Mike Rowe on education and employment:
We've become slowly and inexorably and profoundly disconnected from a lot of very basic things that, when I grew up, I was really connected to – like where my food comes from, where my energy comes from, basic history, basic curiosity, you know?...
If we're not blown away by the miracle that occurs when we flick the switch and the lights come on; if we're not gobsmacked by flushing the toilet and seeing all of it go away; when we start losing our appreciation for those things, the gap deepens. And I think the gap right now is extraordinary.
There [are] 6.3 million jobs that are available as we speak. We have 75% of those jobs that don't require a four-year degree and yet we're still pushing the four-year degree as the best path for the most people, and it just happens to be the most expensive path. And a lot of people ... have enough common sense to realize that $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loans is a version of lending money we don't have to kids who can't pay it back to train for jobs that don't exist anymore, and that's crazy.


raven said...

And the oh so ironic thing is , even when they pony up the $200,000 for a college education, most are not very well educated. It would be a rare event for any college grad today to be a educational peer with a 19th or early 20th century graduate, even if one excepted the specialty fields.

A little story-
Couple years ago I decided to learn to weld. So by happenstance an internet forum connection resulted in finding a master welder who lived in the same area. Retired after a severe accident, he loves to help people learn about his skill. Has a great shop, etc. So after going over there and talking for a while, I asked him if there were high school kids or young adults who were interested in learning to weld- the yearning on his face was palpable- Raven, he says, I would like nothing more than that- but even his grandson, 19, has no interest- he thinks he will become the next computer game designer star. In one summer, this man could make someone an accomplished welder, and he maintains the trade connections to get the kid a great $$$ job. So what if the kid does not want to be a welder for the rest of his life, he could have a skill that would support him anyplace in the world for the rest of his life- having a backup skill is really comforting when times get tough.
But no interest. Most of the trades people I run into are either older white Americans, or immigrants- lots of Latino's, and former East Block- Russians, Poles, etc. Most of them very talented and industrious.
My gut level take is the younger generation, by and large, have never known any deprivation and hence cannot imagine the value of a job.
If everything has been given to one, it becomes a normal state.
The corollary to this is the emphasis on this "micro-aggression crap"- there is nothing "micro" about genuine adversity. It comes with hunger, fatigue and sometimes a black eye. Which is why the immigrants work so hard- they know.

Grim said...

I generally leave Roman Empire analogies to Eric Blair, but this one is one that I wonder about sometimes. Rome was great when it did its own fighting; but as Romans themselves grew less and less inclined to the hard life, the Legions relied more and more on foreign mercenaries. And, of course, eventually the mercenaries took over.

That's a bald and too-brief summary, which I ought to take the time to sophisticate rather than putting it out there. But it's a parallel dynamic that worries me. America still does its own fighting, at least, but it does less and less of the things that keep the lights on.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Side note: I would dispute that college graduates a hundred years ago, even given the elite pool they were drawn from then, would be much better than today's. We have always taught a lot of crap. Half a century ago we did better, rather briefly.

There is another downside to people not knowing where everything comes from. They lose touch with how hard it is, and that 6-lane bridges over great rivers, trade networks, and refrigeration don't come easy. It is then easy to become conceited, believing that their endeavors have much higher value than those who brought them where they are. Talk about being born on third base!

David Foster said...

"people not knowing where everything comes from"

There was a comment on LinkedIn from a guy who was upset by the fact that even though he gets his electricity from solar panels, the power company charges him a monthly fee even when he uses no electricity that month. He thought they should have just charged him a one-time hookup fee.

Evidently he does not grasp the costs of maintaining capacity for the time when he *does* decide to use it (and he and other solar panel people are likely to all decide at the same time, namely, when it is both hot and dark or cloudy)

And this is a pretty sophisticated guy, business owner, well-educated.

douglas said...

Tangentially, I recently heard someone differentiate a group of people in the history of this country from immigrants. The differentiation was that settlers weren't immigrants- Immigrants come to an established community and integrate into it. Settlers **build** the community. As we become more detached from the settlers and in turn have diminished respect for their achievements, it becomes much easier to dismiss the community they built, and the mores that helped them build it.