Is Education A Waste?


Take this excerpt from the book Human Action by Ludwig von Mises:

“In order to succeed in business a man does not need a degree from a school of business administration. These schools train the subalterns for routine jobs. They certainly do not train entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur cannot be trained…. No special education is required for such a display of keen judgement, foresight, and energy. The most unsuccessful businessmen were often uneducated when measured by the scholastic standards of the teaching profession. But they were equal to their social functions of adjusting production to the most urgent demand. Because of these merits the consumers chose them for business leadership.”

Think of all the successful businessmen in the United States. We often laugh at the stories of famous billionaires who do not have a college degree. Bill Gates, Henry Ford, and John D. Rockefeller to name a few. So then why is it that, as a society, we continue to send children to school after school after school if the true success stories are born from those who have no formal education?

Well, the debate would be that the above men are just outliers. But the truth is they are not. Take for example, my mother and father, they never achieved anything past a high school diploma and now they are more successful than many of their peers with college degrees.

The truth is that the only place you can spend your money, in the United States, tax-free is on education. At the same time, millions of dollars in aid, loans, and scholarships are also being pumped into the system. And for what? So that the future entrepreneurs can be droned into mid-management?

The only advantage that an education can gain you after high school is getting you into an area of profession where the degree is mandatory. No degree is mandatory in most start-up businesses, so I would urge those to reconsider. Careers with some of the most unlikely places like fast food or retail sales can actually lead to very fruitful careers. Imagine putting in 4-5 years in with one of those companies versus a university that you are paying. Something tells me that in those 4-5 years you will be making more than you would with a general liberal arts degree.

And one thing to keep in mind as you roam the halls with the thousands of others who just like you are searching in a university for your career that just like with the housing bubble the government will continuing to subsidize education until the values hit rock bottom…


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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Williams, Adam Bitely. Adam Bitely said: Is education a waste? (Via @williamsjustin) […]

  2. Good article. My son has been debating the merits of higher education for the last few years. So far, he is of the opinion that college is fine as long as he can pay for it without going into debt.

    He refuses to go into debt for it and I support him in that. It’s his life after all and he is the one who will be on the hook for that debt.

    Unfortunately, I seem to be alone in that support. He’s a hard working, talented musician, an Eagle Scout, a responsible, voting citizen who has managed to pay for his first year of a private college with no debt. Yet, I know that he will be viewed as a dropout by his grandparents/aunts/uncles if he doesn’t go the traditional route.

  3. I think it is up to individual to decide if higher education is good for them. In a ever increasing competitive world I would think higher education would be on everyone’s agenda. I also think college provides much more than a diploma. It compels you to want to understand the world outside of yourself and question the information penetrating your senses everyday. Again I leave it up to the individual to choose what is right for them, but I implore them to be open minded, which is to often a rarity in this country.

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