The Education Bubble

I had an excellent conversation with a dear friend yesterday and it brought up a number of things for me. There has been a lot of news lately about the education bubble. The job market for freshly minted college graduates sucks right now. Unemployment in that demographic is around 50% and underemployment around 60%. I know I personally have a grocery bagger with a BA and my friends son has an MA in mechanical engineering and no job prospects.

I have a number of friends, all about 10-20 years older than me, so in their mid-40’s to mid-50’s who are either out of work or in danger of being so. They are having extreme trouble finding a job. There are plenty of folks my age who will work for less or work on contract instead of on salary with benefits.

Combine this with the growing resource scarcity that I see coming, felt first in the agricultural sector, and our unpayable debt and it is a recipe for a second Great Depression. Unlike the first, though, 60% of the population does not live on a farm, or have any real way to feed themselves if they cannot work in a service economy. News flash: Lack of income, high commodity prices and general frustration lead to violence. And it won’t just be in the low income areas.

How do we, as a society, remodel ourselves so that we can keep the advances we have made, while shoring up our underlying shaky foundations? Simply, individual resiliency. We have to become net producers instead of consumers. We talked some last night about our shared desire to live in a permaculture based community. One thing I realized was, while it takes many square miles to sustain a hunter-gatherer society in a natural setting, in a food forest, you can feed yourself for much less effort on a much smaller plot. Look at what guys like Sepp Holtzer or Masanobu Fukuoka have been able to do.

If we can educate enough people to have living examples in and around most areas of the country, we can turn our nation into a nation of producers, where people eat from the, relatively easy, labor of their own hands and work as they please to provide for their desires. This kind of resiliency, in even 10-20% of the population, would allow us enough flexibility to survive most catastrophes. So, what are you waiting on? Get out there and garden!


About cptcaveman

An Army Major, my family and I are in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. We enjoy photography, cooking, reading and outdoor sports like hunting, fishing and trapping.
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2 Responses to The Education Bubble

  1. Youknowhoitis says:

    Sorry to hear that things are still not going well on your side of the pond. One thing to think about is though, why the heck does everybody think a BA or MA will provide a better living and a secure job?
    I am a small business owner in Germany and am running a rewinding business for electric motors. My first year journeyman makes 2200 Euros per month and I went very far during the recession to keep my staff employed which included laying of my own wife and making serious cuts on our own lifestyle as a family.
    Qualified manual labour is always brain labour as well, it is a lot more satisfying than pushing papers and it pays quite well in my part of the world. So why not become a good mechanic, electrician or plumber instead of spending a lot of time and money on academic education which does not garantee a good life anymore? If need be you can still qualify as a master, technician or engineer but with a lot more experience.
    As you said, you guys need to become a nation of producers again. It works quite well for a small country like Germany and it works quite well for the Chinese, too.

  2. I completely agree with this article. It’s time we changed what we value as knowledge. It’s simply not enough to be schooled all of your life and expect employers to hire you. We need meaning and relavant experience.

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