University education as an unemployment heat sink

I should have realized this long ago, but Fred beat me to the punch.

A search continues, long quietly underway but now intensified, for ways to keep off the work force people for whom there is no work, or no real work. These are not necessarily lazy, shiftless, or parasitic. They just don’t have anything to do.

Child-labor laws and requirements that people finish high school helped diminish the labor force. Then society told the young that they all needed to go to college, when most of them didn’t, and since the universities served chiefly as holding pens, the quality of education dropped. Universities did however employ professors and administrators. Here was another example of selling at high price something that no one really needed, namely the appearance of education.

Fred Reed
Economics Explained

Though it pretends to curmudgeonly modesty, this is actually a profoundly great article. Go read it. It is an extremely concise explanation of the modern economy, and ought to be added to the Western canon alongside Shakespeare.

Also notable is the implication that education is the greatest achievement of advertising in all of modern history.


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7 Responses to University education as an unemployment heat sink

  1. Heaviside says:

    “What the English call ‘comfort’ is something inexhaustible and illimitable. [Others can discover to you that what you take to be] comfort at any stage is discomfort, and these discoveries never come to an end. Hence the need for greater comfort does not exactly arise within you directly; it is suggested to you by those who hope to make a profit from its creation.”

    Hegel already understood modern advertising and consumerism in 1816. Starting to believe in the end of history yet? Do you think he would find what has transpired since he died at all surprising?

    “Further, the abstraction of one man’s production from another’s makes labour more and more mechanical, until finally man is able to step aside and install machines in his place.”

    (Hegel predicted automation, and French literati types are actually dumb enough to say that Marx isn’t relevant to a “post-industrial” society)

    “The public authority takes the place of the family where the poor are concerned in respect not only of their immediate want but also of laziness of disposition, malignity, and the other vices which arise out of their plight and their sense of wrong.”

    “The line which demarcates the rights of parents from those of civil society is very hard to draw here. Parents usually suppose that in the matter of education they have complete freedom and may arrange everything as they like. The chief opposition to any form of public education usually comes from parents and it is they who talk and make an outcry about teachers and schools because they have a faddish dislike of them. Nonetheless, society has a right to act on principles tested by its experience and to compel parents to send their children to school, to have them vaccinated, and so forth.”

    “As a result of this presence of accident, of personal arbitrariness, the public authority acquires a measure of odium. When reflective thinking is very highly developed, the public authority may tend to draw into its orbit everything it possibly can, for in everything some factor may be found which might make it dangerous in one of its bearings. In such circumstances, the public authority may set to work very pedantically and embarrass the day-to-day life of people. But however great this annoyance, no objective line can be drawn here either.”

    Nothing new under the sun.

    “When complaints are made about the luxury of the business classes their passion for extravagance – which have as their concomitant creation of a rabble of paupers (see § 244) – we must not forget that besides its other causes (e.g. increasing mechanisation of labour) this phenomenon has an ethical ground, as was indicated above. Unless he is a member of an authorised Corporation (and it is only by being authorised that an association becomes a Corporation), an individual is without rank or dignity, his isolation reduces his business to mere self-seeking, and his livelihood and satisfaction become insecure. Consequently, he has to try to gain recognition for himself by giving external proofs of success in his business, and to these proofs no limits can be set. He cannot live in the manner of his class, for no class really exists for him, since in civil society it is only something common to particular persons which really exists, i.e. something legally constituted and recognised. Hence he cannot achieve for himself a way of life proper to his class and less idiosyncratic.”

    “Corporation” here basically means “guild”, which may seem outmoded in today’s society except Hegel’s term “corporation” is actually describes the essence of a guild better than “guild” itself does. To try to explain what he means really bluntly, a “corporation” is a group of people with the same job title. People with a title have a vested interest in preserving the prestige of that title, and not making obvious the differences in skill between different people with the same title(because that means the title has less descriptive power). This is a form of information asymmetry. Programmers and engineers in general are FUCKING MORONS when it comes to anything political, which is why they let themselves be subjected to practices like stack ranking. This is why programming and engineering(less so, depending on which field) are not respected professions like medicine and law. (There are no JavaSchools for heart surgery)

    Carl Schmitt teaches us that politics is all about the friend/enemy distinction, and this even applies to office politics. It’s all about forming cliques. A guild is a clique. Doctors are members of a de facto guild, but programmers are not.

    This explains why engineers are so conservative: they are members of the most politically naive profession. Many conservatives are people who are simply too lacking in an instinctual understanding of politics to be fooled. This is why I find them so frustrating.

    (Glenn Beck called Schmitt a left winger once.)

    (In really broad strokes, Republicans are the Clueless Party, Democrats are the Sociopath and Loser Party.)

    In the next section on die Staat he goes on to blow Libertarians the fuck out and at the very end he predicts the triumph of the principle of the North, the Germanic realm, over the infinite grief of the Jewish people.


    Libertarians: BTFO
    Jews: WREKT
    Schopenhauer: TENURE DENIED

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      Given your recent exchange with Eikos, I feel obligated to point out that you can cut/paste these responses into a blog post, and put my original post in blockquote tags. Wham! You got yourself a starter blog, no extra work. Perfectionism, like specialization, is for insects.

      (Of course, I’d lose all the readers who are just trawling for your comments.)

  2. Heaviside says:

    BTW we could fix all of the problems with automation removing jobs if we just implement my update of the Great Leap Forward but will anybody listen to me nooooooo

    • Heaviside says:

      I mean just look at how cool it would be:

      We could force niggers to pick synthetic neo-cotton on our underground People’s Plantations and deport Mexicans to Pluto, where they’ll mine ODLRO crystals for pennies on the Amero.

      (Pluto is part of NAFTA by the end of the seventh Clinton administration.)

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        Have you also considered that your idea of “cool” is a bit strange? I mean, I get that lots of folks enjoy nothing more than wearing uniforms with shiny buttons and standing in straight lines, but they tend to use different words for it.

        Normal people say “cool” when watching videos of oversized sniper rifles turning unsuspecting goatherds into flying spaghetti.

      • Aeoli Pera says:

        Dammit, should have gone with “flying spaghetti and meatballs”. Better visual.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      Have you considered that it might be because you come off as a bit crazy? Anyway, you only have to convince the people who matter, and they’re up for anything involving mass killings. Makes ’em feel like men of destiny, or something. Translate ubermensch into Latin, presto!

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