Monday, January 30, 2012

There is a good article (via Instapundit) by James Q. Wilson, author of The Marriage Problem: How Our Culture Has Weakened Families, at the Washington Post on economic inequality and its causes. This statistic caught my eye:
The past three decades have seen significant increases in real earnings for people with advanced degrees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that between 1979 and 2010, hourly wages for men and women with at least a college degree rose by 33 percent and 20 percent, respectively, while they fell for all people with less than a high school diploma — by 9 percent for women and 31 percent for men [my emphasis].

Those men who do not have a college degree look to be at a significant disadvantage. Given that fewer men are going to college, I wonder how this will play itself out in the coming decades? Though I notice that the article says "with less than a high school diploma." I wonder if those men with a high school diploma but no college can do okay if they find work in the military or with a vocation.


Blogger SGT Ted said...

Funnyh how they never seem to talk about trade school. Just college.

Yes lots of folks with no Certificate of Attendence at High School 2.0 do well in the military, where it is proven every day that if you train people well and toss out the duds, you get quality workers who can rise to upper management positions, and you don't need a degree to do it.

Would that employers beyond McDonalds could recognize this.

8:29 AM, January 30, 2012  
Blogger sykes.1 said...

First, studies show that the military, including specifically the enlisted force, has higher IQs and more education than the average American.

Anyone who thinks about this will realize it must be true. All, as in all, officers have at least a BS degree, and senior officers have at least an MS, and many have PhDs.

The Army will not accept anyone with and IQ less than 85, and the other services demand IQs of at least 90. Until the recent surges, you had to have a high school diploma to enlist. This automatically excludes about one-fourth of the population. Furthermore, the military actively encourages and subsidizes education, so that many enlisted men and women have BA/BS degrees. Many seniors NCOs have MA/MS degrees.

Second, the military screens out people with drug problems or criminal records, so the force has a substantially higher moral status than the general population. We've now excluded at least one-third of the population.

So, it is not the military that are losers as you imply, not even the enlisted men, it is many people in the general population. Among the losers are the great majority of people who graduated from schools like U. Wisconsin (Mad) and especially U Tenn with degrees in the humanities and social sciences. Go look at the OWS trash.

I also take issue with the idea that the vocations are for losers. In fact, people with actual skills like master plumbers or electricians will lead confortable middle class life styles. Modern farmers are in fact among the intellectual elite of the country and many run really large businesses. As we have seen, many people with BA degrees are doomed to poverty and parasitism. Again the OWS trash.

The idea that any college degree has any meaningful connection to life success is an absurdity that is not borne out by any valid studies.

There are only two college education routes that are likely to lead to economic success. One is a degree in engineering or accounting that leads to licensing (PE or CPA). Such people end up in solid upper middle class/lower upper class incomes and lifestyles. The other is graduation from an elite university. There are only about six in the whole country: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Cal Tech and one or two others. Graduates from these are either members of the ruling class to begin with or are adopted into it.

All in all, a truly remarkable display of class bigotry. You might want to read Charles Murray's new book.

8:34 AM, January 30, 2012  
Blogger br549 said...

I still think that any level of success is a product of what is between an individual's ears. All the training, all the education in the world doesn't do much for someone unable to use it.

8:57 AM, January 30, 2012  
Blogger Dave114 said...

Any comments on this piece arguing that the reason that there's an apparent increase is that a smaller percentage of those with college degrees are in the job market?

i.e. that:
... the pay of the “median” college-graduate worker is less representative of the total population of college-educated Americans than was the case in the past. By using the median wage for workers, rather than median wage for the full population, we’re only looking at what’s happened to the earnings of the most successful college graduates today, versus the vast majority of graduates in the past.

(Why are blockquote tags disabled here?)

12:46 PM, January 30, 2012  
Blogger Joe said...

A big problem with the college statistics has to do with averages. Close examination shows that average salaries usually use a mean, which is easily distorted by a very small number of outliers in very specific careers, namely engineering (including software engineer), medicine and law. Even Median isn't entirely accurate, though more so.

So, take out engineers and all medical and legal professionals and now tell me what college does for you.

(To make it even more fun, count only those people left over actually working in the field of their major.)

4:46 PM, January 30, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One is a degree in engineering or accounting that leads to licensing

Why licensing? Get the government out of your life. You can make real good money in the computer industry and you'll never need to be within a country mile of a license.

1:34 AM, January 31, 2012  
Blogger Joe said...

I should have added accountancy to my list above. Getting a CPA is writing your own ticket for a good living. Short of that, it's still a high employment job (assuming you aren't an idiot.)

randian is right; learn how to program web services and you can almost name your salary. Besides programming, good IT people are actually hard to find. Two years ago, a friend's company was paying six figures for top IT people and still having trouble filling the slots.

10:54 AM, January 31, 2012  
Blogger knightblaster said...

I agree that education is primarily useful if it is of the HYS variety (almost all of my classmates are doing quite well, and doing quite different things) or of the high-expertise variety --> engineering and CPAs are the "credentialed" version of that, while programmers are often the lesser (or even un-) credentialed version of that.

12:27 PM, January 31, 2012  
Blogger Firehand said...

Mechanic, machinist, plumber, carpenter, general contractor as some examples: none require college, and if you work at them you can make damn good money. And how many people make/modify/repair computers, often after dropping out of college?

I'm reminded of the plumber I knew who had a masters in American History; made MUCH better money as a plumber than as a teacher.

2:43 PM, January 31, 2012  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

Come now, class bigotry? As if class does not exist.

It does.

The military teaches you, what IT wants you to know. They got an army to run.

Every military trained and educated guy I ever worked with, was clumsy with tools, and tended to break stuff. As for their knowledge of things intellectual, it seems to begin after, they leave the service.

The recognition, that those without college degrees, are looked upon as losers, is not bigotry. It is the truth.

7:27 PM, January 31, 2012  
Blogger Firehand said...

Well, that's interesting. Discounts all the military types I've met who could fix damn near anything.

...those without college degrees, are looked upon as losers, is not bigotry. It is the truth. Such a load of crap I haven't seen in quite a while.

8:58 PM, February 01, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The recognition, that those without college degrees, are looked upon as losers, is not bigotry. It is the truth."


I agree that it is a load of crap. And I even went to college. I see morons today building up something in the direct of $100,000 in student loans for a Master's degree in women's studies or something.

It's unreal.

9:30 PM, February 01, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:33 PM, February 01, 2012  

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