A (the?) source of civil unrest?

The education bubble isn’t only about the cost of a college degree rising faster than the CPI. It is also about utility and envy and diversion. Professor Sowell explains.

Students can graduate from some of the most prestigious institutions
in the country, without ever learning anything about science,
mathematics, economics or anything else that would make them either a
productive contributor to the economy or an informed voter who can see
through political rhetoric.

On the contrary, people with such
“education” are often more susceptible to demagoguery than the
population at large. Nor is this a situation peculiar to America. In
countries around the world, people with degrees in soft subjects have
been sources of political unrest, instability and even mass violence.

When people think about the ‘benefits’ of education they are often thinking of a technical or scientific education that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. On the other hand, the reality of education is evident in public debate as seen in complaints about deteriorating standards and social imprinting. This is a realization that much of the educated population have gone for the soft side. The study of education – teaching – is itself a subject on the soft side. Even such topics as business management and technical training tend this way as they focus on development of specific skill sets and not on an educated mind.

There are many outcomes. One is the employer seeking a specific skill set who can’t find what he needs because what he is really looking for is an educated person. Another is the disillusionment of the student who has invested so much into schooling and has not realized promised returns. The third, which Sowell describes, is the social upheaval as people turn their feelings into envy. This last can be seen in recent MSM stories  and headlines about the CEO superstar wages or in the NLRB intrusion into Boeing’s efforts to build a plant in South Carolina.

Such people have proven to be ideal targets for demagogues promoting
polarization and strife. We in the United States are still in the early
stages of that process.

Education is a process. The focus has not been on the desired result. While it can be argued that the process of education is having some success as seen in, for example, U.S. per capita economic production numbers, there also appears to be a lot of inefficiency in that process. The results of that inefficiency is what Sowell warns about.

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