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…

How much is $700 Billion Dollars?

Many people do not understand things in billions or even millions of dollars. Very few people have run a major bank and even less people have tried to run an entire sector so when people talk about how much something costs, they do not know too much or too little. To help put this in perspective an article from Slate Magazine measures it all out:

  • There are about 300 million men, women, and children currently living in the United States, so the bailout is equal to roughly $2,300 per person.
  • Which is right around what we each paid, on average, for gas and oil in 2006 ($2,227) and a bit less than our average personal tax burden ($2,432).
  • $700 billion is equal to about 12 Bill Gateses.
  • The assembled net worth of the Forbes 400 is $1.57 trillion, or more than twice the cost of the bailout.
  • Titanic, one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, raked in $1.8 billion from the worldwide box office, so James Cameron would have to make roughly 381 Titanic-sized blockbusters to settle Wall Street’s debts.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control, the single-year cost of obesity in the United States was $117 billion in 2000, or about one-sixth the bailout
  • If the federal government siphoned off Florida’s gross domestic product, we could cover the bailout.
  • Invading the Netherlands might be advisable—that nation’s GDP was $768.7 billion last year. Of course, invasions cost a lot of money.
  • Back in 2003, the Bush administration told Congress that the Iraq war would cost between $60 billion and $100 billion, but it’s estimated that, so far, we’ve spent about $600 billion
  • MY FAVORITE:Let’s say Slate charged its advertisers $30 per 1,000 ad impressions, a common industry rate. And let’s imagine for a second that the federal government decided to nationalize Slate in order to pay for the bailout. We’d need our readers to rack up enough page views to see 23.3 trillion banner ads before the feds were satisfied.
  • For historical perspective, consider that the Marshall Plan, which helped finance the recovery of Western Europe after World War II, cost the United States about $13 billion. Of course, in 2008 dollars that’s more like $100 billion.
  • If nothing is done to change the way we finance Social Security, the trust fund reserves will be exhausted by 2041. This means that, in 75 years, there’ll be a shortfall of $4.3 trillion—or about six bailouts.
  • According to the Stern report (issued by U.K. economist Sir Nicholas Stern), global climate change could cost the planet $9 trillion (or 12.86 bailouts) if we don’t address the problem within the next decade or so.

There you go that is what $700 billion dollars looks like in different terms. So we could pay for everyone’s gas for a year. Nice.

The rest is here.