No.HughBeaumont (19,799 posts)
9. Siiiiiiigh. So I guess "working harder" is no longer enough; you now have to be a fortune teller.
Shouldn't people be able to make a living at what they want to do? How does this square with the laws of diminishing returns?
The biggest problem with college students these days is that they major in useless degrees. Then when they finish they can't find a job. And then they blame the businesses for it. You can't be a flipping Surgeon with a horticulture degree! Which is what some literally think they should be. They think that just because they have a degree, they should automatically be offered a job as a CEO of a company making $1,000,000.00+ a year. And when they aren't, they get all cry baby about it.
'Why yes, I have a degree in decorating plants. I feel I am more qualified than anyone to give you a triple bypass. No, I don't know what a aortic valve is, but hey, at least I went to college' ... 'What, you don't want me to do it? You racist bastard. Discriminating against my college career. It is the businesses I tell you! Occupy them! Close them down! They are the reason there are no jobs!'
Luke,The biggest problem with college students these days is that they major in useless degrees. Then when they finish they can't find a job. And then they blame the businesses for it. You can't be a flipping Surgeon with a horticulture degree! Which is what some literally think they should be. They think that just because they have a degree, they should automatically be offered a job as a CEO of a company making $1,000,000.00+ a year. And when they aren't, they get all cry baby about it.
In order to understand PhDs in certain subjects, you have to understand funding mechanisms. The kinds of subjects in which academic research is done has been traditionally funded by three sources: the US government, military, and private foundations, like Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller. The first two sources are clearly public, taxpayer-financed funding, but even the private foundations can be funnels for CIA funding, as the Ford Foundation was during the Cold War. Some foundations, even those that sound "neutral" like the National Science Foundation, are actively involved in granting funds for military and intelligence activities. The NSF, for example, runs the internet and actively collects massive data on Americans.
So you have to start with the fact that the research areas in which PhDs do their major work are mostly funded by the US government either openly or through so-called black budgets. The funding mechanisms may be governmental, military or private, but much of the money comes from Federal budget. This means that the powers that be have found fields like Black Studies, anthropology, and Art History useful or else they would not have funded them. Think about that. A great deal of money goes into so-called "soft" disciplines no matter who is President or which party controls Congress.
The hard sciences, like physics and chemistry, can be clearly linked to military/industrial goals. There's a great book called "Disciplined Minds" that goes in to great detail about how young scholars interested in physics are led by both the academic structure and funding mechanisms to study specific subfields in scientific disciplines to satisfy the needs of the US military. But the soft fields? What purpose do they serve?
For the US government, military, and intelligence community, the soft fields are not really soft: they have specific goals. Your anthropologists, for example, provide incredible data on remote parts of the world that the US may need to invade some day. I know an anthropologist of music whose work on Asian musical practices is in the CIA library. You might wonder why the CIA wants a book on Asian musical practices, but all aspects of culture go toward creating a complete picture of the cultures the US wants to control--including our own.
And that's where Black studies (and the like) come in. These kinds of fields have dodgy theoretical and academic practices, and much personal opinion is injected into what should be objective research. But these types of fields are usually connected with neo-Marxist "Critical Studies", the goal of which is to problematize existing cultural norms (as racist, sexist, etc.) for the purpose of challenging and changing them. Critical Studies comes out of the Frankfort school in mid-20th century Germany, where a bunch of hand-wringing communist sympathizers tried to figure out why the Soviet Union went from such great "promise" to Josef Stalin's brutality. The conclusion was to blame the belief systems of the people and the culture that spawned these systems. (Communism could not possibly be blamed.)
Now, you might ask why the US government and the private foundations of wealthy families (and the intelligence services that funnel money through these foundations) might want to support Marxist-based Critical Studies. Remember, these courses are part of the so-called "general education" curriculum, and every student has to take at least a few of these courses to graduate. It can only be because of what Critical Studies does to the soft fields like literature, art, and sociology. Critical Studies is like a cancer: it is a mechanism, not really a field. This means CS is "interdisciplinary": you can bring it into any field because it does not really rely on knowledge of actual data. It is merely a mechanism to find the same cultural "problems" (racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, etc.) in any field and lay waste to the assumptions underlying the field itself. Critical Studies changes the basic thinking and philosophy behind given fields, even if its practitioners know little about the actual fields in question.
If you're trying to change the way a free people thinks about itself, you can do no better than lobbing the grenade of Critical Studies into their underlying cultural matrix. Critical studies, as one friend of mine put it, enables totalitarianism.
If the goal of the powers that be is to change the US into a socialist system and its people into dependence on the state, Critical Studies is the academic mechanism that can do that. Research that comes out of the soft fields (liberal arts and social sciences) is all heavily influenced by the Critical Studies zeitgeist. This is why in fields like education, peer-reviewed articles are often laden with faulty statistics and fatally flawed study design. Fortunately for departments of education, the pool of education majors (even PhDs ) are people who can't do much math or science.
Understand that the soft fields, while having no market value to corporations, have incalculable value to the powers that be. That is why they continue to exist, why PhDs continue to be funded, and why undergraduates are still required to take all of these courses. Remember that only about 25% of Americans have a bachelor's degree, even though around half have some higher education. That 25% will fill positions in education (teaching is the largest single occupation in the US), social and government work, and corporations. The way this 25% leads and interacts with people will shape the new social norms.
And a word about corporations: they have always done some funding in certain areas (like pharmacology, for example), but there was always a university-culture bias against doing academic work for the private sector. This is changing as private corporate funding is supporting entire business departments (like UCLA's) and endowing chairs. This shift reflects the growing "public-private partnerships" in government (public) functions. Think JP Morgan Chase who runs the food stamps program in this country. You wonder why food stamps are now being advertised? It is because the Fed has contracted JP Morgan Chase (Rockefeller) to run the program. JP Morgan Chase makes a fortune from the program; them more people on food stamps, the more money they make.
This is not to trash private industry. What you are seeing in the food stamps example is NOT the private sector and the free market, but an unholy marriage between corporate and governmental structures. JP Morgan is guaranteed a profit (on our taxpayer backs) by a government that no longer serves its people. Obamacare will just be a highly magnified version of the new JP Morgan food stamp program, only this time, it will involve a whole industry.
So universities will be following suit. It's going to be a mess.
Case in point: Everyone I know with a PHD has a job. They are not lacking for money, and they are not lacking for work. Then they have a PHD in a 'REAL' degree.
Any university that offers advanced degrees in basket weaving or a dead language is a university on welfare. After all, they want their share, too!
Now rough-in carpentry, welding and other such trades are useful skills.
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