The college bubble is
bursting. Bubbles can’t
last forever and in the Anglosphere this particular bubble has lasted since the
nineteenth century. But universities, even the hard sciences,
have now been debauched by
anti-science Social Justice Warriors, as I’ve documented here, here, and here. At the
same time, universities have lost their monopoly on knowledge storage, general education
provision, and specialized training for high salary professions. And they just
cost too much. They’re done.
So the monastic bubble burst.
Now it’s time for the university bubble to burst too.
Plato founded the “Academy” in Athens in 387
BC. The ideas of the “Platonic Academy”— unfettered
free inquiry in the pursuit of truth—inspired nineteenth century universities
so much that they started to speak of universities as “academia.”
Thus they demand that more
“minority” or poorer pupils be allowed into “elite universities.” They fail to
understand that, if this happens, “elite people” will just send their children
to university somewhere else and the original university will cease to be
regarded as “elite.”
They insist that more and more
dropouts enter “higher education” in order to “earn more money.” But they fail
to understand that this simply results in the dumbing down of higher education,
the bachelor’s degree having far less value as employers lose faith in its
Already, employers are
increasingly setting up their own systems of assessment, sometimes giving the
job to a non-graduate. They are bypassing degrees and reverting to de facto apprenticeships, where they
establish their own entry requirements and then train you on the job. Surveys
have found that employers regard young college graduates as “deficient in such
key workplace skills as written and oral communication, critical thinking and
analytical reasoning”—the very things that college was supposed to teach them.[This is the real reason why new graduates can’t get
hired,By Ronald Alsop, BBC, 19th November 2015,].
There is evidence that
universities, especially for Humanities students, are turning into very
expensive day care centers. Young people seem to be growing more slowly. Those
born circa 1998 (“iGen”, the generation afterMillennials)are less likely to
have ever done part-time work, less likely to drive, less likely to have had a
relationship, and less likely to have had sex then the previous generation were
at the same age. They see university not, in part, as a rite of passage through
which you “leave home,” but as an extension of “home.”
Hence they want to feel
intellectually “safe,” “protected” from ideas that upset them and to enjoy the
right not to be “offended.”
The plain fact is that many
high school students would be better off training as an electrician, where
there are many jobs available, than saddling themselves with huge student debt
to obtain a science degree from a mediocre university.
And it is simply frivolous to
study for a Humanities degree—except for the fact that benighted employers
still require a college degree. (For example, it’s very difficult to become a
U.S. Army officer without one).
But more and more companies
that used to require a degree for certain administrative jobs no longer require
one, including Whole Foods and Starbucks. [The Higher Education Bubble is Bursting, Investors
Business Daily, September 7, 2018]
In addition, of course,
universities have been taken over by the Left. In Britain in 1964, 55% of
academics were “Left wing.” This has now risen to 80%, even higher in
Humanities subjects. But half of the British public identify as “right wing”
compared to less than 12% of academics—despite roughly half of the most
intelligent 5% of the population being “right wing” [Lackademia,By Noah Carl, Adam Smith
As a result, the public
perception is that that academics are biased, their research is not to be
trusted, and they shouldn’t be funded by taxpayer money or be permitted charity
status. In 2006, 41% of Americans had “a lot of confidence in higher
education.” But by 2017 this was down to 14% [(Dis)trust in Science,By Gleb Tsipursky, July 5,
This also means that
universities can be regarded as the ideological enemies of conservative
governments. Eventually such governments might begin to ask—apart, that is,
from their stupidity and cowardice—why not simply abolish universities’ tax
breaks and partial public funding and let them sink or swim?
Hague pointed out that
universities essentially had a monopoly: students attended university for the
purposes of education and attendant kudos (Humanities), training (Sciences and
Law) and a combination of the two (Social Science).
But technology means that
universities were increasingly redundant. Hague predicted that it would be
increasingly easy to “educate yourself” in any subject.
In addition, what Hague called
the “freelance fringe” of academia—who would hang around university towns and
do occasional university tutoring in addition to other work, such as
journalism—have become increasingly prominent (more so now as a result of the internet).
Young people, many of them university students, are increasingly aware of
Political Correctness at their universities So they turn to quasi-academic,
often YouTube personalities who become their de facto teachers—in a sense,
help to fund these people to be independent researchers, while also learning
Due to this competition, Hague
expected non-science subjects, in particular, to contract. As with any bubble,
the central issue is confidence. Once key people, often those who are more
intelligent or perceptive, start to lose confidence, then their lack of
confidence is contagious.
It is probable that this very
process is occurring, consistent with media speculation on the Higher Ed bubble
bursting, right now.
In Britain, for example, as
Oxford and Cambridge become increasingly woke and socially engineered [Oxford University agrees to let in disadvantaged students
with lower grades,By Gabriela Swerling, Telegraph, May 21, 2019], British pupils
from elite backgrounds are increasingly going to colleges abroad, especially in
the U.S.A. Between 2013 and 2017, British applications to U.S. colleges
increased by 31%. In 2016, half of students at two leading “public schools”
(prestigious private schools in British English) applied to an American
university and almost half of these applicants ended up going to one [Why British students are heading to America for an elite
education, By Helen Kirwan-Taylor, Telegraph, September 27, 2017].