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The universities shouldn't be relying on 2/3 or 3/4 adjunct professors, but they're doing it because they can, which is because the system as designed produces way more candidates for professorships than there are positions available.
Get a job like anyone else would? Why must academia or industrial research be the only plausible options?
After doing a PhD you can be a high school teacher, a soldier, an actor, start a company, go into politics, do whatever you want. Nothing’s stopping you!
Most jobs just want capable educated people, and many vary diverse educational backgrounds.
Is there nothing that you do inherently for the challenge or joy of it?
I did my PhD because it was a challenge and I had a lot of fun doing it and found it extremely rewarding.
Like the parent comment said
>After doing a PhD you can be a high school teacher, a soldier, an actor, start a company, go into politics, do whatever you want. Nothing’s stopping you!
Most people don't go into debt for a PhD afaik. Failure to monetize a PhD directly just means falling back into the more traditional workforce.
Stable job in a small city isn't enough of a practical application?
It obviously is attractive, since people chose to do it.
Maybe they're thinking about more than money?
Why do you care anyway? Are these people who take a reduced income to better themselves and others through learning a particular thorn in your side for some reason?
My point is many people don't have the privilege to do so. The article specifically references individuals who sought higher education as a path to a better life -- so if I have a thorn in my side it's the tone-deafness of saying it's not about money.
But I don't think this matches up with what I know from reality. People get a stipend for a PhD. Yes it's not massive, but it's enough. I think all student loan systems that I know of have repayments means tested, so you don't have to repay if your income is low.
Maybe you lose some income opportunity, but I don't see how makes it less accessible as long as the stipend is enough to live on?
A PhD seems particularly accessible to me, actually! More accessible than an undergraduate degree since it's all paid for!
It's just not opportunity cost. As the article references, many PhD degrees don't increase earning potential at all in part thanks to the adjunct system.
So to be clear in the US it's a four year undergraduate degree (which usually comes with debt), then five or six years of working for near-poverty wages to obtain a PhD, and when you finally get it you find that you haven't increased your earnings potential from when you had no degree at all. It's fine to wax philosophical about getting a PhD to become a well-rounded gentleman but the issue at hand is higher education failing those relying on it for professional success.
Most qualified people at reputable institutions get paid to do a PhD. I bought a house and had a baby while doing a PhD. It needn't hold you back.
I'm glad you had the luxury of pursuing a passion PhD without sacrificing your personal life or worrying about future career prospects. Most students I've known did not have that privilege.
And, yes, my final year I did not work the summer in order to finish my thesis. Yes, I understand that not everyone has the luxury of additional employment. However, it is not a truism that those of us who pursue a PhD must sacrifice their personal life or career prospects. It improved both of mine.
NB Traditional PhD studentships did get a pittance, but relatively few people seemed to do these (at least where I worked).
Edit: Also I had no student debt, which definitely makes things easier.
3 years I think is standard in the UK, for example (https://www.prospects.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/phd-study/wha...).
Strikes me you should say your locality and field of study as doctorate length seems like it would be a function of both of those.
6 years is probably pretty typical in the US for the sciences. For the humanities it's generally even longer (often due to the need to work to support oneself due to lack of funding). I recall seeing somewhere that the _median_ history PhD takes 11 years.
Edit: seems I misunderstood the UK structure, perhaps I was confusing with continental Europe? Not sure about the time difference in that case.
No that's the opposite - in the UK you normally either do a masters or a PhD but not both. You can leave your PhD partway through and you get a masters though, maybe that's what you mean.
A canonical PhD in the UK is three years of undergraduate and three years of PhD, so six years from leaving high-school equivalent. Some people take one or two extra years in practice.
I had a colleague in Austria who did a full high-quality PhD with top-tier publications in just two years!
That's not my experience - you can generally go straight from an undergraduate degree to doing a PhD - I did and most of the people I knew did the same (and the people who had Masters either had done MEng as a first degree or had MSc conversion courses).
NB There is also the weird thing where some UK institutions give you a MA for still existing after a few years....
Even the article geographically contextualises its examples; which suggests to me they at least realise they address a global audience on the web.
I knew fewer folks in the humanities, but you might be right there: some were certainly doing this on a lark.
A PhD is financially viable for anyone who could make ends meet while working at Best Buy. Most people working on a PhD have no family or mortgage.
1940 - 4.6% had a bachelor university degree
today - 33% percent have a bachelor, but only 2% have a doctorate
> For the first time in history, 90 percent of Americans over 25 years of age have finished high school. In addition, more than one-third of Americans over the age of 25 have a college degree or higher.
> That is a big change from 1940. At that time, a Census Bureau study found that less than 25 percent of the U.S. population had completed at least four years of high school. It also found that just 4.6 percent had earned a four-year bachelor’s degree or taken additional classes after completing a study program at a college or university.
Look people aren't going into phds with the goal of signaling they are educated to the general job market the way people used to go for bachelor's degrees. They go into phd programs because on the whole they are very interested in a specific subject and desire to work in research or academia.
Your argument might hold for master's but not phds.
"Degree inflation" didn't happen last year, it was a slow process.
> people aren't going into phds with the goal of signaling
I've seen plenty of programming jobs with "PhD required". For example pretty much any "data-science" job at any company.
> Some jobs that used to require a master's degree, such as junior scientific researcher positions and sessional lecturer jobs, now require a Ph.D. Also, some jobs that formerly required only a Ph.D, such as university professor positions, are increasingly requiring one or more postdoctoral fellowship appointments. Often increased requirements are simply a way to reduce the number of applicants to a position.
So you think we're going to get to a point in 10 years where 10% of the population has a phd?
>I've seen plenty of programming jobs with "PhD required".
So have I. For research jobs. Please show me the general programming jobs that have phds required.
I know lots -- LOTS -- of people in various industries with a whole smattering of Master's degrees. A lot of them are MBAs, but plenty aren't.
Conventional wisdom says that PhD's are for academia & research. I'd posit that an MA or MS is the new "university degree".
Most PhDs dont want to do that stuff which is why they got a PhD in the first place.
People have to settle for not fulfilling their dreams every day.
The "winners" usually come from old money and then just play with VC billions, never risking a dime, or at least not much.
However, STEM salaries are on the order of 40% lower -- lower overall numbers on top of 20-30% currency difference (CAD to USD, with CAD being weaker to drive exports). If you're a motivated engineer you're headed south, getting into oil & gas (where salaries are still decent), or learning to accept things as-is.
OTOH the number of well adjusted people, broke people, and all-around happy people is higher north of the border.
And so they hide out in academia to see when they are ready to take that risk. After a certain point, they just stay there.
One sibling working her ass off to prove that she can be as successful as her parents, under tremendous stress, and the other one never leaving school to not even deal with that.
It's kind of like student spending huge numbers of hours playing basketball or football in college, when they have no prospect of making it as a pro. If that's what they want to do, fine, I'm sure the lessons about hard work and teamwork and practice and executing to a plan are all useful.
But, if far more of them think they are going to go pro, than actually will, then it's not ok. The current Ph.D. system is not ok.
If we wanted high school teachers or soldiers, there’s got to be a better way. And realistically, it’s hard to pivot into some of these fields while relatively poor and in your 30s. Can’t join the marines after 28, for example...
Are there schools where tax money is actually paying tuition though, as opposed to the school just waiving tuition?
> Can’t join the marines after 28, for example
That's enlisted. If you have a phd you'd almost definitely join as an officer, which you can do until 30. And you have until 39 if you want to go into the Air Force.
In biomedical fields, the NIH provides institutional training grants that often cover all students' first 1-2 years. There are usually slot for more advanced students too. In parallel, there are also individual training grants (like the NSF's GRP and the NIH's NRSA) that also cover tuition. Alternately, an advisor's research grant (again, often tax-funded) can cover a stipend--and sometimes tuition too.
Waivers do exist, but they're often used for international students or in exchange for "service" (i.e., teaching) and fairly few people get through grad school entirely on waivers.
They're covering a stipend at $24,816, tuition at up to 16k, "training-related expenses" at $4200 and an institutional allowance of another $4200. There are undoubtedly other sources of money too (center grants, etc).
I'm emphatically not saying this is a bad thing in general. However, I do think it might be worth considering diverting /some/ of this money to fund jobs for the people we're training.
I get the stipend and expenses. It's the 30-40k in tuition that I'm questioning. At my school CS grad students just got a tuition waiver, and as far as I know it wasn't directly paid for by grants.
As for the stipend. They are doing research, so you have to evaluate the money in that context. If they are doing useful work for that $25k it's not a waste even if they don't end up working in research after finishing.
There are other costs too: here's an interesting study that tries to estimate non-tuition, non-stipend costs https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4353078/#B6 These, since they're mostly faculty time, are also partially paid for by funders.
In any case, my point is that grad student labor is both important surprisingly expensive and it's not at all clear to me that we have the "right" amount of it. Specifically, I think it might be better, from a research productivity and a "system health" persepective, to have somewhat fewer grad student slots and a few more staff scientist positions: Maybe 70/10 instead of 100/~0.
There is also the historical (especially 1960s, but really this dates back to the Reformation) role of the university as a political hotbed. It is this which has come into conflict with the wider world, and it is this which has caused heavy commercial pressure to destroy the intellectual independence of the university and turn it into just a training facility.
We'll need to face those problems. And as we progress that need will become ever more stark and ever less ignorable even for the rich.
Knowledge will become fashionable again as its results - fixing the power deficit, the population explosion, the unwanted climatic changes - become demanded and crucially if they payoff.
Then we'll all grow fat and comfortable again only to realise we forgot the lessons of the past.
The other alternative involves killing a lot of people, either actively or through neglect, which is far more popular than you might expect.
This is the lesson of the global warming discussion, among others. Nobody wants to hear about problems, especially not when the solution involves changing their lifestyle. It's far easier to just deny. Truth in that environment is a threat.
I came up with the hypothesis that this was happening at 3am last night while writing, and to close the loop that quickly and see that it's a real thing I just wasn't aware of, is astonishing!
The goal for university courses shouldn't be strictly specific skill training, but also requirements that force people outside their comfort zones, encouraging them to think it new ways and adapt their problem solving faculties to new domains.
Physical fitness isn’t going to come from a swimming class. If you’re an adult, you’ll take care of your body because it’s the right thing.
I don't buy that. I know plenty of people who've picked up languages all up and down the age range.
What I do think is true is that people are more likely to pick up their first additional language at a younger age. And I think that that's probably just an result of selection bias: If you actually need to for some reason (e.g., one language spoken at home and another in public), then those conditions will apply more-or-less from birth, so you'll learn it at a young age. And if you enjoy language learning, then you'll probably figure that out at a fairly young age, and so you'll have learned your second language at a fairly young age.
The people who're looking to learn their second language in their 30s or 40s, on the other hand, are likely to be less motivated in the first place, and therefore more likely to give up, or to be unwilling to put enough work into it to make consistent progress.
There's also a sort of. . . I don't know if it's immortal time bias, but it's similar: You don't see as many people who learn a language at an older age exhibiting near-native levels of proficiency simply because the timeline doesn't work out that way. You just aren't going to be speaking like someone who's been using the language 16 hours a day for 20 years if you've only been using it 1 hour a day for 5 years. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is probably selling something with a subscription pricing scheme.
I can also say, as a recreational language learner who is rapidly approaching middle age, that the real impediment to learning languages as you get older is not that you don't have a 6 year old's or teenager's brain anymore. It's that you have one or more 6 year olds or teenagers, and spending time with them is probably more fulfilling (or at least more important) than spending time with a pile of flashcards. Such is life.
As far as the value of requiring them in university. . . Offer, yes, require, no. Not because 18 is too late to start learning a language, but because nobody who's only taking classes in a 2nd language because a few credits in such a class is required for graduation is going to get any real value out of the experience.
As most US universities and colleges currently teach? Certainly not. If we were to teach it as most language schools and most european universities teach it. Then, yes. It would be another skill.
I took courses in Mandarin. While my spoken language is certainly rusty at this point it gave me an insight into East Asian history and culture that I would not have today.
There’s a good chance in your lifetime that you may involuntarily end up in the water. Say your car crashes into a lake. You fall off a bridge or dock. Your ferry or duck boat sinks. Etc.
Learning to swim doesn’t take a ton of time and may very well save your life. Also you’re missing out on a bunch of possible fun / rewarding water activities.
Foreign language perhaps more than other topics, schooling is nearly useless compared to immersion.
I certainly went through all this (wanted to be faculty) and ended up doing SWE and science work at a large internet company. In retrospect, though, I think I should have skipped the PhD and gone straight to tech.
And also because the accreditation process lets them. There are a handful of accreditation bodies in the US, and they certify schools. They look at education level of their instructors, but if they changed to also look at the employment classification because they decided it was better for the students to learn that way, you would see a huge change within a few years.
Setting aside whether the right criteria are used for career advancements or not, any meritocratic hierarchy is based on having more candidates on a lower lever compete to get into a smaller but higher level.
To the point stressed to death in another thread, sure you could go get another job that has nothing to do with your PhD, but many people see graduate education as a career step, not a lifestyle choice.
Many humanities and social science academics also show extreme anti-market bias, and it shows up in the essay.
What happens when the majority of courses at a University are pre-recorded sessions from years ago, with only minor updates from year to year?
It may be better to go to formal physical schools, but it's no longer necessary. Not by a long shot.
It's just going to take another few decades for society to adjust to the fact that university degrees are no longer really that valuable and figure out new ways to evaluate individual competency.
I think people underestimate how difficult it is to self study well enough to get an education like you can get from a (good) university program. Studying is hard! Maybe it is not so hard to learn a little bit. But to learn something with rigour and focus takes a lot of effort, especially if you have other problems to deal with as well. Aside from the value signalling of a degree, paid courses provide a strong motivation to do the uncomfortable and often unrewarding activity of studying.
Source: my own experiences with self-study and a recently started Masters in Biostatistics by distance education, all while working casually or full time.
When reputable schools burn reputation faster than new schools build reputation, it's a broad social problem.
Discipline isn't the only obstacle for autodidacts. If nothing else, at a university you have professors, adjuncts and TAs with office hours who can help you learn something in a fraction of the time it would take to learn by studying a textbook or watching lectures online alone.
For example, vanishingly few people manage to teach themselves an undergraduate math curriculum without going through university.
I loved this because
1. I could watch the tapes on my schedule
2. I could pause or rewind to take notes or better understand something
3. I could fast forward through useless parts.
I remember one particularly useless course where all the professor did was read her slides verbatim. Since I had it on tape I’d just fast forward to the next slide, take some notes, and then repeat. Saved me many hours.
The problem is that colleges still regard themselves as educators and not job trainers, which most young people think of them as. I distinctly remember my politics lecturers telling us they weren't here to get us jobs but to teach us about politics. Which is maybe less problematic if college is free but obviously everyone wants a job after four years of study.
The likes of bootcamps like Holberton School are the way forward. There is no skin in the game for universities. If a graduate doesn't get a job it doesn't affect them one iota. (ok, it doesn't look great for their job report but they can fudge that. )
Coding bootcamps for instance which only make money when their grads get a job are the way forward. They have their incentives aligned with the students.
See this for an example: someone who was a broke artist did a coding bootcamp and is now a developer. But they would never have taken on the debt of a college degree because they weren't sure if they could get a job. The bootcamp gets them a job and if they are unsuccessful they don't pay anything. Bingo! https://www.nocsdegree.com/this-holberton-school-graduate-we...
I think the issue here is that employers have outsourced hiring validation steps to the university, and the university never has, nor should be a platform for training people for specific jobs. Why would you need to go to a 4-year university to become a business analyst when you learn those skills in the job?
To me it makes sense that a university and its staff sees its mission as education and not job training, because that’s what it is.
We need to find a way to change this and stop wasting resources and time. College for most people is a really expensive way to spend 4 years not doing a lot. It’s mostly signaling.
If you grew up in the US, getting scholarships/grants to fund a 4 year degree is not rocket science. If you're smart enough to pass an algorithms interview you're probably smart enough to do that.
Why do people NEED jobs? They could've all started services, small businesses easily. Especially for something like politics, there is always a new business to come up.
Ultimately, I think it boils down to student debt and healthcare. These two are weighing heavily on youngsters, stifling innovation. It's almost like a subtle throwback to medieval peasantry
Someone is still paying for the college. If it's not the student, it's society as a whole. And public money is not an infinite resource.
Good luck bootcamping someone to engineer. Civil or otherwise.
In Vojtko's case, she was an 80+ years old French teacher. How many 'other opportunities' would you suppose were open to her? Obviously her loyalty and long service were being taken for granted.
Previous decades you had to go to a university to get access to resources that simply didn't exist in the rest of the world. Large libraries, labs, lectures, etc etc. Nowadays the internet can provide vastly superior resources then any Library for the most part. Sure there are lots of stuff not yet on there, but that issue that isn't going to exist forever.
Quality courses exist for free. Lots of others are available for hundreds were at colleges they cost thousands. Access to experts is something you can pay for. Don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on books. Can concentrate on what is important to you and you can go at your own pace. People who want to network and peers can still have access to one another through meetups and online messaging. etc etc.
K-12 education is terrible for most people. You can get far superior education for your children by simply enrolling them in Khan institute and hiring tutors for subjects you are not great on.
People think you need to government to solve the cost of education, meanwhile individuals and companies have reduced the cost of education to nearly zero in most cases. Just won't get those special degree certificates that everybody covets. But that won't last forever either.
I think that is silly. Really silly. You have no evidence for this. Learning is mostly a matter of motivation. It's like assuming that having an encyclopedia could replace instruction.
K12 education is way better than we think it is. It's just in the interest of k12 public education for people to think it is bad, so that it gets more resources. But it is one of the better functioning institutions in America. Much better and more per-dollar efficient at creating public value than the police, military or medical system.
Consider, would you rather have the bottom half of society skip it? I'd be terrified of a less educated populace.
Or instruction can replace motivation...
But the author of this article took the time to address the rhetoric systematically.
“I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker.”
I'd wager social skills are the most important things you learn in school with peers. Having to work with others, compromise with others, build self-awareness, talk to the opposite sex, and understand social hierarchies.
You can always learn "stuff" later in life, but it's very hard to change your core social identity.
People with no social skills are basically the underlings of society, like 4chan shut-ins and incels. Dismissing K-12 just seems like a way to guarantee even more children are robbed of their social development.
The only thing that will break this is if demand for labor exceeds supply, forcing employers to hire outside traditional parameters.
I don't think that is the "only thing".
Many employers look for degrees because they are seen as valuable. But they are not necessarily valuable in the most obvious way. A lot of time people are not really interested in what you went to school for at all. The are only interested if you have a degree or not.
This signals to employers that they are interviewing somebody that is willing to make major personal commitments and defer reward for years for POTENTIAL gain. There is no guarantees that spending 10's of thousands of dollars will result in a good job. People who pay for degrees are hoping this is true. A employer can take advantage of these people easily.
If I needed somebody to just be a cog in a corporate machine and I know that they are wiling to work their ass off and make huge personal commitments on the PROMISE of future pay... then that is awesome. I know they will work their ass off and make huge sacrifices for years and I really don't have to pay them that much at all to do it. And I know that their debt will keep them scared and living paycheck to paycheck so they are not going to want to risk unemployment because of how devastating this is financially.
This is why when I am looking for jobs and employers make hard demands on educational certificates that they are probably assholes. It's fine to want degrees, but they are not willing to take professional experience as a alternative then that is a huge red flag.
Yeah it's sticky, but you can't expect the current situation to last forever.
Just because this approach works for CS and a lot of humanities classes this can not be generalized. I have the feeling on here the technology optimism sometimes clouds the view on the reality.
Just some examples here: biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, medicine... To be any use you have to have more than a couple mooc classes.
30 years ago only the wealthiest people in the wealthiest countries could have access to a lot of information. Now all you need is to know English and having a reliable internet connection.
The world is changing.
It's true a lot more research is online but lots of older books can be hard to find good quality pirated copies of, or have never been scanned.
Topical because a big push of academic libraries lately is information literacy.
Their employee budget is $186M and 2,632 employees, which is average ~$71K per employee.
So why was this adjunct professor teaching 8 classes and only earning $25K per year?
BTW, the president of the university makes $1.4M.
 - https://www.duq.edu/about/departments-and-offices/finance-an...
 - https://www.mcall.com/news/pennsylvania/mc-nws-pa-university...
Evidently, where marketing is concerned, families are way happier to say "My kid is going to a $40K college, and got a $15K scholarship!" than to say "My kid is going to a $25K college". Colleges that have tried to present themselves as less expensive by listing the actual tuition cost have quite often lost enrollment as a result.
(Meanwhile, last I heard, Harvard tuition was free for the vast majority of families in the US, unless they're very wealthy. But their official listed tuition is nearly $50K.)
I think the real question is why college expenses have grown so much
Much of this seems like cosmetic fluff, probably intended to attract students (also, wealthy parents). Go to almost any competitive university in the U.S. and look at the groundskeeping, the promotional materials put out by the administration, the proportion of campus infrastructure dedicated to whichever sport is most popular. The modern American university is as much a brand as any other large consumer-facing corporation.
This is something that doesn't get mentioned much, but sucks up more of the budget then you'd think. I've attended multiple schools and I swear that a day didn't pass on my walk to class / my lab that I didn't see scaffolding somewhere to redo some part of some building / sculpture / landscaping feature.
I just looked at open jobs at Harvard. Here are some: Donor relations. Portfolio managers. Property operations. Director of student activities. Dean of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Officer
Wiki says: 9000+ students, $300M + in the endowment fund. Insights into the number of administrators and their pay are not so easy to find. NCAA Division I – A-10, NEC
Clearly this school lost sight of its mission. Absolutely it's not alone.
There are plenty of people in the world who need an education.
So unless some government (or group of wealthy individuals) sets up a philanthropic fund to educate the world, the outlook is bleak.
We could simply try to return the product we had in the 1960’s.
Anyone can take MIT and Harvard classes for free online. A quality education is basically free. Community colleges cost less than 1/2 of minimum wage per year.
Just because people are spending more on education doesn't mean education is more expensive.
It's much cheaper than other universal basic income proposals.
Why should PhDs get a social stipend, but not a chef? This would ultimately be a net transfer of wealth from the chefs to the PhDs, by force of law.
Disasters are going to happen. Having an unskilled population could mean the end of humanity.
A tiny increase in allowance for learning and maintaining(!) useful skills could be an interesting approach. Cooks seem pretty nice to have. In a worse case scenario they could be even more valuable if they could cook on open fire, do a bit of gardening, know more about nutrition.
It will be somewhat of a hard puzzle slapping value on training that is theoretically useful, we might have to do crude generalizations like phd = 200$ extra per month but it wouldn't be perfect or even elegant.
Many PhDs would just want to do research in their field and would continue doing so as long as they can feed and house themselves. Societally, maybe many of these wouldn't produce anything "useful", but some percentage might develop some breakthrough in their field that would more than make up for paying for all the rest.
Would it be better to have some PhD educated math prodigy working an unrelated job paying a median salary because there's nothing available in academia or if we just let that person work on their research all day, might they develop something that would be more useful?
You could make the same argument for providing a universal basic income for everyone, but in the general population you're going to have a higher percentage of people who will just watch Netflix all day or whatever you consider to be a useless activity.
I think if we want the government to pay PhDs to promote research and the advance of knowledge, the PhDBI proposal has some limitations as a means to that end. Many PhDs are gainfully employed, and often have much higher incomes than those without PhDs; they are hardly in need of this stipend. Aside from these cases, it is not clear that the PhDs thus supported are in fact productive, or that the stipend will actually effect the advancement of knowledge, and it seems that it would be very hard to assess the success of this initiative given its structure, or impose any sort of accountability.
You identify "some PhD math prodigy," but there are twice as many doctorates in philosophy as there are in math, and while I am in favor of some PhDs in philosophy, it is not clear the extent to which this specific achievement is something the government needs to be subsidizing. It may be the case that this PhDBI structure would incentivize the pursuit of low-quality PhDs, in the hopes of obtaining the stipend and then ceasing productive work.
(Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/185353/number-of-doctora... )
The government has a variety of avenues to promote research in specific fields: by employing those researchers directly, by funding research universities, by issuing grants to researchers engaged in research. I feel these might be better at obtaining public policy goals, while being much less susceptible to rent-seeking.
And roughly 2000 in math.
>The government has a variety of avenues to promote research in specific fields: by employing those researchers directly, by funding research universities, by issuing grants to researchers engaged in research. I feel these might be better at obtaining public policy goals, while being much less susceptible to rent-seeking.
It's surprisingly difficult to engage in pure research with government grants, believe it or not. In certain fields, like philosophy and math, just covering health insurance and providing lunch money might be much more effective.
Yes, thank you, nailed it.
Most phds have and would continue to have meaningful employment.
I find the system antiquated and full of butt-kissery, especially post-grad. Book sales are plainly a racket.
I'm not sure how real the political hyperbole is, but it's concerning too. I'm all in favor of college campuses being a place of political passion and ideology, but it seems like it's completely one-sided, and that's bad if it's true.
I hope MOOCs take firm footing and start to bring reform. I think it's overdue.
PhD's may make sense in STEM fields, where you can parlay them into lucrative coding/analysis/strategic thinking jobs. But the vast majority of PhDs are text-based, humanities-adjacent...they are people "following their passion" and it's a colossal mistake.
I'd 100 times over rather be a pianist or painter than an expert in medieval lore or obscure literature, at least my family and friends can appreciate a great painting or a wonderful piano piece. That's the kind of passion we should be following, not chasing obscure tomes in an ivory tower.
That leaves ~6,900,000,000 people with nothing crucial to do.
Given that premise, I think it fine, just fine, if they want to e.g. study "medieval lore or obscure literature".