing two months in a row "how come it's chicken cacciatore again? If you go into a room, even a room where you know something bad might happen because you've been warned about there being something horrible about the room. You made a choice.

No assume some one is in the room. When you enter it, this person has been waiting. In their game of choice they have entered the room with a purpose. Their purpose here is to shoot anyone who comes into this room at this time. They did not choose to kill YOU. They chose to kill whoever entered the room.

That just happened to be you. You did not choose to get shot, even if you knew there might be a horrible thing that happened when you entered it. You didn't know what. You didn't choose to get shot then. Knowing you might get shot might make you change your mind.

But remember, you didn't know you would get shot when you made the choice. You didn't choose the consequence, only the action. You can't be blamed rationally for getting shot because you didn't know what "horrible" meant exactly and you certainly didn't know it meant getting shot.

The person who shot you can be blamed for murder, but it can't be said they chose to shoot you for you. Only that they shot some one in cold blood. The consequences can only be predicted within a margin of error and rely on rational insight and actual knowledge to infer. The action always has unknown consequences to some degree. Some times we anticipate the consequences, some times we don't. But we never truly choose them because we don't control them. Posted by Narcinonymous November 11, 7: November 11, 7: This shit is just way too cynical.

Cynicism is a crutch. That is another crutch. Posted by Thomas Belnap November 11, Sorry, lost me right there. Racism voids your legitimacy because you're taking an effect and trying to make it the cause which is needless to say irrational. I dislike self entitled holier than thou hipsters just as much as the next guy, but it isn't hipsters that are exploiting a much needed social safety net, it's people.

People do bad things not styles, colors, money, or any other inanimate object or physical quality. There are unethical people and ethical people, unethical people exploit systems and ethical people support systems. In the same way that people do good or bad things, people make things worthwhile or worthless. Which is the primary error you make in you're rhetoric here's what I mean -. On your main thesis that college is worthless. The value of any given thing is whatever it is that a person places in it.

College can be worthless if you decide that it is and behave in a manner that reflects such an attitude. The people you refer to in the article behave in a manner that reflects their beliefs.

No one gets a college degree and then is handed a lifelong successful career. That kind of reasoning is analogous to assuming a hammer is all that is required to put a nail in a wall. You have to swing the hammer into the nail. The hammer, in itself, is useless. Same story with a degree, I'm a philosophy major which has no specialized job application in the real world as there aren't any job postings for philosophers on any career site or job board I've ever seen.

Is it a waste of time then? It is a tool that I am using to train my mind to see a wider range of possibilities in ordinary circumstances. That is what education is. But like the hammer potential itself does nothing without an agent to act upon it.

I believe in education so much that I left a cushy career that paid me 6 figures a year which took me 5 years to achieve. I slowly built my skill set up to qualify for and secure a business consulting position at the largest internet technology company in the world an experience that enabled me to start two of my own businesses which I also gave up to pursue a degree. Education is the same story, it is a stepping stone, just like my first job selling newspapers.

Sometimes you have to shovel shit before you can rake in success. I didn't leave my job because I thought that a degree would end up making me more money, but because it would afford the opportunity for greater experience, and open doors that would otherwise be closed, which it already has.

I am better off now than I ever was before and I still have 1 semester left. Because I have more "hammers" now than I did before which I'm already using to build a better me and therefore a better life. You have no idea how much luck played a role in what you've accomplished. Of course you can go study philosophy - you're quite wealthy.

I suggest you divert some of your efforts away from studying philosophy toward sociology or at least political philosophy. You're terribly under-informed or perhaps deliberately ignorant of macroeconomics and the relationship people have to "the support system", a product of The System, capital-S.

You seem to selectively emphasize that it consists of individuals making judgement about the utility of things in this case, education. Their agenda begins and ends with "fuck you, got mine", a refrain you're probably familiar with if you've made six figures, put with less vulgarity. I mean really, are you some kind of rube? Were you born yesterday? As if "deserving" were the primary operative concern the system adopts in making that determination on YOUR behalf.

Posted by Lucas Gray November 12, November 12, Posted by indigomind November 12, I have somewhat the opposite experience as the hipsters. I majored in Chemistry despite having more of an aptitude in English and I think it was a bad strategy. As far as career advice, I still think the book "What Color is your Parachute? The author's attitude is a great combination of idealism and practicality.

I know that the US worships capitalism but remember it is also the reason that people come out of college unskilled. It is not profitable for colleges to teach students sufficiently. Posted by medsvstherapy November 12, 9: November 12, 9: The intellectuals, since Aristotle laid it all down, have always been upset that we are smarter, but those with economic power end up as rulers.

Most of us are more subtle. We are requiring hiring quotas and otherwise using the law to develop a world where we are necessary, and will be in control ove the developers of wealth. The end results is: Healthcare reform is a leading example. As would a planetary cap-and-trade dealio. Wow, we came this close. We actually had a 'carbon market' there for a while. The challenge is to convice everyone that we need to be in charge. So, we have to promote the idea of enemies, and problems.

Yes, if you nswer a poll saying you have any level of concern about buying groceries if you happened to lose your job, we count you among the planet's populance suffering 'food insecurity.

Identify an enemy, and put us in charge to regulate them. It is our BA strategy of developing problems so we are necessary to solve the problems thru legislation and regulation. Now, we get anyone and their dog into BA, then everyone thinks like us, and we get control over the producers of wealth. Well, the ones with the BAs now are both the believers in the Intelligensia being the rulers, and are the poor. Posted by Dovahkiin November 12, I think there are a lot of reasons for this kind of thing.

First off, colleges are NOT sorting mechanisms as one guy here said. It's no more of a sorting mechanism than kindergarden is. Grade inflation in HS and the SAT ACT courses that pretty much tell you the answers to the test guarentee that any semiliterate person can get into college. I've graduated courses in my major even though I never bought the book and BS'ed my way through "research papers" in a day mostly with wikipedia.

All of this is why "college education" is valueless. Then people cry because a diploma that you literally purchased doesn't get you hired. What did you think when you got in with a C- average? Everyone has something, it's useless. If everyone looks like brad pitt, why do we need brat pitt? Posted by Antigone November 12, 3: November 12, 3: I would have been a hipster in my youth, if the phenomenon had existed 10 years ago in Europe I wore the clothes, the hair and the attitude.

Not because of foodstamps, which do not exist here, but because of the irony and the not taking yourself in your mind and the culture you lucked into seriously.

And I still think, this is a valid defence for people, who suck at sports and being "ethnic". But this is totally irrelevant. What isn't a valid position to take is, that everybody should be coerced to spend 12 years in school only to incorporate the message, that you can only be successful, if you go to college and become the same looser your high-school teacher and your parents are If you are lucky.

What isn't a valid position to take is, that the labour theory of value holds true. Nobody wants to know about the reason you think your professor wrote about why his professor wrote, why Anna Karenina died in a dress and how many hours you spent thinking about it. Nobody is gonna pay you for words of this blabla. And yes, the amount of your footnotes is irrelevant.

What isn't a valid position to take is, that there is a tough economy right now, and therefore everybody has difficulties to find a job. Are you useful or are you reading Salon. Oh my god, Capitalism has won, we are only bees to be educated on how to produce maximal value for the others, the bosses. And we won't be able to rewrite Hamlet while urinating on stage with a college degree and earning Dollars a week.

I am so so sorry. I'd really love to see your limp dick. But the real problem is, that it is still to valuable for businesses to rely on a college degree in everything else than "make up for a dead body thingy" as a signal for intelligence. I do know not why, I guess the reason is, that HR departments consists of zombies, that went to college.

Posted by Antigone November 12, 4: November 12, 4: Let me clarify, I know why: Because they work in Zombie Industries. They won't be here after sunlight. Posted by skipper November 12, 4: Why does Salon want you to hate Hipsters on food stamps? This even though there is some evidence suggesting we should rethink our attitude toward college.

But that's like, maybe, two paragraphs of this thing. Not sure what was going on in the rest. Aside from the fact that TLP is awesome and hardworking and very much not a member of the class that she's criticizing here, despite satisfying all the criteria.

Anyways, the crude idea that a B. Louis Menand has a nice piece on two theories of higher education. College is either 1. The point is that you can fulfill the goals of theory 2 no matter what people study. Unless you want to go in for a third view: Well then, yeah, don't study English. But the bigger problem here is that the reason why we need to rethink college has nothing to do with English degrees and everything to do with debt.

Posted by Mike Burnett November 12, 5: November 12, 5: Sure college is bullshit, but the hipster-welfare queen chimera you've created is not something to drag out from under your bed and call insight. Posted by Tom White November 12, 6: November 12, 6: I would like to confess that I was once of these idiots. I made the mistake of getting a useless degree based on bad advice and no life experience. I have never had a job because of that degree.

Instead I have taken whatever work I could get and swallowed my pride. In my defense, and I guess defense of all those studying idiotic degrees, we were lied to. All my high school teachers through to the career counsellor, my parents and grand parents etc said go to college. My parents were uneducated middle class; their advice was based on the advice of what is best for the upper class with money [follow your dream etc].

I did start off in a field that I thought would guarantee me a job [Come graduation I would have been wrong about that had I kept it up] but I was talked into changing my focus by the academic staff with the intent of going into academia. I lacked the drive or the interest and ended up unemployed and unemployable. I was too young and naive to know what I wanted to do and truthfully I should never have gone to college.

It was a major trap and I made the mistake of taking well meaning advice from others. I have a debt I can't shake and four wasted years. I spent my time as a welfare queen but I regained my pride and refuse to be dependent the nanny state.

I work shit jobs now but at least I am answerable to no one but my boss and I am no longer a parasite. That is where I deviate from the hipster in your article. I made the choice to turn my life around. Unfortunately, I am starting from so far below the average that its hard.

I unknowingly dug a massive hole and now I have to get the hell back out of it. Right now I work construction but it has no future. I am told, frequently, that studying STEM will get me places, but now I am wiser and far more cautious since every dollar I spend is one I spent a shit day earning. At the age of eighteen you don't know the value of a dollar, the meaning of debt [it is slavery], or what work really means.

A mandatory two year gap between high school and college where you have to earn your own way would knock many silly notions from young people's heads. Posted by The Last Client November 12, 7: November 12, 7: Nice to see TLP admitting she's a woman and acknowledging she's not a psychiatrist and not "well-educated" in the modern yup-pwog sense. Bored housewife who married a guy she hates, and has spent at least 5 years in psychotherapy, and is writing from a fictional psychiatrist's perspective because of having spent time in psychotherapy to great disappointment?

And, more obviously, clearly in need of reinforcement that she's "brilliant" or whatever her better-of-two-parents used to tell her in those moments of poor self-esteem. Posted by isomorphismes November 12, 7: Why is it that people identify so strongly with their college degree--either as a primal cause in what follows in their lives or as a valid descriptor of one's "true self"?

I know retired Americans who still self-identify as "I was a journalism major" or "My life began with my chemistry engineering degree".

Here are a few possibilities: First big self-identifying choice these people made. And for those who didn't go to college?

Posted by tornpapernapkin November 12, 7: I'm curious what makes people so sure of the gender at all. At best this post reads to me as gender ambiguous. For me at least. My degree was something I poured my life into. I really loved and dreamed, and I just knew I'd do something good and I find it sad to think about it. Just one more thing in my past. And a box to tick. The second was the end of my belief. Posted by Anonymous November 12, 8: November 12, 8: The system works by giving them a set, one-time dollar amount for food each month.

If they waste it on over-priced food, that's less food for them. Posted by Thomas Belnap November 13, November 13, Looks like I touched a nerve. Your comment shows the difference between you and I.

I believe I have control over my actions and you seem to believe that life is simply a matter of chance. Posted by Anonymous November 13, Posted by Anonymous November 13, 1: November 13, 1: And also, asshole, five years in psychotherapy is valuable and is also a hell of a lot of hard work.

Posted by Ryan November 13, 1: They were literally part of the royal bloodline,that was not just a symbol though the importance attached to it by society was. There were millions of White Russian supporters, and so a very real threat that one of the children could later return and start another war to regain their throne.

Look at the Carlists in Spain, for how longlasting this could be. And why the problem with bored housewives? Is that sexism- women can be anything they want as long as it is not a housewife I have no idea why being bored as opposed to, I don't know, wildly entertained matters to you either, but I digress. Seriously- is that the best you've got? Posted by Pirran November 13, 2: November 13, 2: Oooh, what a racist.

How can you make such a baseless, bigoted projection? And everyone else whoever they may be has the DUTY to pay for it. I'm not entirely sure how these things work, but I believe it involves planting many more Magic Money Trees. Posted by Anonymous November 13, 2: TLP is cool with you as long as 'she' is a psychiatrist, but not cool if she is an analysand. They are navigating the same basic territory but for some reason the psychiatrist is better to you. Although the analysand is largely operating from an emotionally and mentally difficult position, that of navigating raw, original experience Kind of flip sides, same coin.

With these other posts, the basic premise is that poor people artistic hipsters shouldn't get uppity and want things they aren't really entitled to And finally, the artistic hipsters, in my imagination, are happy and making the most of their poverty, cooking something nice, which is all anyone can do, ever.

But everyone writing in with any sense of entitlement is for the most part, pretty unhappy. So what makes you better? I know it is great fun to feel superior to someone, nobody knows that more than me I am super into that.

But still, I've noticed a lot of the time in this blog it's like nobody feels good without trashing on someone else. It's particularly funny when they are doing it whilst insisting grandly they are overcoming their narcissism and being querulous about the best way to be an authentically good person. Posted by DensityDuck November 13, 2: She has a choice: Use meth and sleep on the street, or sleep in a shelter and don't use meth. She'd rather use meth than not. She is, therefore, choosing to sleep on the street.

Choices are not made in a vacuum. I don't want to eat ramen noodles for dinner, but I like having Xbox Live more than I like having a burrito. Pretending like my choices don't result in noodles instead of beans is foolish. Posted by Chris November 13, 4: November 13, 4: You will not like them.

McDonalds is hiring, at least where I live. If there are no jobs, move, and work as a janitor in a oil-riggers dorm if needs be. Do not sit in a pile of bong smoke.

Use the time you have. It is a ticket that gets you in to an entry level job. If you had a real degree pharmacy, medicine, nursing or a trades certificate plumber, mechanic you would KNOW that. Your newly minted M. That gets you a residency -- or registrar job where I live -- and completing that where I live allows you to sit an exam half the candidates FAIL.

If you pass that But my backup plan back in the day when Reagan was schooling Carter was to do English Lit. There the bus ticket is a PhD. And PhDs do not come easy. Keeping academic jobs and promotions I've published on average two papers a year for a decade. My H factor is 8. My highest cited paper has over 80 citations. And I did not start specialist training until I was Whatever you end up doing, do it well.

Because what you did last year really does not matter. What matters is completing the tasks you are doing now. If you are a salesman, you have got to close. If you are a waiter, you have to serve, if a carpenter, build The doors, the choices, are still there. Commit to it for a year. Because irony, in the end, is Posted by Anonymous November 13, 4: Posted by thestage November 13, 5: November 13, 5: The problem that is cropping up in these threads is that people are taking the idea of "college is bad" in a very general, reductive sense, and then taking this to also mean "knowing things about things that aren't directly related to economic production is terrible.

Most of the people bitching about the terror of the humanities essentially in this thread are people who went to college as a trade school and learned nothing of intellectual value. And yes, TLP is telling you that this set you up economically. But the point isn't that you are awesome, it is that the system fucking blows. If knowledge was truly valued, pursued, and disseminated effectively, we wouldn't be in this position to begin with.

Terrible economies and confining social systems are literally based on stupid premises, propagated by idiots intent on being king of the dunces. Education is not the evil, you are. Buy into it so you can eat bread without dying in the gutter we are so dumb we've convinced people one step away from financial ruin that the problem is not that everyone is one or zero steps away from financial ruin, but that we actually attempt to feed the ruined , sure, but nothing at all improves if there aren't also countermeasures, if the concept of advancement via something other than short term economics and material consumption not production, lol, we leave that to asian people is not aggressively and thoughtfully propagated.

Posted by AlexeyConrad November 13, 6: November 13, 6: Posted by Unnatural Selection November 13, 7: November 13, 7: Or never start using meth in the first place, but don't let anyone catch you saying that "people should be held accountable for their life choices".

It isn't their fault that they chose to fail. Posted by Anonymous November 13, 8: November 13, 8: I agree with you but at the same time, considering what a big deal college is, society shouldn't let your sentence be true.

College must give you some entitlement or they should get closed down and sued. I live in europe and here college is cheap, but still they are funded with public money and professors with enough seniority make a ludicrous amount of money compared to the national average. Why we should let this be if then college doesn't entitle you to anything? The fact that a degree doesn't entitle you to anything is exactly the problem.

Posted by tornpapernapkin November 13, 8: You're still thinking of you. What "she" and remember, you're the kind of person who made her up. She's YOU in your imaginary mind.

But what "she" is accountable for, like in my hypothetical evil room, is recognizing the clues to make a better choice. But don't let that stop you from feeling superior!

Posted by tornpapernapkin November 13, That seems to be the only time where there's a situation that could be interpreted in such a way the gender of the speaker might be inferred. Still a big leap though. I could also read it as trying to impress a senior in rank. We're talking about associate profs here.

They're like glorified grad students. Trying to impress some one can be as simple as wearing a suit to a job interview, or name dropping your famous colleague. Now it could be sexual. But that doesn't imply a heterosexuality or b that it's not status oriented anyway. I'm so amazed always that people really go through life convincing themselves they're so sure of everything. Posted by JR November 13, Is there anything I can do to get you to stop writing about economics?

I really like the blog, but your ignorance about this one subject is cringe-inducing. This whole post is based on a false premise. They're not getting rich, but they're certainly better off than if they hadn't gone to college.

The article also serves to reinforce the system by subtly suggesting it's still better to be a cog in our economy than a producer in someone else's. It's not an article about the rational hipster who takes his worthless BA in English literature and gets a comfortable salary and free living accommodations teaching English in China. Hate the hipster on food stamps, but God bless America.

I don't think he hates the system and America so much, I think he is more interested in fixing it and not destroying it or damaging it for example by making smart or valuable people move to shitty china.

Posted by Ed S. Does anyone ever actually read a TLP essay or just mentally keyword scan and react? What's it about then? Well, TLP conveniently puts the first topic of the essay in the 1st and 2nd paragraphs:. Those are two "hipsters", and the punchline is that they pay for their foodie porn with foodie stamps which sounds like it should be a terrible thing, except it's in Salon. It's very easy and satisfying to hate these two, and nothing would make me happier than to hit them square in the back with a jack-o-lantern.

But I also recognize that I am being told to hate them, so I have to take a step back and find out why it is so important that I hate them. So what makes them hatable is the seeming choice they have made: If you think that this is an essay about the "value" of a BA -- read it again.

The essay is about what TPL regularly writes about: Posted by J November 13, 4: Posted by Dovahkiin November 13, 5: Or at least that's not my point. I love me some history, I read about it as I get time.

The thing I think is conflated in this picture is that somehow you didn't really learn history or art or literature or philosophy unless you got a degree in that subject. It's actually the oppostie in many cases.

If I went to a 4-year program to learn history, I'd be pretty much reading pre-chewed history straight out of some professor's book about whatever person or period I'm studying. And in most cases, that's about it -- you read at most ONE text on the subject with maybe some supplementary reading on the side. You don't even really learn to evaluate whether that person is right or wrong. You take notes on what the teacher says about the professor's texts, then spit back what the professor thought was important about the other professor's thoughts on the history of whatever era.

Or if you read on your own, you find yourself reading lots of different sources, and at least in my case a lot of primary sources, and in that way, you are forced to come to terms with whether or not a given author has anything useful to say, or whether that theory of the civil war you were taught in the first text holds more or less water than the theory put forward by a different author.

You find out that what Lewis and Clark were saying about themselves might be very different from the romanticised notion put forward in textbooks. That's the thing, I think you'd actually get a better "liberal arts" type education for a lot less money by reading the texts about whatever interests you on your own time. It forces you first of all to learn how to learn, but it also makes you budget the time effectively to do so and evaluate sources that you spend your own money on.

Then once you do that, it you need to you can use those skills to earn a degree that will make you money. Unless you really want to brag about the diploma, I don't see the problem with self-study. The resources are out there. It's not as prestiegious to do it that way which is what I think a lot of people like the lib arts degrees for , but you get the same material. For most of us, we're only going to get one chance at a college degree, and since we'll be paying for it for the next 20 years, it makes no sense to get the degree in a subject that won't pay you back.

I suppose if you have a trust fund, it might be different -- you aren't going into massive debt to get the diploma, you aren't getting the diploma to get a better job, it's for fun.

If that's the case, do whatever you want. OTOH if you're going to college and taking out loans that you'll be paying back for the next 20 years, you shouldn't be looking at college as "mind expanding" but rather as a job training program. Because if there's no job after the debt, you've become a slave for a degree that's more often used as a way to get a pie piece in trivial persuit, rather than doing it on your own and having no debt.

Posted by tornpapernapkin November 13, 5: This is so interesting and different a feeling to me. It is very hard for me to want to be a failure. Makes me think of the line from Place of Dead Roads. I don't understand how not winning is worse than failing. Winning is just the end of something.

Losing is the end of something too. If it's worth doing it's worth doing however it turns out. Posted by DrModern November 13, 5: TLP, this post is stupid, and you are stupid for writing it. To get specific, credentialing is a form of signaling; signaling is the primary means by which participants in the modern labor force convey information about themselves; colleges are institutions that provide credentials.

The value of those credentials depends directly on the perception that they are difficult to obtain, which requires most colleges to set performance standards by essentially arbitrary benchmarks related to cognitive achievement, many of which are ultimately not germane to the tasks people will ultimately be required to do in the labor force.

The service that college provide, part of the promise, is that they will grade you rigorously and harshly on your academic performance. This is why colleges generally do not take steps to constrain their pupils in their choice of major: And while some choices of academic concentration may require further specialized training to realize the value of the undergraduate credential, access to that further training is itself strongly contingent on one's undergraduate credentials.

That some subset of the populace hasn't taken steps to realize the value of their credentials doesn't say anything about whether they're mispriced or overvalued by the market in general. I guess you just don't like that the modern labor force depends on being able to signal your value without necessarily actually delivering value? I mean, sure, no one likes having to work with morons who managed to coast through at Harvard, but it's not like there's some bygone golden era to long for here.

I guess I don't understand winning. You don't know what you win. You don't go get a thing, and if you did by the time you get it the thing has become worthless. It was the doing stuff that was worthwhile.

The end is just an excuse to make up something to do. Failure is winning then if you decide you want failure, then you're winning at getting your failure. It's either worth doing the "win failure" operation or not based not on what you win I don't even know what failure means to anyone else specifically but rather on what you get to do while acquiring your failure.

I mean there's nothing to win at all ever. There's nothing to fail at either. In my mind, there's just things to do and death is the last one. Posted by Galimathias November 13, 5: Both what you get and also the intrinsic value of the thing, the intrinsic value of the doing. You have to have both. Posted by Dovahkiin November 13, 9: November 13, 9: Part of the value of any signal is how hard it is to fake your way. If a semi-literate person can graduate from a local state college, you aren't signaling "smart guy" necessarily.

So what exactly are we signaling at this point? If I have a diploma from a 4-year college, I'm signaling that I'm Because the average American has a 4-year diploma. As far as colleges not restricting majors, I agree that it's probably not where they're going to restrict. If they're serious about the value of the diploma, I think it's going to be a question of raising the standards so as their graduates have to accomplish a lot more to get in.

Or if they don't really care, they do as they have been doing, sell the "college experience" and give anyone who can pay tuition a diploma years later. High end schools will probably take the first path, as they're counting on future successful people endowing the university with money in gratitude.

State schools will probably continue to take the McDiploma route in which you buy a degree -- because they have very little incentive to stop the gravy train of thousands of suckers willing to pay through the nose for a diploma and a few drunken frat parties. It depends on the model schools really have. Outside of prestiege schools like Harvard and Yale, they probably don't really care if their diplomas signal anything out in the workplace. I've yet to see any 4-year school give the percent of people who are working in full time, non intern jobs in their field within 2 years of graduation.

If they were concerned about the value of the diploma they sell, that would be something you would hear about. But as far as the present, I think the value of a degree is pretty low, as it only signals functional literacy, which while nice, has very little to do with job training. If you're in STEM, you will have skills related to that field, you'll know how to make a bridge not fall down, stuff like that.

It's not giving any signal worth sending. We've essentially made college like high school because we fell in love with the idea of being college graduates. We've brainwashed generations of kids who really wouldn't have gone to college into spending thousands on diplomas that do little more than make them debt slaves.

Because, hey, I'm a good parent with above average kids who all graduated from college. Posted by Jay November 13, I said nothing about your agency, self control, or lack thereof dude.

Let's think of it like this: It's almost like there are a complex set of factors that go into everyone's life, most of which are determined before you're born. I believe it's called "playing the hand you've been dealt". Is it somehow unreasonable to assume people hit the ground running as a result of their parents?

Things like their ability to afford a college education, and the ability to live in a school district that will facilitate getting the opportunity to earn a degree? People their parents know, or wealthy people who they happen to meet to take a chance on them? What about having parents who ensure that you do your homework every single day, and have the free time to stimulate your intellectual curiosity? What about the luck of being born in the first world to begin with?

What about the objectively measurable advantage of being white and male? What of all that? I don't need to waste my time on refuting babby's first fallacies here. Here's an ad hominem for you: I'd pity your professors, but there's a very good chance that there are dozens of students even more naive than you in their program. I hope they can do something for you, but there is not much reason for that -.

Which brings us back to why college is terrible for everyone - the standards have cratered to the point where students are less knowledgeable about certain things after leaving college than they are after leaving high school - like history. Their writing and critical reading skills are no better than the day they graduated high school either. These institutions are also EXPECTED to meet the needs of a corporate culture that gives exactly zero fucks about your ability to comprehend Kant, Joyce or Derrida, or to be able to crank out a thousand words on a Mondrian painting.

Which, IMO, are all admirable pursuits in themselves. The article actually makes a point of saying the same thing, which makes most of the comments here coming out swinging at TLP for being anti-intellectual or at least anti-academic ironic - it makes his case for him. Academia has already failed you if you can't figure out what a brief blog post is actually saying, quite frankly. Let's get back to it though - Colleges divert a huge proportion of PUBLIC funding to entertainment, aka sports programs, and divert another big chunk to amenities to attract the tuition dollars of both domestic and especially cash-cow foreign students.

This is a matter of economic necessity, coupled to what the general public demands. Adjunct positions are the only wave of the future for people seeking to teach at a college level - tenure is over, you're now teaching as an independent contractor for half of what you'd have made 30 years ago, and you will get no benefits to boot.

College in the year happens to be run like a business, in other words, and a lot of the administration at state universities comes from the private sector. I cannot emphasize how reprehensible that is, and how much I fear for the future of intellectualism in the US. Posted by Weldon November 13, It's not like we're fighting a two-ocean war and need everybody to pitch in: Why do we still have 40 hour work weeks?

Because that's how much a manual laborer in the s could do for 40 years before he keeled over? Are there any non-shift jobs for which that number is not entirely arbitrary?

For that matter, what's the point of productivity-increasing technology if everybody still had to work at a job? Also, I think you're ignoring what college is actually useful for, which is the same thing it was used for years ago: Fortunately we're a kinder, gentler oligarchy now than we were then, so we allow a path for some people to get into the rarified social circles from the barrio. Which is supposed to make all the difference. Posted by Chris November 14, 1: November 14, 1: I will say that in my country I work for a university in the top in the world on a small rock in the South Pacific university sports are just that You play against the local town teams -- and in an annual tourney.

Which does not make the TV. We do have fee paying foreign students. It is a reasonable deal in the Antipodes That is kiwibucks, so around 16K -- 68 K in US dollars at current rates. And I do some consulting work The real way the University makes money off me is by contracting half my time to the local hospital.

My employer university gets a fair amount of its money from he government Taxpayer and the income depends on completion rate. There is thus pressure to pass people -- the limit is the integrity of the staff.

Since I work in a professional school the grandmother test applies -- would you let your grandmother go and be treated by that student? It becomes the mother or child test in some circumstances. General comment -- if you do not know what you want to do and are graduating high school, get a job for a year. Go to school when you need the certification to pursue the jobs you want. It is cheaper to fly to Ibiza to party than to have a college experience.

Posted by Anonymous November 14, 3: November 14, 3: Some of the posts have statements can that be read either way. Often I think the value in the blog, one of the values anyway, is in the cathartic release of people expressing themselves, which as you can see often happens quite strongly. And sometimes pretty snotty. This is a little outside my realm but based on what i know perhaps i should clarify. I meant something akin to catharsis, approaching it, maybe sometimes right there.

Posted by Anonymous November 14, 4: November 14, 4: Coaches for american football at American universities are oftentimes the highest paid state employees. The NCAA is a multi billion dollar media empire. In fact, college football is oftentimes more popular than the NFL, which is no slouch either. The problem with running a university like a business is that the focus ultimately shifts away from education to amenities and sports entertainment.

The focus is drawing people in with the most amount of money to spend as well, aka foreign students. The prices are pretty gargantuan in NZ if what you're saying is true. Look, I'm not even referring to something he's being ambiguous about. Considering that he routinely employs concepts from psychoanalysis, do you really think he dislikes the humanities?

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