Then I did the impossible 6 years ago. :) In Alabama, no less!
I worked through high school, saved several thousand, had a little pay-as-you-go flip phone, an old $1500 car, and rarely ever saw the inside of a restaurant.
All I know is, it worked for me.
That said, costs have been going up... so sure, it does cost more now. If I didn't have the money for a semester, I'd have just had to take less credit hours. Not optimal, but not the end of the world. And much better than paying thousands in interest for a loan.
Alabama may have a lower minimum wage, making it take longer to earn enough to pay for a year of tuition, but they also have a much lower cost of living than most of the country and that's not taken into account in that chart.
You also forget that for a large number of people, that just doesn't work out. Some of us have to help out our parents when we work (yes, even in high school), and that $1500 car could just as easily cost you thousands in repairs as save you money. Add in health problems or other unexpected but vital expenses and you could really be screwed.
College really doesn't have to cost this much, and it DIDN'T cost this much until very recently. Both the professors and the students are getting a raw deal now, and the fact that you were able to limp your way through school by working a lot and occasionally going less than full-time doesn't change any of that.
I agree with the article and many of the comments here. I'd add that there's another thing: a one-size-fits-all design. Open plan offices are very good for workers for whom collaboration is constant; I've seen sales, marketing, some ops, and a few other departments who would constantly interact no matter what kind of office layout they had. For work that requires lots of concentration and little collaboration, though, that layout is counterproductive. Companies should start thinking about role needs and the space required to support maximum productivity, rather than just having a single layout because it's easier/cheaper. How about a ring of private offices for those that need it surrounding a shared collaboration space? I worked at one place like with that layout and it worked very well.
I'm so happy to see this kind of forward-looking work. The writing is on the wall with the constellation of automation, inequality, free agent nation/gig economy, the Precariat, the end of lifetime employment, and the desire for greater labor fluidity (on both sides of the table.) Taken together, these things make the GBI an incredibly important think to start thinking about right now. The fact that a prestigious organization like YC is interested in it is a hopeful sign / leading indicator.
The "Horatio Alger" myth is one of our most common to illustrate this one. Which is hilarious, because the myth is based on a heavily abridged version of the stories:
"We think we know what comes next: Through hard work and perseverance, Ragged Dick emerges from destitution into a well-deserved fortune. But our contemporary notion of a “Horatio Alger story” departs significantly from what actually transpires in a Horatio Alger story. His heroes do exhibit many of the traditional self-made virtues—industry, frugality, a penchant for self-improvement—which set him apart from the ne’er-do-wells and confidence men who populate his adventures in the streets of New York. But these attributes merely qualify the Alger hero for success; they don’t produce it.
Instead, in Ragged Dick and in the scores of imitations Alger would write in its wake, the hero’s rise is the result of good luck and the good offices of a wealthy benefactor. In novel after novel, Alger’s hero meets a kindly gentleman who takes an interest in the poor boy’s advancement. He then buys the boy a new suit—a rite of passage into respectability that occurs in every story (often there’s a new watch, too)—and finds him a job, typically a junior position in a mercantile firm. Ragged Dick retires his boot-blacking kit when he’s offered a position as a clerk in the counting room of a Mr. Rockwell. He earns that position by saving Rockwell’s son, who conveniently falls off the Brooklyn ferry just as Dick’s penmanship has really started to improve."
The whole thing about the "happiness/money metric" is incredibly misleading, because it doesn't touch upon what money really gets you. Happiness as an emotion might (for some people) trail off after a certain point, but that should be considered irrelevant. Money buys you safety, freedom, and the ability to take risks; those things aren't going to show up in any kind of happiness study. If I had a serious amount of money, that would give me the freedom to work on things I want to work on without having to worry about paying the rent, getting downsized, getting my pay cut, and all the rest.
The idea that the artist that doesn't have to spend their life working in a coffee shop to fund their art or that the software dev that would rather write FLOSS all day rather than take on boring contract gigs isn't happier is absurd on its face.
Really sorry to hear that. I didn't wind up homeless (thankfully) when I did it, but I burned through a good portion of my life savings (20+ years worth.) I'm going to write about it at some point, but the short version is that if you don't have any family or anything similar to fall back on other than your savings, you'd better be very sure your idea is a winner in advance (not exactly trivial.) We all know about the magical exceptions, but most of us aren't in a position to take risks like that without losing most or all of what we have, and that fact sucks. People (especially younger ones) are more risk averse for good reason: