Keith Bradsher at the NY Times reports from Guangzhou what we all knew long ago: more college degrees don’t create wealth, they create navel-gazing twits who wander aimlessly waiting for a worthy job while working as barristas. China is churning out millions of college graduates and they’re graduating to take jobs that pay 1/3rd of what uneducated factory workers make. That’s right. They’re not just getting a degree that is worthless but they’re actually going backwards economically. They make less. They just sit around and dream about an office job.
I like this little aside:
“China now has 11 times as many college students as it did at the time of the Tiananmen Square protests in the spring of 1989, and an economy that has been very slow to produce white-collar jobs.”
But worry not, ruling class. The educated folks in the cafes think that their job is to sit around in cafes and theorize about revolution. The dirty work of throwing Molotov cocktails is for the unwashed. And what do the unwashed think of the Marxist theory? Well, they have nice jobs and no real incentive to overthrow the status quo.
It’s instructive to look at this one paragraph:
Part of the problem seems to be a proliferation of fairly narrow majors — Mr. Wang has a three-year associate degree in the design of offices and trade show booths. At the same time, business and economics majors are rapidly gaining favor on Chinese campuses at the expense of majors like engineering, contributing to the glut of graduates with little interest in soiling their hands on factory floors.
That’s right. These kids didn’t spend their four years in paradise dreaming about Jane Austen or some Chinese equivalent. Nope. They were studying practical things like design of offices. Yet along the way, they moved the pot of gold and these kids didn’t get the memo. Mr. Bradsher makes these practical degrees look bad by calling them “fairly narrow”. Yup.
So all of you liberal arts majors working in Starbucks, you can quit kicking yourself for not getting a business degree or one in office design. They’ve moved the goal posts once again and those are “fairly narrow.” Yup. That’s the ticket.
The thing is that we just don’t need all of the office workers that the colleges would like to produce. And no wishing or praying or talking like Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams” will make these wonderful, secure jobs appear ex nihilio.
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