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Libertarian Thread # 3: Liberty will never die

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rogerthat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Libertarian Thread # 3: Liberty will never die
    Posted: July 11 2014 at 23:02
It is interesting to hear that employers in USA rely on the degrees possessed by the candidate (rather than, presumably, the candidate's particular qualities that make him more suitable for the job than others).  That has been the situation in India for a very long time and it allows people who are bookish scholars but poor managers/executives to land good positions in top companies even as bright and motivated people can only ever hope for a 'contract'/'outsourced' job (i.e. not on the rolls of the company but on an outsourced agency's rolls) because they don't have the means to pursue further studies.  My own junior lives in a slum and does not (yet) have a bachelor's degree but is such a motivated and disciplined performer and I feel terrible about not being able to somehow beat the system and give him a job on the rolls which would give him better pay, more job security and a more solid path to career growth in the long run.  I remember, on another forum, arguing with somebody (from America) who I think was an adolescent, and telling him that college education has nothing to do with one's individual proficiency in say accountancy (or any number of subjects) LOL and he thought I was crazy for saying that.  But I know what I am talking about.  What insight I ever gained in colleges was banal at best and wholly superfluous at worst and I learnt everything either on my own or by relying on private tutors.  It is one thing to just cram books into your head and pass exams and another to grasp the core of a subject and understand its larger purpose in the real, practical world of business activity.  And when you are under serious time pressure, you have to have quick reflexes and be able to interlink concepts as if it were the most natural thing to do for you and not open books and try to recall what you studied in college.  

Edited by rogerthat - July 11 2014 at 23:17
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 11 2014 at 13:25
I think it's hard for a business not to do so though I'm not absolving them (if that's an appropriate label). The overabundance of degrees have further stratified the work force. The lack of any sort of degree would seem to indicate a level of incompetence since the prerequisite for a degree is just showing up essentially. Businesses have essentially outsourced their training and interviewing functions to the universities to reduce costs and risk. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 11 2014 at 12:53
I agree, Pat, there does seem to be an inordinate amount of pressure to go to college now, but employers are at least complicit in this as well. Where you used to only need a high school diploma to get an entry level job, now most jobs require some college, if not a bachelor's degree, before you will even be considered for a job, even if it's just a low level office job. More than just a duty, it's become an imperative to go thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt simply to get a job paying $30K a year. This in no way absolves the government, banks and schools of their responsibility in this scam, but people are essentially being forced into college whether they want to go or not, unless they are content to flip burgers their entire lives or take one of those much sought after Walmart jobs.

I also agree that many people have neither the skill set or the attitude necessary for success in school. And I don't really agree with the idea of admitting everyone into college. In fact, without that, college degrees would become rarer, and no longer essential for entry level positions and in turn, those who did actually have them would be valued more than at the current dime-a-dozen. But then the banks and schools would lose out on all that ill-got loot.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 11 2014 at 12:40
Originally posted by The T

And some of the former top-schools seemed to have forgotten they are Universities first, NFL-breeding grounds second, I would add. 


Windfall profits due to a slave labor force and a guaranteed stream of completely inelastic demand for your diminishing services will do that.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Equality 7-2521 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 11 2014 at 12:37
Originally posted by The Doctor

Let's not forget the fact that banks are loaning out money to people to major in such useful degrees as Underwater Basket Weaving or degrees just as useful, which means they prepare kids to live at home with their parents. First, while I think people should be a bit more responsible for themselves and not borrow tens of thousands of dollars to pursue useless degrees which qualifies them for no job, I also blame the government and the banks for extending credit to kids to go to school for such useless degrees and the schools themselves for offering such meaningless fare. You want to major in engineering, science or even business, fine. You want to borrow 100 grand to study Ancient Greek Literature, ummm, no.


It's more pernicious than just the gov's monetary policy and vulturous behavior of academia (which has affected the institutions as much as the students). Much like the case of home ownership, for the last thirty years the government has made it essentially a moral imperative for age 18 children to move on to higher education. The possession of a college degree has been conflated with the USA's caricature of patriotism. Going to college has become a duty to your country and an expectation of your family, if your family wants to be respected in the eyes of the nation. The false promise of abracadabra health, wealth, and happiness due to the college degree buttresses this duty. This has become essentially official government policy. Just last month Michelle Obama was touring High Schools encouraging students to fill out FASFA forms and doing "whatever it takes" to get themselves into college. The Obama administration is by no means unique or more extreme in this. It's absurd. At best it's shortsighted policy which has been b*****dized from a legitimate Cold War era effort to boost science and technology. At it's worst it's a government, banking, and academia triumvirate which suckers those students of middling academic intelligence.

 And comments of this sort are by no means limited to just those majoring in hospitality management type fields. I see troves of students racking up debts to get 2/3 of a degree in Engineering or Chemistry who shouldn't be in school either because of their abilities or mindsets. I see plenty graduating with degrees in sciences which represent little more than a willingness to take on long term high interest learns due both to the lack of respect that industry will have for their BS and the dearth of any real knowledge or understanding of the material in which they've supposedly been trained.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 11 2014 at 09:17
And some of the former top-schools seemed to have forgotten they are Universities first, NFL-breeding grounds second, I would add. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JJLehto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 10 2014 at 23:15
Originally posted by The T

I don't know why the discussion of education is on this thread. This thread was about libertarians and their beliefs and discussion about them. We should resurrect the political discussion thread 

This is better, first of all! 
Not only is the debate better but the intensity of debate, and OK some of the craziness of our friend's views LOL keeps people away Big smile

Why? Education is a major part of gov IMO
There's much to be discussed about the role of gov in education, and sorry for making it all ranty and horrible, but college aid and the econ behind that is also a major force these days. 

In fact Doc is right, and gotta love when two lefties (though he blows me away in that regard) agree about too much gov being a problem Shocked  you are right though Doc. Somewhere in my incoherent rambling Embarrassed I mentioned that state universities used to teach useful skills to the "regular" people, and were a positive force. Now, while I think it's great if you want to pursue a passion, it's true that so many sketchy degrees are being obtained now. Banks and gov are both to blame, they are probably related... Schools too, they don't HAVE to play this game. They can remain rigorous. 

Some of the Ivy League schools have adopted the policy of if you get accepted ,they have your back even if it means loan free $$. Someone I know said her daughter could've gone to Princeton and graduated with $8k in loans. 8,000 for 4 years of Princeton!!! You need at least 20,000 to get through Rutgers.... And no one will accuse Princeton of softening standards. As for these state schools and their medieval literature degrees, well yeah pretty screwy


Edited by JJLehto - July 10 2014 at 23:27
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Doctor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 10:31
Let's not forget the fact that banks are loaning out money to people to major in such useful degrees as Underwater Basket Weaving or degrees just as useful, which means they prepare kids to live at home with their parents. First, while I think people should be a bit more responsible for themselves and not borrow tens of thousands of dollars to pursue useless degrees which qualifies them for no job, I also blame the government and the banks for extending credit to kids to go to school for such useless degrees and the schools themselves for offering such meaningless fare. You want to major in engineering, science or even business, fine. You want to borrow 100 grand to study Ancient Greek Literature, ummm, no.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 07 2014 at 10:19
I don't know why the discussion of education is on this thread. This thread was about libertarians and their beliefs and discussion about them. We should resurrect the political discussion thread 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JJLehto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2014 at 23:43
Sure, that is true but it does seem like the easy way out, gov plays a role as well, and I still think it's honestly more a demand bubble than anything...
Between your generation and mine something changed: That degree is no longer the "golden ticket" because, well everyone is getting one now.  

It makes sense to me, the parents always spoke about how necessary it was, and how that was the way to success. Well, have millions of parents telling this to their children, and so on and so on, by the time 10 years has passed and we're 22, 30% of my fellow generation have done the same. 

I was reading a paper about the Clinton boom, by very liberal economists BTW, and their analysis showed that most of the jobs created went to people with college degrees, or at least some, and only a few hundred thousand went to those without...so the tech boom/increase in finance may have kept college grads afloat, but it's run out by now. 

So sorry, it can never be that simple...even our housing bubble for example: Sure, banks and finance went berserk and sold everyone a bunch of crap, but people still had the demand for it.... That newly wed couple few years fresh out of college still took that $450,000 loan for a massive house in Nevada, that 50 year old couple still sold their house to buy a more expensive one (and took a new 30 year mortgage??) these are stories that happened to people I know btw, if we want to actually make progress Slart have to put the blame game on everyone deserved. My family would always gripe how we have to jump through hoops to get anything OK'd by our bank, or realtor or anything...what all these people were thinking is insane frankly. 
The Obama administration has of course kept the fountain of wealth flowing right to the top, and he personally was OK with the neutering of Dodd-Frank, so lot of good he's done. 


Edited by JJLehto - July 06 2014 at 23:49
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2014 at 16:21
Hmmm, interesting discussion.  When I went to college I started out with grants and then it was all loans.  I had already decided on where I wanted to go with my career in high school  What is happening now is that students are really getting gouged by the banks.   Upwards redistribution of wealth.   Enjoy!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JJLehto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 06 2014 at 14:23
No one really talks about that though, it's always:

1- Damn Reagan/Friedman neoliberals turning these schools into profit centers
2- There's too many loans being out (courtesy of the gov and/or greedy banks)

Both play a role I'm sure but it seems that simple to me...excess demand. Eventually this bubble has to pop and it's going to be an insanely painful one. 


Well that does make sense, so is that basically saying only the better students attend university, (and for "good" programs)? 
Damn, maybe the increasing availability of loans really is part of the problem. 


Edited by JJLehto - July 06 2014 at 14:29
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 30 2014 at 01:37
Does appear to be a case of excess demand. If students take on loans to pursue courses that may not offer great job prospects, there's no incentive for institutes to charge less. In India students typically only borrow for courses at reputed engineering/medical colleges or B schools. So there are lots of courses that are very affordable.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JJLehto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2014 at 21:37
Anyway...if I can get into college for a bit, I am curious what some here think, especially Roger. 

I've heard so many reasons why college in the US has become so outrageous, no one fully sure why. 
Some say the increase in loans available have made demand too great for supply. Some that "neoliberal" ways have corrupted the schools, cutting costs (including for professors) and making big bucks for administrators. Again... at one point my school's president was the highest paid in the US, well over $1 mill a year. Some say states have been cutting aid to their schools, thus tuition must naturally rise. Maybe a bit of all. 

So I'll ask, does anyone think it's possible too many kids go to college?
It sounds bad to say, liberals esp get mad at it, but I don't know. There's way more college grads than worthy jobs, many young Americans know lots of college grads are working jobs that don't need it, supposedly wages have been stagnating for college grads as well. 

Yes, right now it is still worth it to go. However, with costs rising, more grads struggling to find work/worthy pay isn't it almost like a bubble? 

More so, if more grads have to take "lesser" jobs, won't it kind of push everyone down the ladder? 

Could it simply be supply and demand? I know in my parent's generation college was the golden ticket. That was the way to a good middle class life, or better. So as more kids go to college operating under this belief, it's basically flooded the schools which have pretty inflexible capacity (inelastic supply) thus why tuition skyrockets? 


So it's great so many more have an opportunity for a better life, but have too many taken advantage? 
It used to be that the elite universities were a ladder for the elites to run the country, while the state universities (many funded by the land grant acts in the 1800s) were there for the "regular" people, as a chance to learn important skills focused on engineering and farming, and get that ticket to a better life. These state schools provided a middle class life for lots of people in their respective states. Even when I went to Penn State, a land grant school, in the mid 2000s it's where people in state went for engineering and agriculture.I think it's reasonable that for whatever reasons, so many are choosing to go now it simply is "adjusting" aka higher tuition, becoming more selective, eventually maybe only the affluent/truly good students will be able to go againLOL  

How is university education like in other countries/all this mess avoided? Am I wrong about all this?


Edited by JJLehto - June 29 2014 at 21:43
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JJLehto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2014 at 21:11
As someone who not only is dealing with loans from his undergrad, but wanting to pursue more education, I can say yes...things are pretty screwed up here. We all know the price is crippling, perpetually rising but funny stadiums were mentioned...sports have really messed things up too. 

Every American has already known this, but it's finally being said by the mainstream:
There's been a few scandals out of U of North Carolina about athletes putting out laughably BS work and being passed, taking fluff classes, sometimes even more or less "made up" classes just for athletes. This happens at every university big with sports.
It's become purely business. Though it is illegal to do so, over 100 (I think) schools have been busted paying students to go there, and paying them while playing there. The schools of course make quite a pretty penny off all this. Tragically, my alma mater showed how far a school will go to protect their "brand" ie Penn State covering up child molestation since it involved our beloved football team. 

The schools and governing sports body make a killing, but athletes are barred from profiting from their name, I recall one kid being told to stop selling caps with his number on it for $15. Seriously...
So this is why there has been a suit brought against the NCAA, as well as athletes in Northwestern fighting to be unionized !?  I heard a long, interesting talk on the radio about the economics of it all, and if these cases move forward, basically the far far away, logical endpoint are college football and basketball becoming their own independent, profitable, self sustaining league. In a way I don't see why it shouldn't be...the schools use the kids for $, the better athletes have no interest in education, (usually), all are being paid off, and these schools sink so much into sports...maybe if they were their own league these universities could actually focus on ya know, educationAngry

Sorry, it's a major angering point for me hah
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 29 2014 at 09:19
Following from the train of thought I voiced last time on the adverse effects of wantonly pursuing expansion of output, I would like to state here that I am now a convert on the issue of legal tender.  Tongue It has taken a long time for me to look at it clearly but perhaps I have got the hang of it now.  Basically, even as a 'mere' means of exchange, money should have a price.  It should be a good.  It should be backed by value and ideally what money one decides to use should be decided by competition between currencies, not a govt monopoly.  Let me be very clear that this does not mean I have turned libertarian overnight (because I just have a strictly personal distaste for over-committing to one particular set of principles to the exclusion of everything else)! LOL  But mainly that looking at it logically it is (suddenly) easy for me to see how the sheer worthlessness of a currency under govt monopoly allows them to do with it as they please and repeatedly wreck havoc on the economy.  If they did not have unlimited flexibility over what amount of money they could release into the market, they would also be forced to manage money supply better and allow for a scenario where the market could correct itself rather than govt having to bail it out at great cost to the taxpayer.  The only condition under which it is at all acceptable for govts alone to have the right to print currency is if it is backed by physical assets like gold and silver and not just an IOU.  But for the complex and inter connected world we live in today, competition would probably be better.  Just in my own country, looking at all the white-elephants-left-to-dust that the govt built for various reasons and wasted money on...that probably wouldn't be possible if money actually had a value instead of just something that flowed on the tap from a printing press.  It would have kept finances more responsible.  I think the great misgiving is austerity would not help the poor access at least a semblance of dignity in their lives but the other issue is such an upliftment has to happen on a sustainable basis and not by means of a blank cheque written by tax payers to govt. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ProgMetaller2112 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 27 2014 at 00:56
Originally posted by rogerthat

Maybe debt makes the students complacent. It pinches more if you have to pay for it with whatever you've actually got by way of savings than if you can have a loan take care of it and hope to recoup it when you start working.  

Pinches LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2014 at 10:37
LOL @ stupid expenses on state of the art sports facilities.  You know, just a month back, I was in America and pretty much gaping in awe at my cousin sis's huge school campus with in house stadiums.  Because my school as well as my college were both just large, single, multi storeyed blocks with a small patch of land that was passed off as a playground and they were places of decent repute (the actual quality of education they delivered is a different story altogether).  

But yeah, I do agree that such facilities should only be created and maintained where it is sustainable to do so.  Thanks for a very informative analysis.  It does seem like grants become a necessity at some point, something to be kept alive at any cost, even where it no longer fulfills its original purpose and perhaps impedes it.  After all, what is the point of state grants for educational facilities but to make it affordable for students lacking financial means to pay for it.  So if students have to take debt on board to avail of education, it's a terrible situation.  It puts in perspective some of the criticism of Govt I have read on this thread and elsewhere on the net.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The T Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2014 at 10:29
The problem has many origins I think. One is the nature itself of the system here in the US where healthcare and education are "industries" that are just like any other, designed to generate profit and not social results. But that would be simplistic. Many countries have an equivalent of financial aid, bit education costs remain low. Here they have become inflated because, well, they can. Besides the millionaire compensations of university presidents and the stupid expenses in state-of-the-art buildings and sporting facilities, compensations are very high. And the quality keeps going down: I wouldn't have believed it by just reading it, but I experienced it, in the not-for-profit University I attended: classes given by assistants, not the professors themselves, powerpoint presentations repeated verbatim, etc. 

Financial aid, sadly, has become a problem instead of a solution. The program is well intended. But its very existence suddenly gives everybody the option to go to college, and the best way for universities to get millions of students and millions of dollars at any price they like to set. The 90-10 rule is an example: this rule says that at least 10% of a university's income has to come from sources different than Financial Aid. So 90 PERCENT of a college revenue can come from student's grants and loans. They basically live off the state, and it's in their interest that financial aid remains available for everybody, no matter how little the chances of a student actually graduating or getting a good job, no matter the amount of debt a student gets to get a useless degree. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2014 at 02:05
Not a lot at all.  But depends on what degree, what college.  Engineering and medical in the best institutes can be costly.   IIT-Bombay charges somewhere around what $800 per year.  That's dirt cheap by US standards, I guess, but for a poor student, it would be very costly.  Then again, IIT entrance tests are very competitive and I am not sure that many who are very poor would be able to clear it.   If you just want a Graduate Degree in either Science or Commerce, though, it's pretty cheap.  Even colleges that don't get govt aid would charge you around $170 or so per year and colleges that do get aid...maybe $50.  It's eight years since I graduated so these numbers may not be too accurate but I am sure they are not too far off.  Here the problem is more of getting admission to a good college because employers, especially in big companies, can fuss a lot about where you studied, what degree, etc.  However, in good times, even smaller firms paid decent salaries and they tend to be more interested in whether you can do the job rather than your qualifications.  There are too many students and too few seats, that in a nutshell is the issue here.  And ridiculous ultra high scoring in the high school exam (10th standard for us) doesn't help matters.

Edited by rogerthat - June 21 2014 at 02:06
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