Another hilarious exposé of our Ponzi scheme society:
College graduates represent the fastest growing demographic of consumers who have filed for bankruptcy over the past five years, according to a new report out Tuesday.
Wait, really? Our high school guidance counselors always told us that a college degree guaranteed financial success down the road.College Grads Behind Increase in Bankruptcy Filings
If you hang around Libertarians, you’ve probably heard them say that a Federal Reserve Note (a.k.a. the dollar bill) is only worth the paper it’s printed on. What gives the bill its value is 1), the theoretical amount of real-world value it represents; and 2), the consensus of the masses that this green slip of processed wood pulp is actually worth something.
A dollar bill used to represent something real. Not only did it represent a real amount of real gold, it also represented a nation that organized, invented, and constructed things of real value. Now the dollar bill is backed up by neither: we got rid of the gold standard, and switched our economy from an agricultural/industrial powerhouse into a “service economy” of paper-pushers and burger flippers.
Big surprise – a college degree works the same way:
Back in 1940, less than 5 percent of Americans 25 and older had bachelor’s degrees. Now, according to data released by the Census Bureau in December, nearly 28 percent do.Census Data Show Rise in College Degrees
We’ve sextupled the percentage of degree holders – that must mean Americans are six times as smart! But… go back to that opening quote. College graduates are no longer guaranteed a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. Instead, they end up thousands of dollars in debt, jobless and bitter. What a mystery.
Except back in 1940, a college degree meant something. It meant you were part of a national elite – less than 5% percent of the population, and thus in high demand. This was backed up by a standard, not of gold but of culture: college should be hard enough, and challenging enough, that only extremely dedicated and intelligent people can succeed.
As a corollary, not having a degree was not a shameful thing. Maybe you didn’t have the money or smarts; maybe you did have the brains but figured you could make a better living (and be happier) working in the family business or farm, without wasting four years of your life. Seeing as how pre-1960s USA had one of the highest standards of living in the world, we can only assume they were on to something.
Then came the rise of that modern Unholy Trinity: uninformed mass opinion, amoral capitalism, and government bureaucracy.
The uninformed masses saw the comfortable life-style of college graduates and, not understanding that life-style might be a reflection of ability, came up with the genius idea that their secret was that little piece of paper called a degree! If we had degrees too, they reasoned, we could live just as comfortably as those snooty elitists.
Meanwhile, the least principled colleges realized that if they invented a bunch of meaningless degrees that were attainable to anyone, they could make a killing – and the banks realized that they too could make a killing, through overvalued loans to students with unrealistic expectations of success. Bringing up the rear was Big Government, who smelled a chance for regulation and bureaucracy.
And that is how we got from this:
College has changed from a civilized institution dedicated to knowledge and growth, to a free-for-all daycare. Most “students” are there to drink, do drugs, have sex and escape life for a few more years. Employers are beginning to figure this out. And yet most college grads would still look down their noses at kids who decided to do something realistic: become a carpenter, start a company, work on a farm, etc.
The college Ponzi scheme worked for a few decades, just like our overvalued currency. But now the slow realization is upon us: without standards, our society has become a meaningless chase for symbols which are turning out to have no real value. We must reinvest these empty symbols with value, value which cannot be maintained without cultural and material standards. Otherwise we will continue chasing these ashes in the wind, while our society crumbles around us.
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.