30th October 2012
As Schumpeter pointed out in 1942, a university education makes it psychologically much harder to consider manual trades, even if employment opportunities are greater there. It’s psychological as well as the material expense involved, particularly these days. I’d add another, as well, though: it’s not simply the college experience and the expectations it creates – it’s also the way in which the system pushes students to prepare to compete for college while still back in high school, with fewer students of the upper middle class, especially, working the jobs that they used to work, in fast food or retail or other things. The kind of work in high school that was ordinary and normal even for very smart, college and beyond-bound students, coming from the middle and even upper middle classes, is both less available and less respected – disrespected, even – by parents, by the college entrance system, by the students themselves. So much for the intrinsic dignity of labor.