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…


An Anarcho-Capitalist ran for Congress in Virginia?

I guess better late than never but I have learned that an Anarcho-Capitalist Libertarian ran for Congress in the Virginia 1st district. His name is Nathan Larson and he got about 1.44% of the vote which was 4,802 votes. Impressive for an Anarcho-Capitalist, I would think. He is a former student at George Mason University. Here are some of his issues:

  • Transportation – Nathan supports auctioning off the interstate highway system to private investors. He supports doing the same with Amtrak and other government-owned rail systems. The new owners could fund further expansion of these systems and compete with one another to provide the best service at the lowest price. Congestion pricing of roads can encourage the use of car pools and transit and incentivize non-commuters to schedule their trips outside of rush hour.
  • Education – Separation of school and state can lead to better education at lower cost. Under a system in which schools compete on an even playing ground, teachers will have more employers to choose from, and parents will have a variety of possible schools to send their children to. The cost of education should be allocated to those who use it. Vouchers are not the best idea because they will compromise the independence of private schools from government funding (which typically carries with it government regulation). A better solution would be simply to privatize all schools and eliminate government funding for education. It is likely that arrangements would be made for children of poor families to receive an education, through sliding tuition scales, scholarships, etc. Meanwhile, it would free the rest of the population from the burden of supporting schools through taxes, which comprises a large percentage of most state budgets (45% in the case of Virginia, according to the Department of Planning and Budget.)
  • Taxation – All federal taxes should be repealed, and government services should be completely privatized. Taxation is inherently immoral, since it involves forcibly taking money from individuals without their permission.

Sounds good to me. He has other platforms issues. I am sorry I did not realize this until now.


Where are the infamous Wall Street Suicides?

If we’re in the midst of a financial collapse, why aren’t executives jumping out of office buildings?” I don’t know about you but when I learned about the Great Depression that was the depiction I got. When I got to undergraduate school, my economics professor told me that was a myth. Let’s see what she has to say; here is her reason:

“Because the current situation hasn’t had nearly as devastating an effect on people’s personal finances. The Great Crash of 1929—and, to a lesser extent, the crash of 1987—did lead some people to commit suicide. But in nearly all of those cases, the deceased had suffered a major loss when the market collapsed. Now, due in large part to those earlier experiences, investors tend to keep their portfolios far more diversified, so as to avoid having their entire fortunes wiped out when stocks take a downturn. In addition, some of the worst declines in the past week have been limited to a smaller number of companies (such as Lehman Bros., Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs), further limiting the potential damage to individual investors.”

Well this would lead you to believe that we are smarter investors than we were in 1929. Of course, none of this says anything about the government being the reason.

“Tall tales about panicked speculators leaping to their deaths have become part of the popular lore about the Great Crash. But although jumping from bridges or buildings was the second-most-popular form of suicide in New York between 1921 and 1931, the “crash-related jumping epidemic” is just a myth. Between Black Thursday and the end of 1929, only four of the 100 suicides and suicide attempts reported in the New York Times were plunges linked to the crash, and only two took place on Wall Street. (There were some crash-related suicides that didn’t involve fatal jumps: The president of County Trust Co. and the head of Rochester Gas and Electric both killed themselves, but they used a gun and gas, respectively.)”

There you go. My Economics Professor was right and my high school history teacher was over exaggerating.

Side note: This is funny:

“Will Rogers quipped that “you had to stand in line to get a window to jump out of“; and soon Eddie Cantor was joking that hotel clerks were asking guests if they wanted rooms “for sleeping or jumping.”

Little did they know it was an over exaggeration. Now this brings an important point. First, are we that bad off? and second who decided that it was okay to teach our children myths. These myths make Capitalism look bad, even though this problem is the governments. The education system already pens the Great Depression on unstable Capitalism and now Capitalism is killing people. If schools were private then we would have a much better chance that the information being taught would be better researched.

The rest is here.


Published in: on September 23, 2008 at 6:48 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Obama’s Education Reform, More Conservative than McCain?

Today Barack Obama unveiled his education plan. What is interesting is that he is taking pages right out of the Republican party platform. Obama is supporting more funding for Charter schools. This isn’t exactly vouchers but it works like a private institution with government funding. This from The USA Today:

“The federal government spends about $200 million a year on charter schools, independently run institutions that receive public money. Obama’s proposal would take that up to over $400 million.”

This is what John McCain’s plan has been so far:

“Despite McCain’s rhetoric, he is not proposing a federal voucher plan. Instead, he is proposing only to expand the voucher program in Washington, D.C.”

Even though I hate to give him credit, this part of Obama’s plan I really like:

“While teachers unions typically oppose the idea of performance-based merit pay, Obama is embracing the idea along with demands that teachers who don’t meet standards are removed from the classroom. Obama’s campaign said teacher performance could be judged by peer review, student test results, classroom evaluations or other processes.”

There you have it Obama is trying to be more conservative than McCain. On education at least…

The rest is here.


Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,