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We absolutely cannot all agree on that. As you point out - the fact of the matter is that an undergraduate degree in business, engineering or medicine costs the same as a degree in art, social work or childhood education and pays about 3-4 times as much. So it's individually quite stupid to major in anything _other_ than engineering, business or premed. Do you really think a society is going to function without teachers, psychologists, lawyers and artists? So in that case can we all agree that arranging the incentives so that the only thing Universities produce are engineers, MBA's and medical professionals is an awful idea societally and for the individuals involved?



> As you point out - the fact of the matter is that an undergraduate degree in business, engineering or medicine costs the same as a degree in art, social work or childhood education and pays about 3-4 times as much.

And one of the major reasons for that is that we continue to produce an oversupply of liberal arts graduates, who then get stuck in food service rather than actually working as a teacher or psychologist, while their existence suppresses wages for anyone who can actually find work in those occupations because the employers can choose the lowest bidder from a desperate population of qualified applicants.

It's like saying corn farmers are having a hard time, so let's subsidize the production of corn. Well, then there's too much corn, and what does that do to the price of corn?


> Do you really think a society is going to function without teachers, psychologists, lawyers and artists?

This is a loaded question based on a faulty assumption. A societal shortage of people in these professions would cause their compensation to increase accordingly, incentivizing more people to enter them until an equilibrium is reached. This is basic supply and demand. Also...

> So it's individually quite stupid to major in anything _other_ than engineering, business or premed.

This is based on the faulty premise that everyone has the same skill set and can succeed at engineering, etc. as opposed to other fields where they may have a comparative advantage.


The thing is, society doesn't survive a drought of teachers, for example. If the number of teachers fall below a certain amount, the new generation will not be correctly educated and the knowledge transmission link is broken.

This is similar to any other area, really.


I think the education market is ripe for disruption with increased online education and collectives for socialization. Homeschooling 2.0, which doesn't require expensive physical plants for every neighborhood.


But why does the "degree" require paying for college football or fancy dorms or student entertainment? College has lost its focus on education and, nationally, colleges are competing on providing amenities and costs of college are skyrocketing.

Wouldn't it make sense to bring college education back to its original purpose?


Which original purpose? The elite school one of allowing the next generation's ruling class to network with one another, or the land grant one of doing the same thing for flyover country, but also discovering new ways of applying fertilizer at the same time?


do you think it's likely that the number of teachers, psychologists, etc. could actually approach zero without significant increase in pay for these positions?


Thank you for this. Can we start backwards from a model of what we believe a rich, healthy society should look like, and then figure out how to get there? A society that depends only upon "market signals" to determine which jobs have value is not one I would wish to live in.


But, our current society already does this, since we're not living under communism and centralized price fixing.

Even "public" school salaries are determined by the market.


Arranging the incentives to be responsive to market signals would move us towards a situation where there are paying jobs for all who graduate, not one where everyone graduates in what are currently the top-paying fields given a different system.




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