by Eric Kaufmann
Thursday, 14
January 2021
Idea
07:00

No, elite overproduction does not cause social unrest

Jobless graduates are a human tragedy, not a recipe for political strife
by Eric Kaufmann
How many potential revolutionaries are lurking in this crowd? Credit: Getty

The commentator Noah Smith nicely shows how the supply of PhD graduates in America has continued to rise even as academic recruitment is stagnant. With the young student demographic levelling off and universities shifting toward using casualised untenured lecturers, the dream of a permanent professorship is more elusive than ever. An ever greater number of disappointed PhDs are being discharged onto the labour market.

While those in STEM are likely to realise a return on their educational investment, social science and humanities doctorates, notes Smith, earn little more than those with Bachelors degrees. He goes on to cite the work of Peter Turchin, who prophesied that western societies would enter a period of fractiousness in the 2020s due to long-term cyclical forces. Elite overproduction is a core aspect of his theory. Accordingly, Smith contends that too many PhDs fuels social strife.

Turchin is a fascinating scholar who believes that history can be quantified and modelled to render macro-level predictions. Empires expand and contract, societies fragment and coalesce, in rhythms that resemble those of the physical and natural worlds.

Turchin and I share a common interest in demography, the most predictive of the social sciences, and in political demography, its application to politics. If you know the share of Muslims in the under-five population today, you can predict how Muslim the 40-something median voters will be in the 2060s to a high degree of accuracy. When I gave a talk at a small seminar at the University of Connecticut in 2008 on my theory that demographic forces would make the world increasingly religious in the future, I recall Turchin asking excellent questions as well as being an extremely nice man.

I applaud Turchin’s attempt to inject science into history. Even so, most other social sciences are nowhere near as predictive as demography. Economic, much less social, forecasting, is highly error-prone. While there is merit in macro-patterns, a retrospective ‘just so’ reading of history is simply too tempting when tracing these trends. Elite overproduction has a long and venerable history as a theory. In today’s West, however, it is hard to link the highly educated to the revolts roiling western societies. For instance, populist Right voters are invariably less, not more, educated than average.

The populist Left contains many highly-educated as well as low income voters, but when I crunched some data from the British Election Study, the results did not support the idea that poorer highly-educated voters were more Left-wing or backed Corbyn at significantly higher rates.

Could Left-modernism (‘wokeness’) be the revenge of the dispossessed? Aside from the fact that woke is the establishment creed of corporate America, data I have analysed from YouGov and Prolific surveys suggests the facts don’t fit. That is, PhD students are the most woke segment of American and British society, but as soon as they step off campus into the work world, they seem to become more moderate and less enamoured of political correctness. As is often the case, apparent macro correlations and theories fail to stand up to detailed individual-level scrutiny.

Universities are incentivised by research assessment exercises, funding bodies and prestige rankings to produce as many PhDs as possible. This may be a human tragedy but it is not a recipe for social strife.

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Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

Over production of graduates probably doesn’t produce social unrest amongst them but it does amongst the rest of the population.

Whole industries are subject to ideological capture as graduates first fill all the available jobs, then put barriers in place to ensure no one without the right credentials gets in. Just look at the broadcast media, which is an endless stream of liberal graduates employing only other liberal graduates.

Industries like this have become guild like in their character. Many have expanded cottage industries within the corporate sector or management structures far beyond their utility and now command inflated salaries whilst contributing little to society.

Graduates making up jobs for graduates has become a sector in itself. Especially where there is public money available for their pet projects and little accountability or public knowledge how it is spent.

Where does this leave the average worker? Blocked from advancing their career because they don’t have the right certificate, don’t hold the right opinions and seeing their own wages stagnate as the graduates class takes a larger and larger slice of the pie. It’s unsurprising that they have turned to popularist politics as their only recourse.

No the graduates aren’t revolting but the rest of the population think they are.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

At some point in the near future, budgets are likely to tighten significantly, and hopefully the pendulum will swing back in favour of those with delivery-oriented engineering skill sets – and away from those people that promote and deliver “diversity awareness training” to workers who actually add value (e.g those who can actually administer a vaccine)

Wokism is a luxury (and an industry) we can easily do without …

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Nursing and Police examples. They used to be hard working people who wanted to serve but now seem to be forced to college graduates, and many problems are caused by this, one being the huge numbers of very excellent people being excluded, and many not so good getting in.

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Couldn’t agree more. It’s beyond my ken to understand why nurses have to have a degree. OK if your ambition is very senior staff but surely the reason to want to be a nurse is to care. That’s attitude not intellectual ability. Think of the foul job’s that are done day in day out, you don’t need to be clever to care and give comfort.
The unions seem to think that a degree elevates the profession and therefore they wield more power which means strike threats and pay increases. Surely not all people working on a ward have a degree. So what are the caring staff called? Who empties bedpans and changes fouled sheets and so on. Surely a degree is not needed for that.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago
Reply to  Gerry Fruin

“So what are the caring staff called?”

Immigrants.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Gerry Fruin

Back in my time living in London in the 1970s I had friends going to nursing school that was not university, I think it was two years of half hands on in a hospital, half class, a college, not university. In USA the RN nursing at the time was 2 years at the local collage where it was half class half hands on at a hospital. (a full BS RN also was done at a 4 year university) I ended up on this course. Then there (in USA) was the LPN, also a nurse, but a less skilled one, that was a one year course, not done now much I think, nursing has become quite technical.

You asked what the ‘caring’ staff are, mostly the people changing the beds and pans were ‘nurses aids’ in my day, nurses did that too, but they mostly did the more medical things.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Back in my time living in London in the 1970s

Exactly!

William Murphy
William Murphy
1 year ago
Reply to  Gerry Fruin

When my mother and aunt were studying for their nursing qualifications in London back in the 1940s (between dodging visits from the Luftwaffe), you had State Enrolled Nurses (two years training) and State Registered Nurses (three years training). All studying done on the job. They might as well have dreamed of going to Mars as going to uni.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

How Many policemen are out there with Phd in English Lit?

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

Where does this leave the average worker?

Who is this average worker? Does a electrician compete for work with a PhD in Gender Grievance Studies?

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago

Crikey, I have read (and written) some incoherent nonsense in my time but this is off the scale. For a start, as myself and others have been saying for years, the people produced by our so-called universities are not ‘elites’. They have merely paid a huge amount of money for a so-called degree of, in many cases, little or no value.

Then this: ‘For instance, populist Right voters are invariably less, not more, educated than average.’ We constantly have this statement rammed down our throats, but anybody who talks to both the so-called educated and those without degrees knows that tradesmen (and women) are often more intelligent and better informed than those with degrees. Moreover, they actually tend to do something useful.

As for wokeness being the ‘revenge of the dispossessed’, words fail me. Wokeness is the preserve of the privileged, usually white, middle classes.

The writer is obviously correct about the coming influence and dominance of Islam in the West, but that is the future that or politicians have chosen for us.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

” anybody who talks to both the so-called educated and those without degrees knows that tradesmen (and women) are often more intelligent and better informed than those with degrees.”

Absolutely. Someone on Twitter claiming to the the Books Editor for USA Today wrote that George Orwell’s most famous works couldn’t be a critique of socialism, because he socialist himself! It was beyond her comprehension that someone on the left could present a critique of the excesses of the left.

Totally ignorant but in a high paid job, probably because she has the right connections and went to the right university.

Last Jacobin
Last Jacobin
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

The article is about the study of demography and references actual data collected by surveys. Yours and Fraser’s comments essentially are stating your personal experiences of people you’ve met don’t correlate with the data being referenced. Fair enough thing to say but no more convincing than ‘a bloke in the pub told me.’

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Last Jacobin

I interact with graduates, some of the quite young, through my professional role supplying services to corporations. And I interact with non-graduates when playing/watching football etc. To be fair, most people from both groups know nothing about anything, but when I do talk to somebody who knows something, it is invariably an older, non-graduate who does something useful.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

As a software developer who has watched many of these supposedly intellectual brilliant tradesmen struggle to use simple software that even a 6 year could use I call bullshit on this.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago

They think in different ways. Do you think you could be handed a couple tools, and a few hours study, and make a cabinet with them? It is exceedingly easy to make a cabinet. Saw the wood just so, clamp it, glue it, fasten it, all just so, and it becomes a cabinet, all so easy. But it takes years of training to actually make professional looking and functioning cabinets.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

That’s physical skill though, not intelligence which is an entirely different thing.

That may well be useful and necessary in society, but it doesn’t mean they have anything useful to say about anything outside their muscle memory expertise in a certain area.

Of course we all want to expand the concept of intelligence from what it actually is to something more widely held like ‘multiple intelligences’ because everyone is a special snowflake now, and we can’t accept that intelligence is a hereditary trait that id dished out among human population unevenly. And it doesn’t strike me as a leftist conspiracy that over the last 200 years intelligent people have tried to escape the trades to professions as soon as they have been socioeconomically able to.

Not by the way do I think that many non-STEM graduates are particularly bright, or more so than the general population I many add. But it is Marxist claptrap to think that engineers and scientists are the intellectual and moral equivalent of workers.

teresa_d_wood
teresa_d_wood
1 year ago

Wow. Is it possible that people can be both intelligent and skilled? Where does common sense fit into this Huxleyesque portrayal? I earn my living as a rude mechanical. I left school at 16. However I do find that I am able to grasp quite complicated theories. Astonishing really.

Robin P
Robin P
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

.I interact with graduates, …..but when I do talk to somebody who knows something, it is invariably an older, non-graduate who does something useful.

That comment ought to be an Unherd article itself!

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Leftists skew young, having been the product of over a dozen years of leftists indoctrination in our education system. This is not a new phenomenon – as Clemenceau observed: “Not to be a socialist at 20 shows you have no heart; to remain one after 30 shows you have no brain.”

Younger people have higher qualifications because of the drive to get more and more people into higher education (thanks Tony), so a typical 60-year-old is far less likely to have a degree than a 30-year-old – this doesn’t mean they are more stupid or less ‘educated’.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Thanks Fraser, I am a tradesman, just could not handle getting on in the structured world of University and corporate work (but wish I had, I am the only one in my extended family without graduate university). I worked with many others who had extremely high IQ and often university degrees including doctorates, who just could not do the real world of office work and so became construction workers. Skilled tradesmen are almost always above average IQ as mastering a trade is as hard as mastering university, there is a lot to know.

And yes, this writer is so far in the forest he cannot see the trees. If Demography is so amazingly ‘Predictive’ as he says why do we not hear of them? It would seem to us less sharp populists that the social engineering (un-mandated) being rammed on our countries would have Demographers shouting its up side from the roofs if they could come up with any. What is clear is if they are so super predictive they are 100% silenced as we never hear any scholarly reports of the benefits of our open borders.

Since ‘The Bell Curve’ and any Demographer must walk on eggshells to not be fired from any university they are involved with.

Alex Mitchell
Alex Mitchell
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The quoted passage also makes the (pretty fundamental given the topic of the piece) error that most of the recent unrest has been driven by the populist right.

Robin P
Robin P
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Fraser, I think you should make some allowance for the very deprived circumstances of the author. He is a “Professor of Politics” at a “University”. As if that isn’t bad enough, he was a participant in a seminar with some other such exceptionally deprived victims. In such circumstances, it is not at all surprising that he is completely and utterly clueless about everyday life, and especially in respect of politics.

It calls to mind a phone call I have just had from the IFS, supposedly some experts on getting feedback. They wanted to do a 45 minute questionnaire. I told them I could give my full feedback in about three sentences. But no, they had to do it properly systematically with expert questions such as “how old are you” and “one a scale of one to ten, how much did the remote setup interfere with your attention or whatever…”

I told them I did not have 45 minutes to waste. It follows that their so so so so expert feedback system was completely and utterly useless because it not only got ZERO feedback from myself but also from ALL the people who have better things to do with 45 minutes of their time. But rest assured that the IFS and their “expert” “graduates” will still be making good cash with their worthless surveys in a year’s time. Oh, and they won’t take any notice of this feedback here either.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

‘Wokeism’, like most of political correctness, is a dishonest tool designed and used for bullying. In nearly every human case, both phenomena are insincere.

For instance, if the lefties actuallycared about women’s rights they would be up on their toes shouting with rage about what happens to women in Religion of Peace communities: inc. total domination by males, forced marriage, ‘honour’ killings where they rebel, forced clitorechtomies (very painful as well as humiliating).

If they cared about ‘Gay’ ‘rights’, they would be scandalized at people being stoned to death, who have been caught in such practices, in the Middle East.

When you challenge them on these or other such scores, they reply (if not merely hurling abuse at you), ‘Oh but that is those people’s culture’: a riposte which instantly cuts all the ground from under their own feet.

If forced female circumcision is alright in certain districts of the Earth because ‘that is the tradition of those people living there’, then there is no case for complaining about supposititious Occidental patriarchy – for if it exists, that is part of OUR traditions here in the West and therefore should proceed unchallenged.

The elites employ wokery and political correctness in order to corral and coerce the rest of society; to have us all cringing, bowing down and tolerating whatever they impose as New Norms.

Their brawn-work in this mode is done by their cannon-fodder; people most of whom are damaged persons with agonised private lives. These are folk who have had rotten parenting (no real love, no discipline); have had 3rd class education; have been given no boundaries so feel lost in a vast void; may have turned to drugs (and that has wrecked them); or made a mess of their chances.

Going out on the streets, protesting with placards, wearing nose-rings, pink hair, pasty faces, getting fat, and generally looking like nothing else on Earth is their way of expressing anger at Dad and Mum or some other elder in their lives, at living in a culture with no sense of a meaning in life, at feeling unloved, unloveable and LOST.

What the rest of us should do is two things.-

[a] When some woke being is in our faces, we should keep asking – very quietly and gently – ‘What HAPPENED to you?’ They scream at first – one may need good skills in self-defence! – but eventually if you keep asking that one question, these raving loons may break down in tears and confess their inward agony.

One can then start gently recommending positive ways forward.

[b] When a company or institution decides to impose ‘diversity training’, critical race theory indoctrination or some other vile nonsense on its workforce, all the employees as one body should simultaneously say ‘NO. We are not going to do it.’

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Do not go getting all Islamophobic, not everyone has to believe and behave like a woke Western Liberal. If feminists wanted (and it is somewhat correct that they stick on what is wrong in their own culture) to address the biggest issue slapping them in the face it would be the ‘Sex Industry’ How many of them would like to see their daughters taking up that profession as it is really done – not some top level courtesan, but the broken girls doing the actual degrading and horrors of the base level?

William Cameron
William Cameron
1 year ago

Academia is selling yesterday’s product in yesterdays packaging at a very high price to a student body – and it is getting away with it because those students appear to be largely financially illiterate.
Nothing wrong with doing an arts degree. Nothing at all. But doing that at a cost of fifty thousand pounds and a 9 % tax on your upper income for 30 years is barmy . Its no help to your earning career and its a financial millstone.
Why not focus on a career plan first and do an entertaining arts degree in your spare time by other far less costly routes.
If Universities were in the financial services market they would be in jail by now for misselling.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

Exactly right.

Most universities are now simply a racket.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago

I started university in 1969 and I was only able to go because of the ‘new’ grants which were available. I found that there were two types of student: those like me from working class backgrounds who studied Engineering so that we could pay something back to our society and those from middle class backgrounds who went to study Politics and other arts courses. They made fun of us – the donkeys – while they lived on mummy and daddy’s money. They hung around all day while we had about 30 hours per week of tuition. They had cars and we didn’t.
In those days everybody got a job but today the arts students can only go into politics or teaching. My two nephews have degrees in Fine Arts and Computer Animation and both work full time in Morrisons. However, there is still a need for GOOD Engineering students.
A few years ago I helped (I wrote the job descriptions and sat in on the interviews) to recruit for a very large northern company. This company had factories all over the world and had planned a 3-month tour of these companies for the lucky student starting on 1st October – this was arranged in advance and all interviewees were informed of the plans. The students were much better in interview that we were with much more confidence and nous.
We shortlisted three students and asked them to prepare a 5-minute presentation on one of the company’s products – for this they had to do a little research the company history on the internet. One student came back the next day and said that he found the topic a bit boring and could he choose another topic? We said ‘No’ and he was eliminated. A second student gave a fantastic presentation and we thought she was the one for us. But the next day, after we tentatively offered her the job she came back and said that her boyfriend wanted to celebrate by going on holiday for a fortnight so she couldn’t start until the 15th October.
The third student had the job.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Your nephew should have done Computer Science not Computer Animation. That one word is all the difference in a job search.

Hector Mildew
Hector Mildew
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I am an uneducated oik who not only never went to university, but dropped out of A levels at school, so forgive me for sticking my oar in.

“…there is still a need for GOOD Engineering students.”

Absolutely. But in a civilised, mature, free society there is still a need for good humanities students – yes, even of the much maligned PPE courses, and even (I’m sticking my neck out here) of courses like sociology. But we won’t get any good humanities graduates until the humanities courses themselves stop indoctrinating students with political – woke – leftist (call it what you will) propaganda and start encouraging them to think independently. The problem is not humanities undergraduates but humanities courses.

As necessary as STEM education is, we cannot live by science alone. There have to be intelligent, knowledgable, influential people who can effectively articulate their thoughts (for example) about how we should deal with the moral vacuum left by the decline of religious faith. We cannot expect the engineering graduates and AI boffins with their maths doctorates to help us out there, unless of course we are content to leave questions like morality and human liberty and other philosophical issues to their algorithmic whims. That way lies servitude.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Hector Mildew

The article was about jobs.

Hector Mildew
Hector Mildew
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It wasn’t simply about jobs, or a lack of jobs. It was more about the implications for society of an education system top heavy in useless degrees. My point was that the useless degrees wouldn’t be useless if the courses were more rigorous.

Robin P
Robin P
1 year ago
Reply to  Hector Mildew

Quite. I would love to study a “Sociology degree”, except that when I look at the required course contents…..

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

We just had a quasi-debate over how to characterize Jill Biden over her EdD and whether that merits to “doctor” honorific. A few lawyers noted that the back end of JD is also doctor, but no one ever calls an attorney by that title. I’m not sure if it’s a question of any ‘elites’ but or one of too many credentialed people who appeal to their own authority.

I grew up in academia; my dad was a PhD, an entomology professor so it every other person we knew was Dr Someone. There wasn’t the craziness of today’s campus, and maybe that’s because the list of degree programs had not yet expanded to include the ones with almost no application to the real world.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

This university enrollment inflation has had one very serious result indeed. With so many unsuitable people in university they naturally seek out degrees in professions they can handle. One of the favorites is TEACHING. Teaching as taught is not mastering your subject but endless courses on child behavior, and child behavior as understood by super Liberal child educators and psychologists ( say Dr Biden).

Teachers who took teaching degrees are usually the stupidest of the university class they are in, and so they go out and spread their stupidity, and the crazy woke beliefs they have been, cult like, indoctrinated in.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Yes, this has been happening for some decades now, with disastrous results.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

A bit of a generalization and actually not true, which reflects very badly on your own intellectual skills. Most teachers are highly skilled in their own subject before they go on to do a year’s teaching diploma. You probably think it’s a piece of cake motivating kids, teaching them how to behave and above all dealing with parents who also don’t know how to behave. Perhaps you think that giving kids a slap on the backside is all it takes.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

At my grammar school several of the teachers had PhDs and we were required to called them Dr. instead of Mr., so this artificial debate seems rather bizarre to me.

Joe Francis
Joe Francis
1 year ago

If, as the author states, “woke” graduates and Phds become more moderate as soon as they encounter the off-campus world (and actually, I suspect that’s a hugely contestable assumption) then doesn’t it follow that there’s something very seriously wrong with the ON-campus world? In the past, universities existed for one purpose, to teach a student HOW to think, no WHAT to think. The long march through the institutions now being complete, that dynamic has reversed.

Twenty-five years ago, while studying law, my lecturer had one rule and one only — make your case. Don’t come into the room with a lot of emotional claptrap about how this or that isn’t right and, cripes, what’s the government doing about it? Tell us why it isn’t right, how has it broken the rules, and for that matter, exactly what rules it’s broken. In other words, think. Do not put yourself up as the standard of good and assume that because you like or don’t like a thing then it’s right or wrong.

And this, of course, is the reason why the left has to march through the institutions. People simply will not vote in a hard left government when it stands openly under it’s own banner because in the round, people are not stupid. I know, I know, it’s an unquestioned assumption of the “highly educated” graduates and Phds that they are, but really they’re not. And so, since a socialist couldn’t get elected to the parish council as a socialist, they have to do everything through the back door. And it isn’t wrong to do so since they’re “validated by history” and everyone will thank them for it later.

I’m sure the peoples of eastern Europe are thankful for fifty years of socialist domination.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Francis

A similar descent has occurred at the BBC which started out trying to execute their stated responsibility of educating and informing its viewers.

Now it just tells them what they must think …..

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

And also brainwashes them by false history. BBC and history is mostly lies, and since the firing of David Starkey, may be all lies. They do not tell them what to think, it is much more insidious, they tell lies of admission, or just real lies, or lies of invention and license, to make people believe what is utterly false!

Gerry Fruin
Gerry Fruin
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

I call it perversion. Warping and manipulating facts to suit their own story line. i.e. perverting facts. Truth can be an individuals view, the same as an honest report it may not be absolutely accurate but as fair as is possible at that time. But facts are facts and not something to make up.

Dick Illyes
Dick Illyes
1 year ago

Academia is the Planter Class of today, demanding total control of everything and seeing the only solution being massive expansion of government with high paying jobs for Fine Arts grads with huge debt, which have become the Sans-culottes of today .

The continual expansion of administrative jobs within Academia is threatened, but with the Democrats having gained total control a massive expansion of government jobs ruling over the deplorables is the natural next step.

Trump overrode the traditional Republican desire to control spending and tie it to tax revenue. The tax increases Biden promises will not come anywhere close to the funding needed and borrowing may finally bring a surge of inflation, but there seems to be an emerging theory that technology is very deflationary. It may be true.

Academia and the Blue State Democrats unfortunately have created an opaque bubble which prevents them from seeing anything outside it. The Elite competition is between them and those actually running the world outside the collapsing Blue Cities. Turchin is mainly correct in his Ages of Discord. This does look like the 1850’s.

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
1 year ago

I think you are forgetting the BLM and XR rioters who I would guess are disproportionately well educated…

Peter Francis
Peter Francis
1 year ago

In the UK, there is a separate dimension to this problem created, in the last decade or so, by the tragedy of mass unemployment for young people in the southern Eurozone. Large numbers of intelligent, highly-qualified, English-fluent graduates and postgraduates came to the UK from southern and eastern Europe looking for work. Consequently, many of the jobs that, years ago, would have been a first rung on a career ladder for a UK graduate or postgrad have gone to EU citizens. (BTW, I am neither a Brexit voter nor a xenophobe.)

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Francis

I am not sure though, many of them are doing jobs in IT and medicine that UK graduates are generally discouraged from doing by schools obsessed with grade inflation that force them into A levels that then bar them from doing a decent STEM degree and thus being able to compete with those people.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
1 year ago

Crikey. The comments on these pages do show you up as a lot of bitter (mainly) old and (mainly) men.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Cordy

Stay with feminism.

7882 fremic
7882 fremic
1 year ago
Reply to  Fiona Cordy

Us old and bitter men display our hard won wisdom. Life is a hard thing, I have seen too much suffering in my time to ever really be happy again, I have been out in the world a very great deal indeed, and after all I have seen I am just worn down by it. But then I have really seen the rough sides of life in a great many places, many ones where life is nasty and short.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
1 year ago
Reply to  7882 fremic

Me too and I’m not young myself. But I don’t see the need to criticise just about anybody and everybody who is trying to do an honest day’s work. And I can’t remember if your comments were among those that I was referring to in this comment.

Fiona Cordy
Fiona Cordy
1 year ago

If industry wants and needs engineers and technology experts, why on earth shouldn’t it train them up itself? Many arts graduates are perfectly capable of cross training, but why should the people on here, many of whom benefited from free university education, expect youngsters to shell out the cost of a mortgage on their education, particularly in these Covid times, when all they get is some online drone wittering away?

On top of which, industry or at least large corporations, get so much in subsidy in the form of tax allowances, it could well afford to contribute more to the country’s wellbeing.

Dawne Swift
Dawne Swift
1 year ago

Universities are the most woke sector of any; most lecturers/teachers at university/schools (in the UK at least) have a career path which leads them from school to university and then back to either university or school to teach, creating a narrow echo chamber of opinion, which is passed on to the next generation of students. It’s telling that when students enter work outside the education sector they become less woke.

Terence Fitch
Terence Fitch
1 year ago

Quite a few comments telling ‘people’ how much education they ought to have. It’s a choice isn’t it?