Socialism

New York Magazine’s cover asks, “when did everyone become a socialist?”

I’m about to read the articles, but I’m going to blog about it first. Because I was just saying to Steve that most people may become more conservative as they get older, but I’m getting more radically progressive.

I’m going to night after night of presentations on how to care for an adult with special needs and learning about how crappy the system is. I walk out of these presentations furious. Like seriously ranting and pacing back and forth and cursing at the world.

I keep interviewing college kids with over $100,000 in student loan debt (some over $200K) and NO CLUE what jobs are available to them. [edited for clarity.]

I socialize IRL and on twitter with writers without health insurance and who are scrambling to get paid by their editors.

I have friends who are texting me every day from small liberal arts colleges that are closing, and they have no jobs.

The 2008 recession permanently scarred Jonah’s generation. And us. The parents. I talk to parents every day who are scared for their children and making lots of hysterical choices based on those fears.

AOC is going to be president, once that she’s old enough.

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65 thoughts on “Socialism

  1. This is strange to me since we are having trouble hiring/keeping straight out of college – undergrad. Wages are rising and there are lots of jobs. We do require quantitative skills. We are also finding increased competition for PhDs and I have been getting lots of linked in messages from head hunters.

    How does someone run up $300k in student loans?

    i will never ever be a socialist. Too many of my family members were killed in Stalin’s camps. And spare me the bullshit about that wasn’t real socialism or Venezuela isn’t real socialism. That is exactly what happens every time.

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    1. “How does someone run up $300k in student loans?” – one year at a time, with the blandishments of the school and having heard Suze Orman prancing around the stage saying ‘education debt is GOOD debt”.
      I think USNews rankings are a big part of the problem – have seduced parents and kids into thinking that the extra cost of Princeton is of course worth it compared to Rutgers. So then every school goes into the much-discussed climbing wall dining hall wars, and everyone comes out more indebted.
      Also I think there’s a Maginot Line problem here, fighting the last war: in the fifties-sixties degreed people graduated with very little debt and their job prospects were hugely brighter than were those of high school grads. Both of those things have changed, and attitudes have not adjusted.
      I thought I learned a lot about the origins of current ideas in the New York Magazine article When Did Everyone Become A Socialist http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/03/socialism-and-young-socialists.html which is full of Brown graduates underemployed in debt and preening in front of their peers.

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      1. “In the middle of the dance floor I ran into Nicole Carty, a DSA-curious professional organizer I also hadn’t seen since college, who made a name for herself doing tenant work after Occupy Wall Street. (DSA can feel like a never-ending Brown University reunion.) “Movements are, yeah, about causes and about progress and beliefs and feelings, but the strength of movements comes from social ties and peer pressure and relationships,” Carty said. “People are craving this. Your social world intersecting with your politics. A world of our own.””

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      2. “In the middle of the dance floor I ran into Nicole Carty, a DSA-curious professional organizer I also hadn’t seen since college, who made a name for herself doing tenant work after Occupy Wall Street. (DSA can feel like a never-ending Brown University reunion.) “Movements are, yeah, about causes and about progress and beliefs and feelings, but the strength of movements comes from social ties and peer pressure and relationships,” Carty said. “People are craving this. Your social world intersecting with your politics. A world of our own.””

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      3. But $300k? That means they got nothing but loans, they got no discount off the sticker price and they spent $75K a year. This is crazy. It’s also very rare. The Chronicle of Higher Ed had self reported student loan data for a while – so it was skewed to high values, the average was around $70K. $300K takes effort.

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      4. dave s. said,

        “Suze Orman prancing around the stage saying ‘education debt is GOOD debt”.”

        Suze Orman has a lot to answer for.

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    2. “How does someone run up $300k in student loans?”

      Laura must know, but the main scenario I see is private college that does not provide aid (NYU, as a known example). But, that can’t all be loans taken by the student, I think, unless the amounts include credit card debt or loans parents have taken on behalf of the child.

      There might be the occasional student at Princeton whose parents can afford to pay but take loans instead, but I’m guessing not many.

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  2. lol. Steve just called me to say that my blog friends were yelling at me about $300K.

    $300K happens, but admitted, that number is rare. I hear $100-$200K a lot though, especially around here. Families make over $150K per year, so don’t qualify for much aid, but the cost of living is very high, so there aren’t any savings.

    Still, that much debt is horrible. I’ve heard $200K for four years at Loyola, a college that is lower ranked than many state colleges.

    There was an article today in LA Times that the total student loan debt among young people is up to 1 trillion. https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-debt-trillion-student-loans-mortgages-20190225-story.html

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    1. Of those who owe more $100K, how many are just BAs? Lots of our associates start with over $100K in debt, but they get paid $190K per year to start so I really don’t see it as a major social problem.

      Allowing student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy (maybe starting ten years after graduation, to solve the problem of med school graduates immediately filing for bankruptcy) seems like a slightly easier solution than turning the US into Venezuela.

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      1. Allowing student loan debt to be discharged in bankruptcy (maybe starting ten years after graduation, to solve the problem of med school graduates immediately filing for bankruptcy) seems like a slightly easier solution than turning the US into Venezuela.

        Nobody serious is thinking that Venezuela is an outcome. Best case Sweden or Canada, worst case postwar UK, but neither are in the same area code as Venezuela, and to say so is either ignorance or stupidity or intellectual dishonesty, or some combination of the three.

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      2. Anyone who imagines that the U.S., an ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse nation, peopled by immigrants and spread over the width of a continent, with a highly individualistic culture and a tradition of machine politics, could turn into Sweden, a compact, homogeneous country of autochthons with a strong communitarian ethos and a history of incorruptibility in its public administration, definitely qualifies as either ignorant, stupid, or dishonest.

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      3. Anyone who imagines that the U.S., an ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse nation, peopled by immigrants and spread over the width of a continent, with a highly individualistic culture and a tradition of machine politics, could turn into Sweden, a compact, homogeneous country of autochthons with a strong communitarian ethos and a history of incorruptibility in its public administration, definitely qualifies as either ignorant, stupid, or dishonest.

        Yeah, yeah, speaking of intellectual dishonesty, that’s not what I said. Either you are intentionally misrepresenting what I said, or you just don’t read too well. I’m not a mind reader so I can’t tell which one it is (or if it is both).

        I didn’t say we would become Sweden. I said a country like Sweden is the upper bound. Or, Canada, which is demographically diverse and still manages to be closer to a European style social democracy and doesn’t seem to be such a bad place.

        But, FWIW, Sweden wasn’t always peaceful socially cohesive society. (Fun fact: the two countries in Europe that have fought the most wars with each other are Sweden and Denmark.) Up to the early 20th century Sweden had a feudal economy with a gini coefficient that would make your head spin. Like much of Europe it almost went red in the 20s and adopted its current social contract out of self-defense, much like Roosevelt passed the New Deal. Of course, Sweden and Norway did have an easier path in that they got rid of a large percentage of their peasant class by exporting it to the US, which is an option that isn’t available to us, but I’m sure that is a solvable problem.

        The New Deal, by the way, was a success, not a failure, and we could do worse than looking at what we were doing then, with some health care and education thrown in. That would put us a good deal of the way to having what Sweden does without worrying about our demographics at all.

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  3. AOC is a great gadfly, but she would be a train wreck as President. She thinks socialism means a better safety net and higher taxes on the wealthy –both good ideas, but not even close to what socialism means. The European social democracies that have tried state ownership of the means of production (which is what the word “socialism” means) have all backed off, when it turned out they could not run businesses effectively. What they now have is mixed economies with governments owning selected industries where they can do a good job, and the rest of the economy privately opwned but regulated to prevent bad behavior and tax evasion.

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    1. But if she were president, presumably, we’d get what she thinks is socialism rather than what someone else thinks (or what it really is, or what the academics think it is, or however you want to define it). Who defines socialism, anyway? Saying that it means government owns the means of production seems kind of like citing a dictionary definition.

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      1. It is pretty much a dictionary definition, and it has held for 150 years. If she means something else, she needs to explain what that something else is.

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    2. “What they now have is mixed economies with governments owning selected industries where they can do a good job, and the rest of the economy privately owned but regulated to prevent bad behavior and tax evasion.”

      I read this as “what we have now”, because, we also have selected industries where the government runs thinks and we also regulate to try to prevent bad behavior and tax evasion. I think a lot of people are not dissatisfied with capitalism, but with capitalism in which we argue that free-market capitalism is the solution to every problem (public schools, veterans care, firefighting, self-regulating financial markets, food industries, pharmaceutical companies, . . . . ) and that government has no role.

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    3. I was not aware that European companies were free of bad behavior and tax evasion. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-05/dirty-money-scandal-widens-with-reports-on-nordea-and-lithuania In fact, Kevin Drum had a column just a day or two ago kind of making the opposite argument, that American left/liberals had stopped looking up to Europe. https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/03/a-neoliberal-says-its-time-for-neoliberals-to-pack-it-in/

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    4. She thinks socialism means a better safety net and higher taxes on the wealthy –both good ideas, but not even close to what socialism means

      Yes, this. Everybody is throwing around “socialism this” and “socialism that” without the faintest idea of what the word actually means. Nobody is talking about nationalizing anything. AOC is a run of the mill European Social Democrat and everything she is proposing has been implemented viably in non-dystopian industrialized countries. That people are in knickers-twisted hysterics is just a measure of how far the Overton window has shifted to the right.

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      1. ” Everybody is throwing around ‘socialism this’ and ‘socialism that’ without the faintest idea of what the word actually means.”

        Well, given that the Republicans have screamed “socialism” about at least every Democratic president from FDR to Obama, it’s not surprising that there’s some fuzziness about the concept.

        Someone I read on Twitter put it more pithily, but if “socialism” means that in the richest society in the history of the world, people aren’t going hungry, aren’t losing their homes to medical bankruptcy, aren’t living in fear of one accident wrecking a lifetime of saving, aren’t working in debt peonage because they tried to get some education, then yes please, sign me up.

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      2. The point I’m making is that in politics, you have to define your terms carefully, and especially if one of the terms you are using is loaded. AOC should be making more of an effort to define what she means by socialism, and what she does not mean. Otherwise, she will lose ground when she doesn’t have to.

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  4. Googling to find the answer and stumbled across this..

    I’ve known my wife for 8-plus years and I’m happily married with a newborn son. We both make a good living ($100,000 per year), but we pay a significant amount in student loans. I work multiple jobs, and we get some help from my parents and scholarships. My master’s cost 3 times less than her master’s. She owes over $200,000 in federal student loans and another $20,000 in private student loans (one is at 12%).

    https://www.marketwatch.com/story/i-was-surprised-to-learn-my-wife-has-220000-in-student-loans-and-the-repayments-are-twice-our-mortgage-2018-07-27

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  5. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/i-was-surprised-to-learn-my-wife-has-220000-in-student-loans-and-the-repayments-are-twice-our-mortgage-2018-07-27

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-17/the-student-loan-debt-crisis-is-about-to-get-worse

    Yes, there may be some people who take out a lot of loans then get great jobs at law firms in NYC. There are probably more who take out those loans and end up as a real estate lawyer in Hackensack. And the worst yet are the poor people who take out loans and take some college credits and never get a degree. There are actually more people who do that, then actually get their BAs.

    There’s a nice pie chart here: https://www.cometfi.com/student-loan-debt-statistics

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    1. “There are actually more people who do that, then actually get their BAs.”

      Not true, you are mis-reading the chart. 21% have some college, no degree, while at least 29% (19 BA+1 PhD+ 9 Masters) have at least a BA (not sure about professional – maybe that should be added as well.) That also says nothing about what percentage borrowed money. Some of the 21% may not have borrowed (athletes for one example) anything.

      I’m being hard on you about reporting data accurately because it is important. You seem to think implying there are many people with $300K in loans will generate sympathy and action. It makes me think you are not credible.

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      1. Also, in the text, they are reporting the numbers a bit strangely and I realize you are probably looking at this line “Among all Americans aged 25 and older, 58.9% have spent at least some time in college, and about 32.5% have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. ” You are still wrong to say more people spend time and don’t get a degree than get a degree as the 58.9% figure includes both those who got degrees and those who dropped out, otherwise the chart and that statement cannot both be true.

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      2. There’s also the issue that people have been using student loans as a DIY welfare program in hard times–which isn’t something that has a lot to do with the colleges themselves.

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  6. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized#how-much

    The above link shows how much undergraduate and graduate students can borrow from federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans — far short of $200,000 unless you’re in a health professional program. Of course, you can borrow more from banks, but it’s hard to imagine a Master’s degree program that would lead to an occupation that could justify such a debt level, and even more so for an undergrad program.

    Spending that kind of money on a degree with a middle class salary potential just does not seem worth it.

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    1. If we ever do get free college, the colleges and universities are going to be very surprised that the US government will not pay the extortionate prices that the colleges currently charge for their degrees.

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    2. According to the page Laura linked, private loan debt is less than 10%. So again, that $300K number looks like it took serious effort.

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    1. MH said,

      “Can we finish with the math and start the class warfare please.”

      That’s why we’re going to get Venezuela, not Sweden.

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      1. I’m not sure what the next 20 years will bring, but if the problem is “too socialist” I will be very surprised. My guess is that the two most likely outcomes are sort of European-style social democracy or something like the Argentinean Junta.

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  7. Ian’s tutor just told me that she had $100K when she finished college. At a state public school. She’s down to 70K. She was in a dual BA-MA education program, so it took 5 years to graduate. Her parents made too much money for aid, but didn’t have anything to pay for tuition.

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    1. I’m not about to start talking young people about their problems, because I can’t get old people to not tell them theirs, but I’m glad somebody is.

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  8. Yes, I’ve become more progressive in my old age too. I’m completely for moving in the direction of some guarantees of basic needs as put forth by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

    Incidentally, AOC makes a point of calling herself a “democratic socialist” and claims her views line up with Scandinavian social democracy—so claiming she wants state ownership of the means of production and that if her views are supported we’ll end up like Venezuela is ridiculous bullshit—it’s just an attempt to scaremonger.

    —In her words: “So when millennials talk about concepts like democratic socialism, we’re not talking about these kinds of ‘Red Scare’ boogeyman,” she said. “We’re talking about countries and systems that already exist that have already been proven to be successful in the modern world.”

    Somehow, mysteriously, in our “free market economy”, the rules now favor bankers and the financial industry instead of borrowers or consumers. Your student loan stories are examples of this in that they cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. So much for a free market economy. (And Joe Biden seems have been instrumental in writing and passing these student loan bankruptcy exceptions. Thanks Mr. Champion-of-the-Middle-Class) It’s crazy that young people today have to deal with this insanely expensive system of education today.

    And for the very worst cases it’s even worse. In this country, an unemployed and disabled woman with only an income of $10,000 from Social Security disability was unable to cancel her $37,000 student loan debt—a federal district judge ruled against it because although some student loans still could be discharged in bankruptcy, it is limited it to those that could prove “undue hardship”. Court interpretation of this phrase ended up with the concept of “the certainly of hopelessness”, or people in circumstances that would never improve. Somehow this women did not qualify for this level of destitution.

    This is just cruel. There has to be some middle ground between Stalinist Russia/Maduro’s Venezuela and whatever label you want to slap on whatever economic system the 21st-Century United States currently has.

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    1. There’s also quite a bit of middle ground between Stalinist Russia and Maduro’s Venezuela. A quick look at how healthy Juan Guaidó seems compared to Stalin’s political opponents is enough to show this.

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      1. Wow, I’ve never met an apologist for Maduro before, but if “better than Stalin” is what you have, I guess that’s what you go with. Pinochet was better than Hitler, too.

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      2. If pointing out he differed from Stalin makes me a Maduro apologist, I think I also qualify as a Trump apologist.

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  9. Just heard a dreadful report on NPR: the allocation of disaster aid/intervention increases inequality in communities that receive federal disaster aid. It reminded me that we aren’t talking about a government-free market operating here. We are talking about government intervention that can serve to exacerbate differences of opportunity (some of which were created by our racially discriminatory past, like redlining and its effect on home ownership).

    The non-dischargeable student debt, requiring hopelessness as a criterion for intervention, would be an example. There simply can’t be a government interest in causing people to abandon all hope for a future where their lives will be better.

    Demands that we fix the policies that just happened to benefit the classes that have always been privileged (and by government action) is a long way to Venezuela.

    (Are we getting close enough to class warfare?)

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    1. There simply can’t be a government interest in causing people to abandon all hope for a future where their lives will be better.

      For not reason at all, let me just add that so I’m so happy Paul Ryan retired.

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  10. I am definitely not getting more conservative. Mind you, I still have some non-progressive positions: I believe that human beings respond to incentives and disincentives, and that systems that rely on the inherent goodness of human beings will fail. But I am more concerned these days that we are building systems where the might crush the weak and those systems are non-sustainable. How long can a democracy sustain itself in a world where there is a greater and greater concentration (of everything) in the top 1, .1, .01%?

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  11. I am irritated by this because it is lumping multiple issues into one thing, then proposing one solution (free college) that won’t address the core issues. There is no reason for my kids to pay zero tuition. There is no reason for Y81’s kid to pay zero. I grew up in a trailer and college and grad school let me get into the upper middle class. I pay more in income tax and I pay interest on direct student loans to the government. I see nothing wrong with that. So, someone borrowing $100k and getting a job at Y81’s firm is ok by me – that person won life’s lottery.

    Now, someone who spends $300k and doesn’t know what to do is a separate issue. Maybe limits on borrowing need to be set and enforced. It’s a different issue. Someone who starts school, drops out , and is stuck with loans is yet another issue. We need to understand why that happens.

    Lumping them altogether is, bluntly, stupid. It’s glib, and it ignores that effective policy is all about the details. My kids, Y81’s kid will take those free spots and not actually help other kids growing up in trailer parks or in public housing etc. Laura’s misreading of the data and focus on people who borrow high amounts obscures those issues. (2.7 million is a lot, but a real minority of borrowers)

    It puts the focus on the upper middle class. MH wants class war, let’s start there. Let’s do something that actually fixes it. For profit schools are really popular with working class people because they accommodate people with jobs and kids. I am sick of the racist, classiest assumption that those people are just too stupid to realize they are more expensive etc. They get that, but those schools start classes monthly and actually accommodate people with jobs and kids. Traditional universities don’t. I know, I went to a traditional university and it was hell.

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    1. I’m not sure who likes for-profit schools and how much, but politically, I’d logroll on almost anything in exchange for returning to pre-Reagan marginal tax rates (with brackets adjusted for inflation).

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  12. The 2008 recession permanently scarred Jonah’s generation. And us. The parents. I talk to parents every day who are scared for their children and making lots of hysterical choices based on those fears.

    Yeah, that just shows how fragile people have become. I graduated college during the Bush recession of the early 90s and if you look at the stats and literature of the time the unemployment and underemployment numbers were on the same order of magnitude as they were around 2008 and the median student debt was not that much better. (The current median student debt is around $35K, which is a far cry from the six digit outliers being mentioned.)

    Now the 1930s and 40s, when my parents were kids. *That* was an emotionally wrenching economy.

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  13. About those For-profit colleges that Tulip is supporting as some kind of fix. Oh yes, those For-Profit colleges are quite popular.

    But . . . 43 out of every 100 students who attended a for-profit college (entered college in 2004) defaulted on their loans within 12 years of starting college.
    (from a Brookings Institution Report on For-Profit Colleges)

    According to the director of federal relations and policy analysis at the American Association of Sate Colleges and Universities, Barmak Nassirian,:

     “Why does the for-profit sector generate these terrible outcomes? That is very simple,” Nassirian says. “Because terrible outcomes are very profitable, and there are no adverse consequences visited upon corporations that generate absolutely abysmal consequences, for both students and the taxpayers — and yet continue to be in good standing to victimize new cohorts of people, basically with impunity.”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/schoolboard/2018/03/19/for-profit-colleges-teachable-moment-terrible-outcomes-are-very-profitable/#20dbcbee40f5

    It seems to me that they need some good old democratic-socialist regulation. It should not be that every choice that someone makes is either “stupid” or not and it’s just on them. We as a society are suffering because we are acting as though it’s really fine to regard every issue/problem in our society as just an opportunity for unscrupulous entrepreneurs to gouge unsuspecting people.

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    1. Yes, knowing why they are popular is important, but, I do think that the popularity might be for irrational enough reasons that there is little value to trying to extract useful information for change in universities based on the popularity of the programs. For example, what if the major reason for popularity is credentialing without learning? that is, students are given material, that they don’t learn, but everyone signs off on their learning anyway?

      The article on the failure of the “SMOCs” at UT Austin in the Chronicle was interesting. Some of the lessons seemed to be that large institutions with distributed power structures are really hard to change. But, some of the lessons seemed to be that serious disruption needs to be justified by pretty strong results, which are difficult to demonstrate.

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      1. “For example, what if the major reason for popularity is credentialing without learning? that is, students are given material, that they don’t learn, but everyone signs off on their learning anyway?”

        Then you know you don’t need to change anything at traditional universities. You also learn that that population will not benefit from going to a university since they aren’t interested in learning.

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  14. I have friends who are texting me every day from small liberal arts colleges that are closing, and they have no jobs.

    I’m a big fan of SLACs, having gone to one myself, but a lot of these small schools deserve to die. Unless you are going to the real thing (Williams, Bowdoin, Reed, etc) you might as well go to the honors college of your flagship state U and it isn’t clear to me what service these tiny mid-table colleges actually provide. Well, aside from TT lines for humanities professors, but this is an expensive form of welfare for that demographic.

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    1. I think from a ROI that’s based on income, which has to be taken into account if you are borrowing money and need the ROI to pay it back, the small, financially marginal SLACs don’t make sense for individual students unless they have some special need that is being met.

      But, as a good/experience one can afford to pay for, they can make sense for some for the experience they provide, in the same way that a 1000 dollar prom dress might make sense for the value it provides a particular individual. If they all disappear, I would feel a loss.

      And, you are sweeping schools together in what their “value” might be (using rankings, Williams, #1, Bowdoin #5, Reed #90). I don’t think the US News rankings mean much, but they do affect student’s decision making & a college’s ability to survive (Reed is probably ranked lower because of decisions they’ve made about data, but I don’t know). So academics spouting off on value based on their own personal anecdotal experiences aren’t a good way to distinguish, I think. I for example, realized fairly late that I was ranking schools by the strength of their cognitive neurophysiology groups (which is relevant to only a small few, though it can sometimes be correlated with programs that matter more to the standard undergraduate).

      I read the Chronicles long format article on Hampshire College, and though it is not the kind of college I would have considered (or that my kids are interested in), I am sorry to see it go.

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  15. Go Great or Go State. That’s what the old superintendent for my high school used to say. Yeah, I’m not about to defend lower ranked SLACs. We chose a state school for our kid.

    This blog post was just about what I’m hearing from other people either through interviews for work or just chatting with my kid’s reading tutor. People, rightly or wrongly, are pissed off about a lot of stuff. And that’s going to make them vote for more progressive economic policies.

    On the other hand, elites might be going more to the right. Drezner made that claim yesterday…. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/03/06/why-american-capital-will-swipe-right/?fbclid=IwAR19H6tCWLkeHuJYYFTV15Yo6eQT5HN4Whw2ixIp3CU4rMbhYcIGdxvBdk0&utm_term=.2291309fc768

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  16. Honestly. I’m not exaggerating. I have a good friend at Hampshire College, which is closing. I get a daily IM from his wife, who is panicking. Some random person emailed me from Green Mountain College in VT today, too.

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  17. Honestly. I’m not exaggerating. I have a good friend at Hampshire College, which is closing. I get a daily IM from his wife, who is panicking. Some random person emailed me from Green Mountain College in VT today, too.

    Hampshire is kind of a weird edge case. It’s a pretty good school, but serves a pretty odd niche. I respect people who go/have gone there but to me the only reason to be there is to be able to take classes at Amherst. Still, I have a friend who went there and then on to get a good Ivy PhD and then a pretty successful academic career. Given that they probably have only 2000-3000 graduates ever, just on the basis of her track record they are already doing better than most SEC universities per capita, at least if you only consider the non-athletes. And I know other people who have gone there and thrived as well.

    Hampshire is in trouble because all the forces are aligning against it. Serving an odd niche which restricts the applicant pool, being a young school with basically no endowment or alumni base to support it, the demographic trends moving in the wrong direction (most millennials are out of college and the following generation is much smaller), and, as far as I can see, blatant mismanagement. So, like everything else about Hampshire, I wouldn’t want to look at this and project to anywhere else.

    Now, Green Mountain is more like the other small colleges going belly up. But honestly, what’s a Green Mountain? Aside from the students there who are in transfer hell, the local townies who work there, and the faculty who were already sort of at the bottom of the barrel for four year college teaching jobs and are faced with the prospect of having to re-compete for jobs, who is going to miss it when it is gone?

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  18. With regard to previous discussion on where does this go, Venezuela or Canada/Sweden/whatever, I’d argue that if you want Canada or Sweden act Canadian or Swedish–you need consensus, strong social norms and good manners. If you want to be Canada or Sweden, whipping up class and ethnic hatred is not the way to go–those things (while no doubt enjoyable!) lead to a different destination.

    Using Canada or Sweden as a model might also mean that any programs need to be done on a Canada or Sweden-sized scale (rather than on the 326 million US national level). Canada has a population of around 37 million and I believe a lot of their programs (maybe including healthcare?) happen at the provincial level. Likewise, Sweden’s population is about 10 million, while other Scandinavian/Nordic countries are even smaller (Norway, Denmark and Finland have populations of 5+ million).

    Meanwhile, New York’s population is about 20 million, New Jersey’s is about 9 million, and California’s is about 40 million. These are all large, rich, liberal states–there’s no reason why they can’t start creating a socialist paradise right now–if they actually want to. California, as we’ve all heard, would be the #5 world economy if it were an independent country.

    But before you guys get going on that, I have to point out that AOC’s mom moved to Florida…

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