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Economics vs. knowledge Thu, Dec 16, 2021
America has a student loan problem.  The blame is some sort of combination of the following: 
  • students borrowing too much
  • colleges offering worthless majors
  • lenders preying on naive borrowers
  • loans backed by the government
  • colleges charging too much
But I think an even bigger issue is that higher education has become an issue of economics instead of knowledge.  We value degrees that can lead to high-paying jobs, and by association we de-value degrees that have no obvious or prosperous career path.  We tend to look down on things like art history or women's studies because there are few to no jobs in those fields.  And I think that's an issue. 

I think there's value in knowledge.  It's not always obvious right away, and it might not be worth a lot of money.  But I think it's good for a society to know things, and to build up a collective base of knowledge, either because it might benefit someone someday, or just for the sake of being knowledgeable.  And it's not just to win at bar trivia night, or because you might be on Jeopardy.  Knowledge can be something that's important in ways that you can't predict.  It doesn't necessarily create insight, or new ideas, or make lots of money.  But it can, and it's important in its own right.