Monday, June 04, 2012

Chart of the Day: Education Matters

One interesting perspective on the sub-par "jobless recovery" is a comparison of changes in employment since January 2008 based on education level, see chart above, here's a summary:  

1. College-educated workers have fared relatively well during and after the Great Recession, and employment levels for workers with a bachelor's degree or higher remained fairly stable even during the worst period of job losses (2008-2010).  As of May 2012, employment for college-educated is at an all-time high of 46.355 million workers, and that is 6.3%, and almost 3 million jobs, above the January 2008 level.  During the first five months of 2o12, employment of workers with a college degree has increased by more than one million jobs at an average rate of 231,000 new jobs per month. The jobless rate for this group of workers fell in May to 3.9%, the lowest rate since December of 2008.    

2. Employment for workers with some college or associate degree is 2.4%, and 837,000 jobs, below January 2008.  The jobless rate for this group in May was 7.9%, slightly below the 8.2% national average, but the highest in 7 months for workers with some college, and up from 7.2% in January.

3. Employment for workers with a high school diploma (but no college) is almost three million jobs and 8% below January 2008.  The May jobless rate for this group was 8.1%.

4. Employment for workers with less than a high school diploma is 1.36 million jobs, and 12% below the January 2008 level. The jobless rate for this group rose in May to 13% from 12.5% in April, and has remained above 12% in every month since January 2009.

Bottom Line: The workers having the most difficult time finding jobs in the "jobless recovery" are those workers with only a high school degree and those workers with less than a high school degree.  Those workers with at least some college have been faring much better, especially those with a bachelor's degree or higher.  Perhaps one explanation is that there are so many unemployed workers seeking employment (above 12 million in every month since January 2009), that many employers have the luxury of being selective and hiring college-educated workers for jobs that traditionally didn't necessarily require a college degree.

And while lacking a high school diploma has always been a liability for workers, that liability has gone from a minor liability to a major setback as we move increasingly into a knowledge-based, 21st century economy.  Comparatively, college-educated workers are doing quite well in an increasingly globalized, information-based economy, and it's the less educated workers that are struggling, and will continue to struggle, to find employment and keep a job.  Whatever the explanation, it's clear that "education matters," and having at least some college has insulated many of those workers from the worst effects of the Great Recession and the subsequent "jobless recovery."

93 Comments:

At 6/04/2012 7:52 AM, Blogger Krishnan said...

News like this keeps the education cartel happy and fat - with no real reason to make any changes to how students are educated (and for how much). There is an intense self selection process - those that seek that "education" are indeed very highly motivated and what they know and can do aligns with the diploma.

Sooner or later we will find out how exactly "education" matters - i.e. what exactly is the correlation between education/time on campus/?? and improvement in the ability of students to think critically - and how much of that can be attributed to the university and college.

I expect news items like this to be used by college recruiters to bring ever more customers - and increasing the bloat on campuses

Yes, there is no doubt that education does matter - what that "education" means is still open to question.

 
At 6/04/2012 7:54 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Of course, this now presents an interesting conundrum for the college bubble:

You'll have an easier time getting a job with a college degree

So, people will go to college to get said degree

Increased demand will raise tuition prices.

Financial aid will have to increase to keep up with the rising costs.

As financial aid becomes more plentiful, more folks will want to get in on that.

The additional influx of demand for college education will raise tuition costs further.

Financial aid will have to increase.

Lather, rise, repeat.

 
At 6/04/2012 8:03 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

I didn't see a link to the data. I wonder if those holding an associate's degree are in the "Some College" degree.

I'd really like to find a comparison of earnings and jobless rates for bachelor's degrees in social sciences or arts and associate's degrees in vocational fields. My guess is that physical therapists, medical technicians, computer support specialists, and engineering technicians make out better than those holding 4 year degrees in journalism, scoiology, film studies, and fine art.

 
At 6/04/2012 8:10 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Maybe tbe term education needs a broading out to fit the realities of life...

Is it not education to learn out to tig weld?

To be an electrician or a surveyor?

Maybe colleges and universities should cut out a slice of reality and stick it into their curricula...

I mean just how many art history or einglish lit majors does the country need versus actual, productive, and useful trades people?

 
At 6/04/2012 8:11 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Yes, the second category is "some college or associate degree," I've updated the post.

 
At 6/04/2012 8:28 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

juandos: "Maybe colleges and universities should cut out a slice of reality and stick it into their curricula..."

The problem, of course, is not the colleges and universities.

Government guarantees education loans regardless of whether the the loan is used to earn valuable education.

If education loans were not guaranteed, what bank would loan $50,000 to a young kid who wanted to pursue a degree in English literature? In stead, the kid would have to prepare a viable business plan showing how he or she would ever hope to repay the bank.

Almost every "social problem" is caused by government interference in markets.

 
At 6/04/2012 9:22 AM, Blogger K Parsons said...

How would this correlate to salaries at time of job loss? Non-college educated line rats at GM who had contract-guaranteed overtime making $100,000+ plus bennies as a whole may have been making more than college educated fools with $50,000 student loan debt, yet were more likely to lose their jobs. Need more info.

 
At 6/04/2012 9:53 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

i have a question:

how was this determined? was this the survey they use for u3?

if so, there may be some factors that skew the results.

self reporting of "employment" as a consultant or running your own biz is now common amongst folks (especially in tech and finance) that are actually unemployed (have no income) but do not want a resume blank spot.

i have no idea to what extent this might affect the results, but it's a highly prevalent phenomenon.

 
At 6/04/2012 10:06 AM, Blogger kotetu said...

What I would really like to see is whether these kids are getting jobs in the fields they have studies or not.

 
At 6/04/2012 10:07 AM, Blogger The Patriot said...

I take issue with this assertion, professor. Those with HS diploma or less always fare worse since they usually occupy the fields that are most directly affected by recessions (construction, retail, etc.) Especially this one since it was a real estate based recession.

On a related note, if you ask me, there are way too many college grads. Studies that show that upwards of half the college grads are unprepared vindicate that view. Getting a degree is not the same as getting a good education. I am sure, as a professor, you agree, right?

 
At 6/04/2012 10:10 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

K Parsons: "Non-college educated line rats at GM who had contract-guaranteed overtime making $100,000+ plus bennies"

"Contract-guaranteed" doesn't mean very much after one is laid off, does it? GM can offer to "guarantee" anything. What good is that guarantee if American consumers keep deserting GM for Asian-owned competitors who are not burdened with such "guarantees"?

 
At 6/04/2012 10:21 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

"self reporting of "employment" as a consultant or running your own biz is now common amongst folks (especially in tech and finance) that are actually unemployed (have no income) but do not want a resume blank spot."

This phenom probably skews self-employment nummbers.

I was at a public school mentoring event recently. During a break, people were asking each other about their occupations. The guy with "consultant" on his name tag readily admitted this was code for unemployed.

 
At 6/04/2012 10:22 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

The Patriot: "I take issue with this assertion, professor. Those with HS diploma or less always fare worse since they usually occupy the fields that are most directly affected by recessions (construction, retail, etc.)"

Even in such industries as construction and retailing, the educated workers are more likely to retain their jobs than are those without such an education. A national retailer can afford to flex its cashier workforce as store revenues fall and rise. But smart retailers will hold on to the computer and merchandising talent they are still going to need once business recovers.

That's sort of what the professor was himself asserting. That education - acquiring skills which are more valuable - seems to be the key to reducing risk of job loss. And that's just as true even in industries such as energy and health care - industries which did not suffer as much as construction and retailing.

 
At 6/04/2012 10:25 AM, Blogger geoih said...

How about overlaying the minimum wage increases on your chart. It looks to me like the down turns in the lowest skilled workers all occurred right after the minimum wage was increased in 2008 and 2009. Since 2009, the lowest skilled workers have only seen their employment rates decrease.

 
At 6/04/2012 10:28 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

jet-

""Contract-guaranteed" doesn't mean very much after one is laid off, does it? GM can offer to "guarantee" anything. What good is that guarantee if American consumers keep deserting GM for Asian-owned competitors who are not burdened with such "guarantees"?"

well, that seems to depend on the size of the latest round of bailouts, no?

2.0 were gargantuan compared to 1.0.

3.0 will be greater still.

just give them time to run up another set of debt and obligations.

 
At 6/04/2012 10:44 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

morganovich: " that seems to depend on the size of the latest round of bailouts, no?"

Good point.

 
At 6/04/2012 10:54 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"... returns to higher education have been declining for more than 10 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Median starting salary for bachelor's degree recipients in 2009 and 2010 was just $27,000, down from $30,000 in the years 2006 to 2008. The chart gives us a snapshot in time, but trends also matter, and the trend is downward for college degrees. Earnings also vary greatly depending on the student’s major. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that median earnings run from $29,000 for counseling-psychology majors to $120,000 for petroleum-engineering majors. Is it “worth it” to spend the time and money for a degree in petroleum engineering? If you can do it, probably “yes.” But is it “worth it” to get a counseling degree? That’s far from clear." -- Education Pays—Up to a Point: Statistics that imply you’re always better off with more education are highly misleading.

 
At 6/04/2012 11:20 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

che-

while an interesting stat, that may only be part of the picture.

to really get to return in comparison to not going you need to weight the salary by the likelihood of having one at all.

the drop in pay may be offset vs just going to HS by the divergence in unemployment rates.

sure, that does not help with your student loans any, but it doe make just getting a HS degree look significantly less attractive as an alternative.

 
At 6/04/2012 11:20 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

K Parsons,

Well, those overpaid line rats are adding to the unemployment problem among the less educated. When a company is forced to overpay for labour, it hires fewer workers.

I also wonder how this breaks down among those with higher education. What's the unemployment rate among those who chose area studies and people with real degrees.

This weekend I read a profile of a woman who is a "certified life coach" and holds a masters degree. A MASTERS DEGREE in "recreation and leisure studies".

Recreation and leisure studies. WTF is the coursework for that?

 
At 6/04/2012 11:24 AM, Blogger John Lambert said...

Well, from the onset of reading the article my first thought was "good ad for those saddled with student debt and wondering where their next meal ticket is coming from".

"I mean just how many art history or einglish lit majors does the country need versus actual, productive, and useful trades people?"

Only enough to teach them how to spell and use proper grammar...

The working class line producer will always be needed. The question becomes "from which economy does one wish to pay them." As Northern Europe and the Far East heat up in the Cyber-wars, it's very likely that we may see line production jobs come back to the US due to flailing patent protection measures in the international markets. I'm partial though, having worked in US industries I think we're the best at production in the world. Oh, and I'm all for organized labor having its own voice. If you want to call it a union, then so be it. We're only shooting ourselves in the foot to think we can legislate them away. There's a novel idea, a nation based on individualized freedoms making organized labor illegal? Organization in a free society is kind of like carbonized soda. It's usually tame, and only gets nasty when you bottle it and shake it up.

"On a related note, if you ask me, there are way too many college grads..."

There is no data available that at least some higher ed isn't good for everyone, that of course, desires it. As a nation, we will never be able to instill that desire in every high school student; never in our history have a 100% of high school grads went to college - and they never will. At best it's about two-thirds and less. That doesn't mean that at least some higher ed isn't good for them though. Colleges and universities are market driven - albeit "Johnnie-come-lately's". They're not necessarily market people - they overuse market stats and they're not "in" the market place. They always play catchup because industry doesn't really understand how to leverage them.

As a media and technology specialist in a local high school, the things we see the greater need for in all teens regardless of socio-economic status is 1)life skills and 2)meaningful school industry that can develop craftsmanship.

 
At 6/04/2012 11:28 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Recreation and leisure studies. WTF is the coursework for that?"

i think it's mostly beer pong and sensitivity training.

 
At 6/04/2012 11:34 AM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"There's a novel idea, a nation based on individualized freedoms making organized labor illegal?" -- John Lambert

What you are call "organizing" is actually the abrogation of individual freedom. Workers are free to organize in "right to work" states. What they are not allowed to do is insist that individuals be compelled to join them as a condition of employment.

What's more, I resent the fact that I, as a taxpayer, am forced to bail out unions, like the UAW, when their greed and stupidity results in the death of the industries they are victimizing. I also resent the idea that I am being required to guarantee union pensions when these industries inevitably succumb. Want to organize a union, fine. The consequences of that decision, however, should fall on you and not the rest of us.

 
At 6/04/2012 11:37 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"I'm partial though, having worked in US industries I think we're the best at production in the world"

on what do you base that?

i doubt it's cars or appliances. i would never buy american brands of most of those.

we make the best audio and video equipment to be sure, but we can't make a car or a dishwasher for beans.

even the german and Japanese cars made here have much higher defect rates than the ones they make at home.

 
At 6/04/2012 11:38 AM, Blogger John Lambert said...

"Education Pays—Up to a Point: Statistics that imply you’re always better off with more education are highly misleading."

Education always pays, but not always in dollars. I met my wife via education, and we married at a very early age and have enjoyed 33 years together. A stat that we're very proud of, particularly in a time when divorce rates are over 51%. There's quite a few studies that show divorce rates are lower among college grads.

Education has enhanced all of my interests, and diversified my interests into other fields, to and including my job.

 
At 6/04/2012 11:45 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

che-

well said.

arguing that allowing workers to forbid their employer to hire anyone but those they approve enhances freedom is like arguing that mafia extortion is really "protection".

 
At 6/04/2012 12:21 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

"I'm partial though, having worked in US industries I think we're the best at production in the world"

on what do you base that?


I'm quite satisfied with my American manufactured purchases, but I do use Consumer Reports before I buy, for two reasons. 1) It's helped me to buy smarter and 2) it irritates my wife (only kidding ;-)

One of the few pictures that hung on Adolf Hitler's office wall was a picture of Henry Ford. It didn't hang there because Ford made a good car, but because of his contributions to automation technologies and methods.

 
At 6/04/2012 1:24 PM, Blogger Moe said...

I wonder if Fords picture on Adolph's wall had anything to do with him (Ford) being a raging anti-semite? I just recently read of the pamphlets that Ford dealerships were required to hand out to customers...written by Henry. wow.

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-rroot540.html

 
At 6/04/2012 1:54 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

john-

that's not an answer to my question.

you said best in the world.

yet us made bmw's and hondas are lower quality (more defects) than those made in germany and japan.

there is not a us dishwasher that is even in miele's league nor a washer drying anything like a samsung. check consumer reports. they'll tell you the same thing.

we have some good manufacturing here to be sure, but to defend calling it better than germany or japan is going to take a lot more evidence than you provided.

sure, we invested modern mass production, but that was 100 years ago. the arab word was literate and numerate while the europeans were illiterate thugs burning witches. look where that got them.

the world caught up to (and exceeded) us manufacturing a long time ago in a great many fields.

 
At 6/04/2012 1:56 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

John Lambert: "The working class line producer will always be needed."

Are you sure about that?

How many welders are now needed in a modern vehicle assembly plant? How many were needed 50 years ago in the pre-robotics world.

About six years ago I toured the GM assembly plant. Our guide showed us the machines which mount tires on rims, inflate them, measure the air pressure, and then adjust the pressure if not correct. The guide told us that when he started at the plant 17 years earlier, 12 men performed those tasks. Now it just takes one operator. I won't be surprised to see a computer take over his job.

The working class line producer has been replaced or is being replaced in factories all over the U.S. and all over the world.

 
At 6/04/2012 2:00 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

John Lambert: "We're only shooting ourselves in the foot to think we can legislate them away. There's a novel idea, a nation based on individualized freedoms making organized labor illegal?"

Who is proposing making organized unions illegal in the private sector? I don't remember hearing about any such proposal.

I do believe in right-to-work laws. Those are exactly laws about individual freedoms.

 
At 6/04/2012 2:39 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

i think it's mostly beer pong and sensitivity training.

I would flunk out.

 
At 6/04/2012 3:18 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

All this about higher ed, MIT and California State University have a couple of novel approaches to higher ed...

1) MIT (this is being demoed now)
Blackboard type online software is being developed and tested that would allow a single professor to manage upwards of 100,000 or more students efficiently in a single class. It's already proven fruitful in the first levels of their robotics courses that I believe had a class size of around 131,000 students from all over the world - some of which were high school students. This will drive down the cost of tuition and the salaries of 21st Century ready professors up.

2) Cal-State University System
They're toying with the idea of not charging resident students for their tuition and costs until they finish their degree or switch schools. This could have the net affect of lowering expenses and leaning out the university system. Also they're toying with the idea of a four year degree in three years to make their investment pay off sooner than later. This won't be in all degree programs across the board, but for a degree in US History where English Lit can be partially subsidized with US History content means not only are cross-curricular efficiencies realized but a lower overall cost to the student and the state.

I hope both pan out for the future of all college students and those that aspire to be.

 
At 6/04/2012 3:21 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

jet-

along the lines of what you were saying, my friend who builds racing motorcycles is building a completely lights out factory (so called because you turn it on, turn the lights off, and leave as there are no people there).

it will have zero employees on the line, just maintenance.

even china is going that way. great wall motors is buying massive amounts of swiss manufacturing robots in an effort to become a world class producer.

compared to machines, people are not that good at manufacturing.

 
At 6/04/2012 3:23 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

Who is proposing making organized unions illegal in the private sector? I don't remember hearing about any such proposal.

At present there are I believe 16 such states considering the design such bills that would make unlawful the establishment of labor organizations; my home sovereign of North Carolina being one of them,I'm quite sad to say.

 
At 6/04/2012 3:34 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

...compared to machines, people are not that good at manufacturing.

Friend, it's all man made and as such, is bound for failure - just like man is...

 
At 6/04/2012 3:36 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

john lambert: "At present there are I believe 16 such states considering the design such bills that would make unlawful the establishment of labor organizations;"

To make all labor unions illegal? Or to make labor unions illegal for public sector employees?

I've tried Google to find such proposals for private sector employees, but cannot find any. Please point me in the right direction.

 
At 6/04/2012 3:42 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

John Lambert: "Friend, it's all man made and as such, is bound for failure - just like man is..."

Are you sure you know what you are talking about? Robots have far, far lower failure rates than do humans. Tolerance levels for robots can be made far, far tighter than can such levels for humans.

What morganovich just said ...

"compared to machines, people are not that good at manufacturing"

... is exactly correct.

 
At 6/04/2012 4:00 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Patriot: "I take issue with this assertion, professor. Those with HS diploma or less always fare worse since they usually occupy the fields that are most directly affected by recessions (construction, retail, etc.) Especially this one since it was a real estate based recession."

I think that's the whole point, and what the chart shows.

 
At 6/04/2012 4:03 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

compared to machines, people are not that good at manufacturing

True, but there is something special about the slight imperfections of a handmade craft.

 
At 6/04/2012 4:23 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

[Che is dead]

You have a right to be resentful of a government that bails out private business of any sort, especially with so few guarantees as a labor union would have to offer. However, it's not a labor unions fault that they got a bail-out from Uncle Sam, more over it's Uncle Sam's fault for giving them facetime for a bailout request to start with. When we stop sending trash to Washington to masquerade as leadership, this problem will only get better. I mean my remark as a bipartisan one too. Neither side really has any bragging rights when it comes to sacrificing the morals, ethics, courage, honor dignity and hard earned salary of their constituents.

We owe an apology to every fighting man and woman returning to American soil for the degraded leadership we've put in both public and private office since the mid 80's, and certainly since 9/11, the nation they're returning to. Think about ENRON and Arthur Andersen. For crying out loud we almost appointed one of the original Keating Five as the republican candidate for President. I still cringe every time I see him on television. We reward criminals by making them CEO's or still yet, elect them to public office. The links below speak volumes and may even make you ill to read them.

1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_state_and_local_political_scandals_in_the_United_States

2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federal_political_scandals_in_the_United_States

3)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accounting_scandals

Thankfully, there's renewed hope with each election.

 
At 6/04/2012 4:24 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

John Lambert: "At present there are I believe 16 such states considering the design such bills that would make unlawful the establishment of labor organizations; my home sovereign of North Carolina being one of them,I'm quite sad to say."

There must be more to it than that. Like Jet Beagle I'm unable to find anything meaningful. Where's your reference?

 
At 6/04/2012 4:41 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"True, but there is something special about the slight imperfections of a handmade craft."

in a wineglass? absolutely. in a dishwasher? not so much.

 
At 6/04/2012 4:46 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

john-

i think that's only public sector unions which are a special case and a special problem.

when you organize against "we the people" you create a nasty conflict. these unions make big donations to political candidates who then, if elected, set the union contracts.

in the private sector that would be called bribery and totally illegal. that law is not punitive to public unions, it simply levels the playing field.

imagine if you could bribe your boss to give you a raise. you pay him $20k and he gives you a $50k raise with someone else's money. you'd both be jailed for bribery, fiduciary breach, correction etc.

why should public unions get a free pass on this sort of behavior that would be criminal of anyone else did it?

 
At 6/04/2012 4:49 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

John Lambert: "the degraded leadership we've put in both public and private office since the mid 80's"

... and then you go on to list a few scandals from that era.

Scandals and "degraded leadership" have existed in human organizations for at least as long as history has been recorded. I can provide many examples if you need them.

There is nothing special about the poltical and corporate scandals of the last three decades.

 
At 6/04/2012 4:51 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

john-

"However, it's not a labor unions fault that they got a bail-out from Uncle Sam"

this is completely untrue.

the unions made huge political donations and so got a bailout from politicians that they had bought and paid for.

blaming the politicians and not the unions is like blaming the guy who takes a bribe but not the one who offered it and paid it.

those politicians never would have been in office if they had lacked union support.

you make it sound like the politicians were the source of this. they weren't. the uaw was. they bought the politicians first. personally, i think both sides of the transaction are guilty and reprehensible, but again, this is the problem with letting unions make political donations.

the politician gets to pocket cash and then give the union my money. it's great for those two, but it sucks for me.

 
At 6/04/2012 4:57 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

and this:

"Friend, it's all man made and as such, is bound for failure - just like man is..."


this is one of those comments that tries to sound insightful while being totally meaningless to the discussion at hand.

sure, everyhting fails eventually, but in the long run, we're all dead too. that has precisely zero to do with manufacturing high quality goods to tight tolerances at high speeds. i have seen welding robots that can do the work of dozens of men better, faster, and for longer. letting a human do it would be horrible for the quality of the cars.

sure, one day that robot will break down for the last time, but in the meantime, it will do better work than any human could. the days of john henry out digging the steam drill are long, long gone.

 
At 6/04/2012 4:57 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

...Are you sure you know what you are talking about? Robots have far, far lower failure rates than do humans. Tolerance levels for robots can be made far, far tighter than can such levels for humans.

As a veteran (since 1984) COBOL, RPG, Fortran, LISP, Visual Basic, C/C++ and Java programmer in an industrial setting tasked with automation from the shop floor to the CFO's and CEO's pie charts used to steer the company - it's all Man Made. The automation machinery, the nuts and bolts, the maintenance, the software that runs it, ALL of it is man made.

- I've automated the plasma cutting of steel in GE factories for the mass production of transformers that hung on phone poles globally and placed under New York city sidewalks

- I've automated the cutting of fabric in furniture upholstery plants could cut in an hour what a man could do in a week

- I've implemented bar coded and biometric automation of employees and students punching in and out for work, lunch, training classes, changing classes and leaving at the end of the day.

- I've implemented long range telephoto license plate recognition to make sure the employees left the properties of their employers after they had punched out and how long it took them from punch-out to pass through the gate times to track stragglers.

- I've implemented customer fruition automation by scanning deliveries on and then off semi's when delivered to the customer so the deliveries could be quickly followed up by a CS rep and the field sales rep notified via a data feed to their smartphone.

- My older brother and I both implemented focal recognition of fabric patterns and die colorization charts so that a camera could look at a pattern and send it to a loom to be woven - then die pots readied for colorizing it.

- Since my layoffs and for my later years I now show kids that a computer is useful for something more than just video games and that they better learn how to make themselves indispensable because their future employer is going to farm their job out to some global company and our government will probably subsidize the employer to do it.

It's all man made... too and including the disdain the employer has for their worker with fear being the entrepreneurial catalyst most of the time.

 
At 6/04/2012 5:05 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

this is one of those comments that tries to sound insightful while being totally meaningless to the discussion at hand.

Agreed; kind of like "all we have to fear is fear itself."

 
At 6/04/2012 5:07 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

John Lambert,

I've programmed in almost all of those languages, also. And a couple you didn't list. So I'm well aware that humans control the machines which do our bidding.

Just because you know how to make machines do your bidding, doesn't mean you understand the difference between machine quality and human quality. It's not "all man made". Tasks have been automated not just to eliminate human labor. Eliminating - or reducing - human failures was far more important.

"It's all man made" is a meaningless statement.

 
At 6/04/2012 5:42 PM, Blogger Henry H said...

morganovich said...
self reporting of "employment" as a consultant or running your own biz is now common amongst folks (especially in tech and finance) that are actually unemployed (have no income) but do not want a resume blank spot.

Good point. However, I don't see the point on lieing on a government survey. Future employers would not know about a lie on a government survey.

 
At 6/04/2012 6:49 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

GDP yielded per dollar in education spending

 
At 6/04/2012 7:05 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"For crying out loud we almost appointed one of the original Keating Five as the republican candidate for President. I still cringe every time I see him on television." -- John Lambert

John Dowd, the Washington lawyer who represented McCain during the Senate investigation, called the inquiry a "classic political smear job" by the Democrats running the Senate at the time, saying that they only included McCain to make sure that a Republican was among the targets. "John had not done anything wrong," Dowd said.

Dowd's point of view was amplified by Robert Bennett, the Washington lawyer and Democrat who served as special counsel to the Senate Ethics Committee during the Keating Five investigation, which focused on whether McCain and other senators exercised improper political influence over the regulation of Keating's failed Lincoln Savings & Loan.

In an interview, Bennett said McCain should never have been dragged into the ethics case to begin with. He said that after his own lengthy investigation, he came to the conclusion that the case against McCain and former Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) "should have been dropped" because the evidence suggested that once McCain understood that the Justice Department was investigating Keating, he backed off any involvement. Dowd noted that McCain threw Keating,once a strong supporter, out of his office after Keating pressed him to intervene in his case.

Bennett said former Sen. Howell Hefflin (D-Ala.) insisted that the two be included in the formal public inquiry because otherwise there would have been a month of public hearings "with no Republicans in the dock." The other members of the Keating Five were Democrats. ...

McCain was ultimately exonerated by the Ethics Committee.

Washington Post

Wikipedia is not a source.

 
At 6/04/2012 7:13 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/04/2012 7:28 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"Think about ENRON and Arthur Andersen." -- John Lambert

Former Clinton Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin telephoned a top Treasury official last fall to explore whether the Bush administration could intervene on behalf of Enron Corp. as the giant energy company neared collapse, officials said yesterday.

Rubin, chairman of the executive committee at Citigroup, one of Enron’s main creditors, called Peter Fisher, Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, and asked “what he thought of the idea” of calling bond-rating agencies to help forestall a crippling reduction in Enron’s credit rating, according to a statement released by the Treasury Department.

Fisher told Rubin that he didn’t think it was advisable, and did not make a call, Treasury said.

The news of Rubin’s efforts concluded another day of disclosures at the Treasury Department, on Capitol Hill and elsewhere about the extent of government contact with Enron executives in the weeks before the company’s filing for bankruptcy court protection. -- Washington Post

Gee, a former Clinton official calls the Bush administration with a request to help out Enron, and the Bush official tells him to pack sand. That's not exactly the story that lefties like to tell.

The crumbling noise you here is your bullshit narrative collapsing.

 
At 6/04/2012 8:41 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Some perspective may be needed.

Right now we have a record number of Phd recipients on food stamps and other forms of welfare. From 2007 to 2010, the number of PhD recipients receiving entitlements has tripled to 33,655 and the number of master’s degree holders on food stamps and other forms of welfare nearly tripled during that same time period to 293,029, according to an Urban Institute study cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education. This is shocking and I imagine its not what comes to mind when most people think of welfare recipients. This study proves that having multiple degrees doesn't guarantee financial success, especially when you consider the high cost of college and a move by Republicans Tuesday to block a Democratic bill to preserve low interest rates for millions of college students' loans. The Democratic bill would keep interest rates for subsidized Stafford loans at 3.4% for an additional year, rater than doubling automatically for new loans starting July 1.

 
At 6/04/2012 9:28 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

Tasks have been automated not just to eliminate human labor. Eliminating - or reducing - human failures was far more important.

I've been employed by two different family owned businesses and three (single) entrepreneurs, two corporations including Siemens, Inc. and six government entities. At no time did any of them once actually place product quality and consumer confidence as job 1 during boardroom discussions of the critical planning phases. Rather what was always 1st was a four tier question of: a) how many jobs can be cut, b) what will the net reduction in salaries and bennies be, c) how those savings could be rechanneled into project costs and d) an assessment of any loss of institutional knowledge as a result of the venture. Product quality and consumer confidence were calculated as the result of reduction in human investment.

In '05 I worked as an integrator for a New York based furniture purchasing group. It was a B2B solution with their buyer in a Taiwan office and the Chinese mainland. The owner brazenly made the comment one morning "the reason I like buying furniture in China is so that I don't have to meet a payroll for over 1500 people." I was convinced he was speaking his heart. He once ran a NC based furniture company.

I'm sure some here see no issues with that, after all it's his money. I took such an issue with it I took the first flight home out of LaGuardia. I've never regretted my choice. Some will not agree with my choice - and I'm okay to agree that we disagree.

So, when is it permissible for a company to create deep collateral damage simply by changing their business model? I see no real difference between that ideology and that of a criminal.

 
At 6/04/2012 9:33 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

Tasks have been automated not just to eliminate human labor. Eliminating - or reducing - human failures was far more important.

I've been employed by two different family owned businesses and three (single) entrepreneurs, two corporations including Siemens, Inc. and six government entities. At no time did any of them once actually place product quality and consumer confidence as job 1 during boardroom discussions of the critical planning phases. Rather what was always 1st was a four tier question of: a) how many jobs can be cut, b) what will the net reduction in salaries and bennies be, c) how those savings could be rechanneled into project costs and d) an assessment of any loss of institutional knowledge as a result of the venture. Product quality and consumer confidence were calculated as the result of reduction in human investment.

In '05 I worked as an integrator for a New York based furniture purchasing group. It was a B2B solution with their buyer in a Taiwan office and the Chinese mainland. The owner brazenly made the comment one morning "the reason I like buying furniture in China is so that I don't have to meet a payroll for over 1500 people." I was convinced he was speaking his heart. He once ran a NC based furniture company.

I'm sure some here see no issues with that, after all it's his money. I took such an issue with it I took the first flight home out of LaGuardia. I've never regretted my choice. Some will not agree with my choice - and I'm okay to agree that we disagree.

So, when is it permissible for a company to create deep collateral damage simply by changing their business model? I see no real difference between that ideology and that of a criminal.

 
At 6/04/2012 9:44 PM, Blogger John Lambert said...

So, Chi...

Earlier I made the bipartisan comment that "we we send trash to Washington for leadership". Thanks for your corroboration, regardless of what you think of me. Enjoy your ranting anonymity.

 
At 6/05/2012 2:28 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

John Lambert: "Some will not agree with my choice - "

I doubt anyone disagrees with your right to make your own choices. Some night question your reason for making the choice, but it's certainly your right to turn down a good job for any silly reason. :)

It seems you have worked for quite a few different employers. Do these types o ethics based decisions contribute to that seemingly large number?

"So, when is it permissible for a company to create deep collateral damage simply by changing their business model? I see no real difference between that ideology and that of a criminal."

Collateral damage? What could that even mean?

As far as I know, unless you work under a particular contract, most employment is at-will. If you do certain things to create value for the employer, they will pay you an agreed amount. Sounds like a good arrangement to me.

Are you suggesting there's a moral issue with a firm cutting costs to make their product or service cheaper and more competitive?

 
At 6/05/2012 2:44 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Perhaps one explanation is that there are so many unemployed workers seeking employment (above 12 million in every month since January 2009), that many employers have the luxury of being selective and hiring college-educated workers for jobs that traditionally didn't necessarily require a college degree.

Then start cutting away at that by removing the avenues for which non-college folks are refused good work - if any.


The owner brazenly made the comment one morning "the reason I like buying furniture in China is so that I don't have to meet a payroll for over 1500 people." I was convinced he was speaking his heart. He once ran a NC based furniture company.

I'd admonish him for his arrogance, especially for their contempt for US citizens. Then ask him if he considered the Chinese as people or as slaves.


when you organize against "we the people" you create a nasty conflict. these unions make big donations to political candidates who then, if elected, set the union contracts.

The problem with your "we the people" statement is that it expresses a unity that does not exist.


At present there are I believe 16 such states considering the design such bills that would make unlawful the establishment of labor organizations; my home sovereign of North Carolina being one of them,I'm quite sad to say.

A futile effort, given federal-level prohibitions that would override them. Now if it had the side-effect of prohibiting employer-side labor organizations such as staffing agencies (and the like), that would make for an interesting bargain; if all providers of indirect labor had to

What happened to employers treating all their employees with some basic level of respect? Why legislate the unions out when you can provide an environment that favorably negates the existence of a union?

The better solution is where workers aren't threatened, put under duress, and/or culturally indoctrinated (such as in the South). Workers, in this case, freely decline the offers of unions without the presence of unionbusting tactics. This can be accomplished by making a better workplace that treats its workers well and thus obviates the need for any union(employer or employee side).

Oh, wait. This would be an ALEC bill, so it will be ramrodded through with no public debate - outside of it not applying to the employer's labor unions, just the employee-side ones.

 
At 6/05/2012 3:01 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Collateral damage? What could that even mean?

I believe his definition of collateral damage is the economic harm that is caused over time towards the working population in general. In addition, one can include the non-economic issues of the government being incentivized to be tone-deaf to workers while hearing businesses loud and clear. This can be seen with offshoring, guest worker fraud and illegal immigration - where the policies injure workers yet spare businesses from harm.

Not only does the collateral damage exist, it's been this way since businesses got the green light to treat all workers w/ contempt(~28-30 years ago).


As far as I know, unless you work under a particular contract, most employment is at-will. If you do certain things to create value for the employer, they will pay you an agreed amount. Sounds like a good arrangement to me.

That makes an incorrect assumption that neither party has any outsize ability, to influence the other party to take a lesser deal than their self-interest permits.


Are you suggesting there's a moral issue with a firm cutting costs to make their product or service cheaper and more competitive?

When someone is using the word "competitive" in an economic context, it is being used to handwave details as unimportant - when the details are too important to ignore. It also applies when someone uses an ambiguously defined entity, the "consumer", where it is used to manufacture a false majority.

 
At 6/05/2012 3:03 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Was this post written by the same Mark Perry posting all the skeptical pieces about a college education recently? Because it doesn't seem to fit with the other posts. Those making these dumb arguments for college education are suffering from the classic delusion of thinking correlation implies causation. Of course, the most ambitious and capable kids go to college when they are told that is the way up in life. But you can't look at their success and certify the education as the cause: you have to have a reason for why what they learned helped them stay unemployed. And all such arguments easily crumble, as the degree is just a credential that has no actual meaning. If it did, employers wouldn't have to ask degree-holders all the same basic questions they ask all applicants. The truth is that education has become a giant cargo cult, where a bunch of stuff is memorized but no thought is put into whether what's regurgitated is worthwhile. As online learning takes off and actually does a better job of realizing what material is worthwhile and what isn't- a little tip, 90+% of what is taught in most degrees today, hard or soft, isn't worth anything- the colleges will not be able to compete with an alternative model that actually prepares students for that information economy, rather than claiming to do so while predominantly forcing useless facts into their heads.

Saying that the college degree is why they have less unemployment is like the social conservatives who see marriage as the solution to all society's ills: married folk tend to have less problems therefore everyone must get married! Let's forget that those who choose to get married are a select group that usually plan for the future and chose to stay together, where the marriage itself was almost irrelevant. No, let's just try to demand the ritual of everyone because we can't tell correlation apart from causation. A similar dumb argument is made when Lambert and others claim that the college-educated tend to get divorced less, therefore it must have been their college education that must have been somehow responsible. Ask them how the education itself affected their marital bliss and you get a lot of hemming and hawing and silly reasons that are easily tossed aside. All these groups pushing easy solutions, whether college or marriage, are decidedly clueless about the real and complex factors that matter, so they seize on these simplistic explanations that fit their simple narratives. In the case of the college degree, that's not going to fly for much longer, as they're about to be faced with actual competition, which will destroy most universities fairly easily.

 
At 6/05/2012 3:11 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


I do believe in right-to-work laws. Those are exactly laws about individual freedoms.

Then do you believe in a right-to-work law that also prohibits the requirement of signing with an employer-side union (staffing agency, contractor, etc.) as a condition of any job - where no disincentive can be used to negate said choice? These would be no different than the existing RTW laws on the books, except that it establishes consistency for both the employer and employee.

 
At 6/05/2012 7:27 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

vangeIV: "Some perspective may be needed."

Yeah, the choice about what education to pursue matters. But, on the whole, more education is positively correlated with level of employment. Here's another perspective, vangeIV:

2011 unemployment rates by level of education

doctoral degree ....... 2.5%
professional degree ... 2.4%
master's degree ....... 3.6%
bachelor's degree ..... 4.9%
associate degree ...... 6.8%
some college, no degree 8.7%
high school diploma ... 9.4%
less than HS diploma .. 14.1%

2011 median weekly earnings

doctoral degree ....... $1,551
professional degree ... $1,665
master's degree ....... $1,263
bachelor's degree ..... $1,053
associate degree ...... $768
some college, no degree $719
high school diploma ... $638
less than HS diploma .. $451

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 
At 6/05/2012 7:57 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I've been employed by two different family owned businesses and three (single) entrepreneurs, two corporations including Siemens, Inc. and six government entities. At no time did any of them once actually place product quality and consumer confidence as job 1 during boardroom discussions of the critical planning phases. Rather what was always 1st was a four tier question of: a) how many jobs can be cut, b) what will the net reduction in salaries and bennies be, c) how those savings could be rechanneled into project costs and d) an assessment of any loss of institutional knowledge as a result of the venture. Product quality and consumer confidence were calculated as the result of reduction in human investment.

I don't think that this is true. The assumption is that the quality will not decline. No board wants to see the company collapse because it begins to make crappy products on its watch because that would endanger the whole company.

In '05 I worked as an integrator for a New York based furniture purchasing group. It was a B2B solution with their buyer in a Taiwan office and the Chinese mainland. The owner brazenly made the comment one morning "the reason I like buying furniture in China is so that I don't have to meet a payroll for over 1500 people." I was convinced he was speaking his heart. He once ran a NC based furniture company.

What is the problem? If you give the customers what they want it does not make any difference if the product is made in Montana, Minnesota, or Malaysia. All goods and services should be purchased from the people best capable of providing them at the lowest cost. Higher skilled American workers should make higher valued products. Lower skilled American workers should not be paid as much.

I'm sure some here see no issues with that, after all it's his money. I took such an issue with it I took the first flight home out of LaGuardia. I've never regretted my choice. Some will not agree with my choice - and I'm okay to agree that we disagree.

You are free to choose what you want to do as is he. That is how a free society works.

So, when is it permissible for a company to create deep collateral damage simply by changing their business model? I see no real difference between that ideology and that of a criminal.

What damage? The simple fact is that people are risking their own money and should be able to manage those risks as they see fit. We as workers don't own our jobs so they cannot be stolen from us. All we do as workers is trade our skills and labour for the best price that we can get. When that labour is not required any longer nobody created deep collateral damage just as when that labour chose to work for someone who paid more did collateral damage.

You have to understand that in free markets both labour and capital are free to move. The damage is done when the moves are forced by changes in regulations, not by consumer demand.

 
At 6/05/2012 7:59 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

It seems you have worked for quite a few different employers. Do these types o ethics based decisions contribute to that seemingly large number?

I was thinking about extending his logic to claim that he has done a great deal of collateral damage every time he chose to move.

 
At 6/05/2012 8:14 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

vangeIV: " The damage is done when the moves are forced by changes in regulations, not by consumer demand."

You and I likely agree on much, much more than we disagree on. Hope we don't forget that.

 
At 6/05/2012 8:27 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

John Lambert: " At no time did any of them once actually place product quality and consumer confidence as job 1 during boardroom discussions of the critical planning phases."

I completely disagree with this implication that corporate leaders do not give quality improvement a very high priority. I know for a fact this is completely false. I doubt you've had more conversations and interactions with top corporate leaders than I have.

Even if some corporate leaders did not consider quality, the market would have ensured that machine-level quality would have emerged. Industrial and household consumers alike would choose quality even if the costs were the same. Those corporations which resisted automation would have been forced out of the market by those which adopted automation.

When I wrote that:

"Eliminating - or reducing - human failures was far more important."

I meant that it was far more important to the industrial and household consumers of those goods.

So, even if you are correct that corporate leaders ignore quality - and I totally disagree with that idea - it is still true that eliminating human failures has been for centuries more important than reducing costs for most products.

 
At 6/05/2012 9:03 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Perhaps one explanation is that there are so many unemployed workers seeking employment (above 12 million in every month since January 2009), that many employers have the luxury of being selective and hiring college-educated workers for jobs that traditionally didn't necessarily require a college degree.

Then start cutting away at that by removing the avenues for which non-college folks are refused good work - if any.


Blame the government laws against discrimination. Since employers cannot perform employee testing to ensure that applicants are suitable. If you are not permitted to test applicants why not use a selection mechanism that removes 'obvious losers' by checking for academic qualifications even if these are not necessary for the job?

I'd admonish him for his arrogance, especially for their contempt for US citizens. Then ask him if he considered the Chinese as people or as slaves.


??? Contempt for US citizens? I see no evidence of that. And I do not see what is wrong with hiring Taiwanese workers who also happen to need jobs and have families of their own to feed. If the workers benefit and the customers benefit what harm is being done again?

when you organize against "we the people" you create a nasty conflict. these unions make big donations to political candidates who then, if elected, set the union contracts.

Again, I see no evidence of organizing against "we the people" unless you are talking about legislators who make it much harder to get a decent education and to hire competent individuals at a market rate. You keep forgetting that setting wages high is not very beneficial when customers choose cheaper products. It is well meaning but flawed thinking like yours that drives companies abroad in the first place.

 
At 6/05/2012 9:06 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

The problem with your "we the people" statement is that it expresses a unity that does not exist.

Quite right. There is no "we the people". There are only individuals with different needs and preferences. Which is why government needs to stay away from central planning and only look to protect individuals from violence and theft. Instead you would have a central government assume that individuals are like ants or bees and have common and identical interests that are best looked after by some moron stuck behind a desk in a government office somewhere. I guess that you have forgotten that history shows us that such central planning does not work very well.

 
At 6/05/2012 9:11 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Then do you believe in a right-to-work law that also prohibits the requirement of signing with an employer-side union (staffing agency, contractor, etc.) as a condition of any job - where no disincentive can be used to negate said choice? These would be no different than the existing RTW laws on the books, except that it establishes consistency for both the employer and employee.

People should be free to join unions and bargain collectively. But employers should be free to hire people who do not belong to unions instead. If unions are a positive force we would see more and more unionized workplaces as their advantage would allow companies to win market share and offer better products. But we have seen the opposite. Unions are usually poison for productivity and cause companies to lose customers because they are not as productive and incapable of competing in the marketplace.

 
At 6/05/2012 9:32 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

2011 median weekly earnings

doctoral degree ....... $1,551


Only $500 more than what a plumber or electrician makes? By the time one gets a doctorate you are looking at a decade of study and hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses. If you have wound up spending $400K and are looking at a debt of $200K to get a doctorate it is hard to argue that you are better off than a plumber who has already earned $400K by the time that you start looking for a job and has no education debt.

And when you look at some of the data you see that if people have similar personal habits (smoking, drinking, divorce) education is not a big factor when it comes to accumulating wealth. In fact, professionals like doctors and lawyers are notorious under-accumulators of wealth who lag trades people who start up their own companies and make similar amounts. Of course, survivorship bias is in play when looking at the data so the conclusions drawn cannot be as solid as we would like them to be. But that also works both ways. Many plumbers, electricians, and other trades tend to underreport income because they offer discounts to people who pay cash.

 
At 6/05/2012 9:43 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

vangeiv: "If you have wound up spending $400K and are looking at a debt of $200K to get a doctorate"

Do you think it really costs that much? I know it costs a lot of time to get a doctorate. If we include the opportunity cost to get a doctorate, I can see how it could cost $200K. But one would not have accumulated $200K in debt.

My nephew is just about to start the economics doctoral program at George Mason. He won't have to spend nearly that much.

One can get a doctorate while still working full time. My mother-in-law did so. It took at least 6 years, but she loved it.

 
At 6/05/2012 10:11 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

You and I likely agree on much, much more than we disagree on. Hope we don't forget that.

I don't. But that does not mean that I do not expect anyone who disagrees with a particular argument to take it easy because of all the other points of agreements. We discover truth by trying to destroy ideas that are not well supported. The fact that some of us may call an idea totally idiotic and stupid is not personal because the attacks are on the point being made, not the individual. Many smart people have said dumb things. We all say dumb things. In my case I still have trouble misusing the language because I expect people to understand when terms are used in their original meaning and when they take on the 'new' meaning that most people now assume were always the same. As such I deserve to take many hits to remind me to be more focused. The same is true of others who get sloppy when they say things that come out wrong and not as intended.

 
At 6/05/2012 10:35 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Do you think it really costs that much? I know it costs a lot of time to get a doctorate. If we include the opportunity cost to get a doctorate, I can see how it could cost $200K. But one would not have accumulated $200K in debt.

I tend to agree with you. The last set of numbers that I saw showed that the average debt load for a doctorate was round $60K. But the average doctorate candidate is looking at Starbucks, not a real job. I was thinking more at the type of debt that would be incurred by a candidate at a good private school who would have far more opportunities to earn a very high salary that would justify nearly a decade in school.

But even if we look at the much smaller number of $60K and add all of the expenses that would be required to get and keep a job you quickly see that our doctorate student is well behind our plumber or electrician who had been working and earning money for close to a decade. The advantage of being in a job where payments are made in cash are huge. Most people who quote for jobs that I need done around the house have two prices depending on how I pay them. Not only do these people make a lot more undeclared income but they also have an advantage when it comes to their spending side. They are certainly a lot less likely to purchase expensive foreign cars, huge mansions that they cannot afford, or spend outrageous amounts on clothing and other expenses needed to make good impressions. And keep in mind the opportunity to make more money by simply working longer. A plumber can moonlight on weekends to earn a few bucks that are needed to pay off a mortgage faster or to get the kids that new bike. And because they have cash on hand they are often better able to take advantages of bargains that come up when small business owners are facing bankruptcy and offering some of their inventory for very low prices before creditors step in to take it. I met a young guy who got his kids' braces done for nothing. The dentist who did the work simply exchanged his labour for having a part of his house rewired for free. The dentist kept complaining how much paperwork he has to do just to satisfy the government that he is not earning cash on the side while the electrician said that he did it all the time.

 
At 6/05/2012 11:07 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

My nephew is just about to start the economics doctoral program at George Mason. He won't have to spend nearly that much.

It is one of the better programs in the country. He should be able to get a job and because GM has some Austrian School professors he should be able to understand real world economics while avoiding the pitfalls of Keynes or the Monetarists.

One can get a doctorate while still working full time. My mother-in-law did so. It took at least 6 years, but she loved it.

That may be possible. But a person who has what it takes could earn a lot more by working full time or working for het/himself.

 
At 6/05/2012 2:18 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

vangeIV: "you quickly see that our doctorate student is well behind our plumber or electrician who had been working and earning money for close to a decade."

Who cares? Do you know anything about the working conditions for plumbers or electricians? Do you know how hard it is to do physically demanding work for 40 years?

I really do not understand what you are arguing about. I showed you the data. Doctorates earn more than those who have only high school diplomas.

You can make your case by trying to compare the highest earning blue collar workers with the lowest paid doctorates. But it's not a valid case.

 
At 6/05/2012 2:20 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/05/2012 2:49 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Who cares? Do you know anything about the working conditions for plumbers or electricians? Do you know how hard it is to do physically demanding work for 40 years?

I really do not understand what you are arguing about. I showed you the data. Doctorates earn more than those who have only high school diplomas.


That is because those people are more motivated and driven, not because they have doctorates. The same person could do as well or better without the doctorate.

You can make your case by trying to compare the highest earning blue collar workers with the lowest paid doctorates. But it's not a valid case.

But as I pointed out above, to be able to get a doctorate you need to have the brains and motivation that most people do not have. You attribute the success to the degree rather than the brains and motivation but that does not make that much sense.

 
At 6/05/2012 2:51 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

OK. That pissed me off. I never asked for anyone to "take it easy on me". I was trying to be a decent person. But I don't have to be.

That was not the intent on the posting. What I mean is that too many people on this board, and you are not one of them, takes it as a personal slight when some dumb idea or another, and we all have them, is attacked viciously.

 
At 6/05/2012 3:30 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Yeah, I realized I had misread your comment. So I deleted my comment about being pissed off.

 
At 6/05/2012 3:43 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

vangeIV: "But as I pointed out above, to be able to get a doctorate you need to have the brains and motivation that most people do not have."

OK. That's a valid point. However, I think most blue collar workers likely have enough brain power to earn a college degree. Perhaps not in electrical engineering or microbiology. But probably an associates degree in engineering technology or respiratory therapy.

The point that I think Mark was making is that education pays. Certainly motivation and risk-taking pay also. But for the risk-averse, moderately motivated young person, I believe obtaining an associates or bachelors degree in a desired field will pay off over his lifetime.

 
At 6/05/2012 3:48 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

VangeIV: "That is because those people are more motivated and driven, not because they have doctorates. The same person could do as well or better without the doctorate."

I disagree. To achieve more lifetime income than a doctorate or professional, a person must be not just motivated but also a risk-taker. IMO, the U.S. is full of motivated but risk-averse smart people. For them, obtaining an advanced degree in a desired field is the better choice.

 
At 6/05/2012 4:30 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The point that I think Mark was making is that education pays. Certainly motivation and risk-taking pay also. But for the risk-averse, moderately motivated young person, I believe obtaining an associates or bachelors degree in a desired field will pay off over his lifetime.

I don't know what Mark is really doing because he has also pointed out to the higher education bubble as well. I think that for most people some type of training course that gives them a skill that is marketable is the much better way to go. Such training does not have to take a very long time.

I talked to a kid in March who had just been hired to be a part of a drill crew somewhere in the far north of Canada. He was looking at a brutal spring/summer schedule with few off days but a potful of money and five months off during which he could take courses that he was interested in. The company would pay the full freight on the courses as long as they were approved and taught skills that would be required. His argument was that he would get a degree in about six years even as he was being paid close to $80K. He pointed out that for those who were willing and able to do very difficult jobs in difficult conditions there was always some type of work available, some of it very highly paid.

 
At 6/05/2012 4:38 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I disagree. To achieve more lifetime income than a doctorate or professional, a person must be not just motivated but also a risk-taker. IMO, the U.S. is full of motivated but risk-averse smart people. For them, obtaining an advanced degree in a desired field is the better choice.

It seems to me that getting a doctorate requires a huge amount of risk taking because in most cases it does not pay off. I had classmates who decided to forget their careers for a year or two and buy hotdog carts, equipment rental places, or go in on a Tim Horton's franchise. Most of them did better then they could have in their engineering jobs. The last time I heard the hotdog guy had purchased some resort in Panama and was extremely rich. The rental guy had retired to a part time job and bought a huge home in Muskoka next to all those Hollywood types. Success depends on taking little in the way of capital risk and getting a huge amount of cash flow.

 
At 6/05/2012 5:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I'd admonish him for his arrogance, especially for their contempt for US citizens. Then ask him if he considered the Chinese as people or as slaves."

I understand you are speaking hypothetically here: first you would have to be OFFERED a job before you could DECLINE it.

 
At 6/05/2012 6:04 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

V: " don't know what Mark is really doing because he has also pointed out to the higher education bubble as well."

Mark is baiting you and Jet so he can enjoy reading your comments. :)

 
At 6/05/2012 6:10 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

vangeIV: "It seems to me that getting a doctorate requires a huge amount of risk taking because in most cases it does not pay off"

I couldn't disagree more.

Please note that my wording was "obtaining an advanced degree in a desired field". The doctorates and masters degrees which do not pay off are in subjects which are not desired by employers.

 
At 6/05/2012 6:52 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

vangeIV: "you quickly see that our doctorate student is well behind our plumber or electrician who had been working and earning money for close to a decade."

While that may be true for someone whose only interest is accumulating as much wealth as possible during their career, it's possible that our doctoral student is learning something that gives them a thrill up their leg every time they think about it, and wouldn't work as a plumber for any amount of money.

 
At 6/05/2012 7:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Henry H: "Good point. However, I don't see the point on lieing on a government survey. Future employers would not know about a lie on a government survey."

Nor is there any point in telling the truth. We all like to present ourselves in the best light possible, even to a faceless survey.

Actually I can't think of a good reason to respond to a government survey at all.

 
At 6/05/2012 8:48 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

While that may be true for someone whose only interest is accumulating as much wealth as possible during their career, it's possible that our doctoral student is learning something that gives them a thrill up their leg every time they think about it, and wouldn't work as a plumber for any amount of money.

There is no reason why a person can't gain a very good education even if working in a different field. Some times your specialty actually gets in the way of your education.

 
At 6/05/2012 9:08 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Please note that my wording was "obtaining an advanced degree in a desired field". The doctorates and masters degrees which do not pay off are in subjects which are not desired by employers.

But what is desirable changes, sometimes rapidly. If bankrupt governments start cutting employees and the insolvent financial system is forced to retrench many of the employees with doctorates in education, economics, or finance will find themselves out on the streets. We just saw how badly recent law graduates were doing.

 
At 6/05/2012 10:30 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Some times your specialty actually gets in the way of your education."

Mine certainly did. My specialty was partying. :)

 

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