- Capitalism and Alternatives -

No one forced those people to go to a university or college and recieve a higher education.

Posted by: David ( USA ) on September 12, 1999 at 00:34:38:

In Reply to: The New Proletariat posted by R Rockliff on September 10, 1999 at 21:53:17:

: The new proletariat is an emerging class (I do not necessarily endorse any particular class theories when I use this term) which, unlike the traditional proletariat, is generally highly educated. This new, and ever growing, class consists of those who are highly educated (in disciplines that are not valued by capitalist societies) but are nevertheless quickly trapped into a form of wage slavery soon after graduation, usually making even less than traditional "blue collar" workers, but unlike the blue collar workers they have the added burden of the expense of their education to pay off. The new proletariat generally works in clerical positions with very long hours for very low wages with very poor benefits, while trying to manage the debt incurred by their education.

: How were they lured into this trap? Generally, they have fallen prey to the principle of caveat emptor. They were sold a degree which, though it was expensive, was advertised as a means to provide for themselves in the future, but they were in fact deceived. The modern university is a capitalist enterprise. It sells degrees and makes a profit doing it. Like other things sold in capitalist economies, a degree is almost always worth much less than what the consumer pays for it.

What you did not mention was that the degree was optional. No one forced those people to go to a university or college and recieve a higher education. If they chose they could have apprenticed in a trade such as plumbing or have become an electrician, making around $50/hour right away.
Another factor involved is the type of degree they chose. A friend of mine finished got his degree in radiology at med school and now (at age 33) makes $750,000/year. On the other hand, a colleague of mine has her doctorate in Philosophy and has to work 3 part time jobs because there is no demand for a philosopher.
The point I am trying to make is that due to the demand some people will come out of college or university with their degree and be able to command high wages, while others whose skills are not in demand have to fight tooth and nail for whatever decent job they can find.
Your analysis of the university system as capitalistic is incorrect. You first need to differentiate between a private university and a public one. A public university recieves huge subsidies from the government and its profits are reinvested into the campus. A private university recieves no government money and is generally smaller. Private universities often grant very large scholarships to promising young students, often at a loss. The reason they do this is that they know that if that promising student becomes successful they will donate back to the university.

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