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The Rise and Rise of the Cognitive Elite

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the what-goes-up dept.

Education 671

hessian writes "As technology advances, the rewards to cleverness increase. Computers have hugely increased the availability of information, raising the demand for those sharp enough to make sense of it. In 1991 the average wage for a male American worker with a bachelor's degree was 2.5 times that of a high-school drop-out; now the ratio is 3. Cognitive skills are at a premium, and they are unevenly distributed."

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Class Difference (5, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992826)

In 1991 the average wage for a male American worker with a bachelor's degree was 2.5 times that of a high-school drop-out; now the ratio is 3.

Isn't this more an indiciation of a widening income gap between working class and middle class backgrounds? There are a lot of not-so-smart people with degrees.

Re:Class Difference (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992880)

But those people are still working at McDonalds, or at 7/11, or pumping gas, even with their degrees.

Just having a piece of paper from some academic institution, even if it's "reputable", means little in the real world. Just having a degree in art history, English, sociology or psychology won't get you a well-paying job. You'll just have knowledge that's generally useless, or otherwise widely known by most people in other fields, too.

It's not just a problem in America, either. Indian-trained software developers are a great example of this. Although many have degrees from Indian institutions, sometimes even what they claim to be an equivalent of a "Masters" degree or better, they often don't have the necessary knowledge to get any sort of real work done. The various papers and documents they hold are absolutely meaningless.

Re:Class Difference (5, Insightful)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992920)

It may not get you the job, but it will get you interviews and consideration, which gives you a leg up on people that lack similar 'papers and documents.' Don't underestimate how important getting your foot in the door is. If you're lacking a degree, it's much more difficult to get people to take you seriously.

Re:Class Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993268)

It may not get you the job, but it will get you interviews and consideration, which gives you a leg up on people that lack similar 'papers and documents.' Don't underestimate how important getting your foot in the door is. If you're lacking a degree, it's much more difficult to get people to take you seriously.

At least in the beginning of your career. If you have 15+ years of experience, that's probably better than two years of a co-op and a four year degree.

Re:Class Difference (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993370)

But for those first 15 years you're not going to be taken seriously or paid well.

Sadly skills on paper are worth far more than skills in practice.

Re:Class Difference (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993478)

Depends. It's hard to get a job at any of the big defense contractors because they are allowed to bill the government based on the number of degrees the workers have. It may not be that way in other markets, but at least in Orlando it's defense contractor city around here.

Re:Class Difference (2)

muindaur (925372) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993032)

You need to do well in the history program, and hope the CIA wants you as an Analyst(or if you were are fit enougn a field agent.) It's one of the few careers that a history degree is good for(history is required so you can make sense of cultural/historical context in codes or conversations.) You also need to be fluent in a foreign language for all the really good history programs(if you take middle eastern history the program will require Arabic or Pashtu etc depending on the region.)

I looked at the CIA career site once to see the requirements for an analyst position. Four year degree in history and fluent in a foreign language. The Bourne series of books actually took that into account too. Jason is actually a professor of history after the first book, and it's in Asian history(the movies were only someone close to the books for the first film.) So other than a history teacher, that's really the only option for a history major I can think of. There may be more.

Re:Class Difference (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993486)

It's one of the few careers that a history degree is good for(history is required so you can make sense of cultural/historical context in codes or conversations.)

Also excellent preparation for special forces, if you want to go military. So said my ex-coworker with that exact background.

Re:Class Difference (5, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993104)

It's not the degree that shows competency. It's the drive required to get the degree that tells you what you need to know about a potential employee. For example, a high school drop out is probably not a high school drop out because he's stupid. He's a high school drop out because he is lazy, has a problem with authority, can't/won't follow rules or some other issue that prevented him from finishing high school. (Yes, I understand that there are special circumstances that force some people to drop out of high school that are beyond the person's control; like a sick mother or something.)

On the other hand, take your typical liberal arts graduate. Sure, they may not have learned how to perform advanced math on hex numbers while in college, but they have shown that they are willing to learn new ideas, do the hard work, follow the rules, see a task through to completion and generally put up with the bullshit that you have to put up with in order to get the degree.

It's not the degree itself that matters. It is what getting the degree says about the person who got it.

Re:Class Difference (4, Insightful)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992896)

I think it's the fault of HR departments. They refuse to believe you might be intelligent without a degree. Which is why I'm trying to get the degree that goes with my job. Hopefully this debt I'm building is useful.

Re:Class Difference (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992958)

The problem is that HR departments are home to some of the least cognitive people on the planet.

Want to know how you get through the HR "filter" to someone who can actually make a hiring decision? You fill your resume with meaningless garbage, "certifications" from overglorified cert-mills and degree-mills, pad your experience by about 3-5 years, and do whatever else it takes to fit the computerized filter. And you do this not because it indicates any ability to actually do the job, but because the first thing the HR idiots do is stick all the resumes for a given position in a pile and order a computerized filter to drop all the ones that don't have a precise combination of keywords.

Ability to adapt to new jobs/situations? Not looked for. Have 20 years in the field but been working all that time rather than building up student debt? Sorry, guess you didn't match the keywords they wanted in the "education" field.

Re:Class Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993060)

"The problem is that HR departments are home to some of the least cognitive people on the planet."

You said it! The corporate recruiter where I work - the person who screened me before I got to talk to my current boss - is a complete airhead. (Which helps explain how so many of the other people here got in the door.)

Re:Class Difference (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993244)

You got that right, although it isn't always HR. I have a friend who was hired by another friend from high school who was the son of the owner of a small company (and whose father had been a friend of my friend's father for years). They promoted him to run one of their divisions. After about five years they decided to get rid of the division that my friend was running to concentrate on their core business (mostly as a result of much larger companies expanding into their region in the industry that division was in). My friend talked to another company in the area that was looking for someone to head up a similar division. They were talking salary when they found out he didn't have a college degree. They decided not to hire him based on that, even though they had no other candidates at the time and the position was open and needed filling.

Re:Class Difference (1)

LordNacho (1909280) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993400)

You're right, but HR is just a symptom. It's the CYA culture that's to blame. These days, a great number of people work for large corporations, where everyone has a boss. If you hire someone without credentials and they screw up, you're in the firing line. In a small firm, where the hiring manager owns a significant piece, it's up to him if he wants to hire a guy without a diploma. If he screws up, you can fire him, and any loss is your own. But you don't have to justify not following some random guidelines.

Re:Class Difference (5, Interesting)

quetwo (1203948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993442)

But the big problem with HR departments is all the unqualified people who do apply for a job.

I just filled a position for a telecom tech. Our simple requirements were that they had to have at least 5 years experience with voice, 1 year of data, and not a convicted felon.

I got > 300 resumes. I think it was closer to 400 actually. But what it all boils down to is, when you get me your resume, you have 30 seconds to impress me -- for it go to into the "I'll look at this one more closely" pile. Not having a college degree makes you much less impressive when I have a stack of 200 people who do. Unless there is something else extremely impressive about you, you won't get a second look.

For me, a person who has finished college tends to be a much more rounded individual. Sure, the guy who dropped out of high-school may be the brightest guy on the block, but I don't know that, and I don't have the time to find out. Espically in my field, education is very important (not just higher learning, but simply learning new technologies), and if you don't seem willing to even learn anything past the basics, it makes you a much less qualified applicant.

Re:Class Difference (1, Insightful)

horigath (649078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992912)

On Slashdot we don't like to talk about class. We'd rather just pretend it doesn't exist, it makes ineffectually complaining about the government while continuing to support the status quo easier.

Srsly though, not a troll. Come on guys.

Re:Class Difference (2, Informative)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993108)

We don't have a class (aka caste) system.

If we did, you would be born a commoner and spend the rest of your life there, never able to rise to the level of Bill Gates or Barak Obama or one of their assistant managers. Those jobs would be reserved for the nobles while you would be stuck in the factory/office as a laborer.

Re:Class Difference (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993208)

Yeah, if you had a class system, the sons of presidents would become presidents, and senators kids would become senators.

Wake up! Just because a few buck the trend doesn't mean that you have very very very low social mobility in the USA - aka a class system.

Re:Class Difference (5, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993174)

On Slashdot we don't like to talk about class. We'd rather just pretend it doesn't exist, it makes ineffectually complaining about the government while continuing to support the status quo easier.

Srsly though, not a troll. Come on guys.

Earning a degree has nothing to do with class. Anyone can get into college. Can't afford it? Join the military, get loans, scholarship or work three jobs while going to school. I served two years in the US Army, took out loans and worked two jobs to put myself and my wife through college. I have a bachelors and my wife earned her masters. We were both raised by single parents who worked multiple jobs to put food on the table. Neither of our parents paid for our education.

Of course, it helps to have mommy and daddy pay your way so you don't even have to hold a job while in school. I knew some of these people, and frankly, I got much more out of college than they did. Sure, they may have better stories to tell as they were available for every kegger on campus. But I learned how to work to midnight on the far side of town, complete my assignments and still make my 8:00am class.

Re:Class Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993470)

On Slashdot we don't like to talk about class. We'd rather just pretend it doesn't exist, it makes ineffectually complaining about the government while continuing to support the status quo easier.

Srsly though, not a troll. Come on guys.

Earning a degree has nothing to do with class. Anyone can get into college. Can't afford it? Join the military, get loans, scholarship or work three jobs while going to school. I served two years in the US Army, took out loans and worked two jobs to put myself and my wife through college. I have a bachelors and my wife earned her masters. We were both raised by single parents who worked multiple jobs to put food on the table. Neither of our parents paid for our education.

Of course, it helps to have mommy and daddy pay your way so you don't even have to hold a job while in school. I knew some of these people, and frankly, I got much more out of college than they did. Sure, they may have better stories to tell as they were available for every kegger on campus. But I learned how to work to midnight on the far side of town, complete my assignments and still make my 8:00am class.

As one of those privileged who got lots of help from Mom & Dad, I have to agree.

I was not eligible for scholarships or loans because my parents owned their own business. I worked for them through high school and put $$$ into my college fund. I had lots of advantages.

Students that don't start college right after high school tend to be more dedicated to learning. They've done some maturing before they started. They learned more about the world before they started.

For those of us that went straight to college, it was a safe place to learn about more adult activities. There's a value in that too. I know I had an advantage and I used it. I'm also glad that many can use the Army as a step up.

Re:Class Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992978)

And a lot of smart, experienced people without degrees.

Re:Class Difference (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992980)

Actually its an indication that the tiny fraction of incredibly wealthy people who've basically gotten all the increase in wealth in the past twenty years have college degrees.

Anyone who uses averages to talk about wages or wealth is either completely ignorant or trying to trick you.

Re:Class Difference (5, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992982)

In 1991 the average wage for a male American worker with a bachelor's degree was 2.5 times that of a high-school drop-out; now the ratio is 3.

Isn't this more an indiciation of a widening income gap between working class and middle class backgrounds? There are a lot of not-so-smart people with degrees.

It isn't so much a widening gap between working and middle-class...

Once upon a time, skilled labor was the middle class. But the middle class is slowly disappearing. We're outsourcing and offshoring everything we can. All the skilled labor jobs are going overseas.

Here in the US we've basically got unskilled labor, and management.

And that gap is widening. We replace more and more labors with machinery. We make individuals more productive with technology. We offshore what we can.

And the laborers become less and less skilled, and more easily replaced. So they can be paid less.

And the managers we actually have left here in the US are those that are harder to replace. So they must be paid more.

And eventually we have just the upper and lower classes.

Re:Class Difference (2)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993336)

Wealth envy. Let's look at the stats:

- 90% of the US income tax is still paid by the top 10%. i.e. 3% of the burden per million wealthy persons.
- The remaining 10% is spread-out over the other ~270 million..... or less than 0.04% per million taxpayers.
- Source: irs.gov

Now I'm certainly not a defender of rich people (I hate corporations and CEOs) but to say the rich/upper middle class are not paying their burden is an untruth. They are being taxed approximately 80 times the rate as the rest of the americans. If the top 10% fled the country, the government budget would collapse.

>>>And eventually we have just the upper and lower classes.

Sounds like the Roman Empire, circa 400 AD. The middle classes were forced to sell their land to the wealthy, and in exchange they were allowed to continue living/working the land. It didn't start as a class system but did eventually evolve into one (feudalism), where the wealthy owned the workers.

Re:Class Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992992)

Huh? You equate middle class with high school drop-out?! You may be a little disconnected from reality there, buddy. Arrogant prick.

Interesting statistic (4, Informative)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992996)

In 1991 the average wage for a male American worker with a bachelor's degree was 2.5 times that of a high-school drop-out; now the ratio is 3.

Isn't this more an indiciation of a widening income gap between working class and middle class backgrounds? There are a lot of not-so-smart people with degrees.

I think that's what the article is trying to point out. Take this statistic FTFA as an example.

In America, for example, in 1987 the top 1% of taxpayers received 12.3% of all pre-tax income. Twenty years later their share, at 23.5%, was nearly twice as large. The bottom half’s share fell from 15.6% to 12.2% over the same period.

Re:Class Difference (1, Interesting)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993000)

There are a lot of not-so-smart people with degrees.

Claim: Statistically speaking, the difference in intelligence between those with and without college degrees is large. Do you deny this claim? Because if not, your statement quoted above seems meaningless.

Re:Class Difference (5, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993004)

I strongly suspect that the gap is widening not because "smart" people are more in demand, but because "not so smart" people are becoming less in demand.

Take one economy. Remove the manufacturing jobs. Watch as the percentage of jobs held by people with college degrees goes up, and the wages on the rest of them go down due to the oversupply of people without.

Re:Class Difference (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993146)

Watch as the percentage of jobs held by people with college degrees goes up, and the wages on the rest of them go down due to the oversupply of people without.

Do you realize how many people with degrees are having problems getting jobs?

White collar jobs are also being sent overseas, too.

A lot of kids with degrees in Accounting (3.0+ GPAs) are having problems getting jobs. Lawyers are having problems. Some engineers are having problems.

It's not just factory workers or other blue collar workers that are having issues.

Re:Class Difference (1)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993206)

But those factory workers were having issues 30 years ago. before any white collar positions started getting outsourced.

Re:Class Difference (4, Informative)

KovaaK (1347019) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993314)

You are correct that there is some difficulty for those with degrees in getting jobs, but the recession hit those with less education the hardest. December 2010's unemployment numbers are as follows: Less than highschool 15.3%, Highschool grad with no college 9.8%, Some college or associate degree 8.1%, Bachelor's Degree or higher 4.8%.

Source [deptofnumbers.com]

Re:Class Difference (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993254)

Indeed. And foreign "not so smart" people are cheaper (for the right value of "foreign"). That this causes unemployment and therefore poverty and places a large burden on society is apparently somebody elses problem.

I suspect there once was a time that economy was merely a tool to run society, instead of society being merely a tool to run the economy.

Re:Class Difference (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993064)

You missed the point. It's not a widening gap between working class and middle class. It's a widening gap between middle class and the rich.

The middle class has essentially become non-existent.

The top 1% held $8 Trillion dollars in the 1980s. Today it's $40 Trillion! Whereas the middle class has seen their wages stagnate and wealth decline.

Re:Class Difference (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993080)

Bill Gates should go back to college and finish his degree.(if he wants to earn the big bucks)

Re:Class Difference (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993142)

Also, the factor getting larger doesn't necessarily mean those with a degree now get more. It can also mean those without a degree get less. Indeed, it can even mean both get less but those with degree decline slower than those without.

Re:Class Difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993346)

So what? If you want to do well in life, work hard in school while the state is paying for your education, and then continue learning and working hard your whole life. An experienced plumber or electrician can make $70k+ a year running his own business. Not too shabby. I have no sympathy for people who piss their youth away ridiculing those who take education seriously, only to come crying to me with their hand out later when they realize they have no skills that anyone will pay them for.

The More Young College Grads I Meet... (3, Interesting)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992860)

...the more I look to hire high school drop-outs and illegal immigrants.

Seriously, don't Kids These Days want to put in a full day's work and pay some dues any more?

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (2)

korgitser (1809018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992924)

...the more I look to hire high school drop-outs and illegal immigrants.

Seriously, don't Kids These Days want to put in a full day's work and pay some dues any more?

Seriously, who would like to do that?

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (2, Insightful)

MLCT (1148749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993008)

Seriously, who would like to do that?

The response of the college grad would rather be:

"seriously, dude, like, who, like, so, like, whatever, like do that?"

i.e. most college grads I have met, particularly in the last five to ten years, are basically unable to speak, read or write in a coherent and grown-up manner - let alone do a proper days work.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993086)

I resent that you insensitive clod!

While there are a lot of people that I went to school with that I also wouldn't hire, the good ones tend to keep their heads down and get their work done and put in a honest days work (or more depending upon the field!) along with everyone else out there in industry.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992926)

Many of them have learned it's a sucker's game since they're being asked to pay dues that previous generations did not have to. Why kill themselves working 80 hours a week for a few years when they know the company will likely just boot them out after they get burnt out? It used to be graduating with a bachelors almost assured you of a white collar job somewhere. Now, chances are good you're going straight to retail.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992934)

I think they would, if there was even some small chance that their hard work would ever pay off. But with Baby Boomers like yourself so willing to hire illegal aliens, or even to ship such jobs overseas, there's little incentive for them to try. Why should a young grad bust ass for you, only to find out that you've decided to transfer his job to Thirpindadur in Bangladesh?

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992940)

And youngens had more respect in your day too I'll bet.
And the colours were sharper.
And the world was safer.
etc

if anything younger people in the profession are more willing to work insane hours for far too little.
It's the older ones who've gained some sense and know their health isn't worth the non-existent reward for working massive amounts of unpaid overtime.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992948)

Look, all I want is an honest week's pay for an honest day's work. Is that so much to ask?

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992960)

As one of those Kids These Days: When I was in the "paying some dues" stage of my career, I didn't mind putting in a full day's work. I did mind putting in 14-18 hours a day 7 days a week for pay that amounted to about $7.50 an hour for months on end. Call me unreasonable if you like.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993010)

Was your video game a hit?

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993050)

Actually, it wasn't gaming work at all, just a project that needed 4 people to really pull it off properly when the company in question could only afford 2.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993406)

Contrast your story with my hiring experience: posting 20hr/week intern positions. Occasionally we'd get "volunteers" who wanted an unpaid position, for the most part we got what we paid for, though occasionally (almost predictably, I think) we'd get a valuable personal referral out of one of these people for a kid who was really productive.

As for the "hired gun" interns who came for the money, we couldn't get anyone in the door for less than $20 per hour, and those that came for that money were more interested in pursuing their own projects and bitching about how their company issued PC was "lame," than doing any of the actual work they were assigned. You'd like to think that they would pick up and learn as time went along, but in reality their productivity steadily declined while they were in the position. It was all attitude, and it was the first time I felt a separation from "kids these days."

Don't agree with me? Then GET OFF MY LAWN!

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993426)

Wow...sucks that this was the ONLY job in existence. Idiot...it's people like you that let employers continue practices such as this. Don't give me the "Wah...I needed a job" or "Boo-hoo, if not me, then there's a line of people behind me". You're responsible for you, just like everyone else. When you excuse yourself from personal responsibility, you excuse everyone...including this particular jackass employer.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993018)

For the well motivated, any job is within reach. You don't need a college education (not that you shouldn't) to get a good job with good pay. You just need to know how to teach yourself. Find hobbies and do something (there's plenty of people who need quality pro bono work). If you're good at what you do, it doesn't take much to get noticed by people. What really matters is having experience on your resume, and being able to show it.

Get back to work kid! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993026)

...the more I look to hire high school drop-outs and illegal immigrants.

Seriously, don't Kids These Days want to put in a full day's work and pay some dues any more?

You tell'em! These whipper snappers think that they can go to school, party, come out with a degree and automatically get a decent paying job!

Back in my day, we didn't have all this Globalisation! All we had to do is compete with Japan and Germany and they cheated with their efficiency and better quality - I tell you!

Now, we have these trading "partners" like China where we can get the labor done for a fraction of the price! And I tell you me, it's been helping ALL of us! Just look how our standard of living has increased! Why the cheap products available in the China Outlet Store (Walmart) have never been cheaper!

Can't compete with China or India?! Well something wrong with you, kid! In my day, we had to compete with those damn cheap Southerners - you know, that cheap labor in the Carolinas, Georgia and other Southern States. They were paid a whole 1/4 less and we did it! So can you. So what that a Chinese man makes less than a tenth of what you do! You just need to be 10 times more productive!

Job went to India!?! Well, you just need to learn more skills and get them up to date and be 10 times more valuable! All you got to do it work harder - just like the CEOs! Why they busted their ass to have their Father get them into Harvard! An then they had to network constantly at keggers so that they can make the contacts to get those CEO jobs when they get out! It's hard for them to ship jobs overseas so that they can ruin a company and then get their 100 million dollar bonus!

I tell ya! Kids these days!

Now, get back to work and fund my Social Security and Medicare! I have to go to the doctor and then the Cadillac dealer because there's a new model and it'll look good in my Second home in Florida!

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993058)

Is there an app for that?

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (1)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993180)

Business is business, Why should I care about the company "paying my dues" if, when the times get a little tough they lay off employees to increase the share price. Their responce, business is business. My responce, I'll put in 40 hours of hard work a week, but I want an equitable work contract. My first job out of university was 70 hours a week, for six months, then they laid everyone on the project off. I was not upset with the company, any other american company would have done the same. I then ( six years agao) emigrated to an "evil socialist" european county and have been loving my job and life every since.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993292)

Well good on you for getting the fuck out, Mr. Japanese Handle. More whiny Americans should follow your example!

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (2)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993198)

...the more I look to hire high school drop-outs and illegal immigrants.

Seriously, don't Kids These Days want to put in a full day's work and pay some dues any more?

If they were willing to put in put in a full day's work, they would have probably graduated high school!

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (1)

Paradoks (711398) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993374)

How many high-school drop-outs have you met?

The thing about a college degree is not that it proves you're smart -- it doesn't. It proves that you had the ability to follow directions well enough to sit through 16+ years of schooling while regurgitating enough answers to keep the teachers happy.

It's a hoop to jump through, and having jumped through it shows you're not a complete screw up. You could still be a narcissistic sociopath, but so could the high-school drop-out.

Illegal immigrants, on the other hand, had to jump through the hoop of finding some way of making it in the country. They likely have to do moderately well at their job, as it's not like they have a safety net. Still, they're also less likely to have a solid grasp of English. They're also riskier to hire. Those problems make them good for low-level jobs, but not especially useful someplace where you want a person to stay for years.

Re:The More Young College Grads I Meet... (2)

bughunter (10093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993394)

What are you offering in terms of compensation for "a full day's work?"

I certainly understand your frustration with the work ethic of some young people, and the sense of entitlement that many new grads bring with them. But smart people who understand that they're well-compensated *will* go the extra mile for you. Not just monetary compensation, but benefits and social intangibles as well. It also helps to be a good interviewer and learn to identify the honest hard-workers who enjoy their work, and not just hire people based on their resumes. The latter is a recipe for disaster.

When workers hear comments like yours, smart people react with "this guy's only interested in squeezing us to maximize his bottom line, why should I do anything extra for him?" And I'd say they're correct, not because they're right about you specifically, but because they are able to find someone else who sounds like they will provide a better boss-employee relationship. Thus, you're left with the desperate, the dumb, and the dropouts -- people who justify your opinions.

Changing which way? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992900)

This is an alternative interpretation of the data:

In 1991, the average American with a bachelor's degree earned 25% (?) of what the top 1% earned. Today, the fraction is 7% (?). Cognitive skills are no longer valued as much as they were.

Another contributor (4, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992902)

Another contributor to the increasing ratio of college-educated salaries to those without has been the decline of manufacturing. There was a time over the last 2-3 generations when someone without a college degree could still get a decent job in manufacturing with benefits and good pay. There was value in skilled trades. The specific example I am thinking of is the automotive industry, where an assembly-line worker could make $20-30 an hour with benefits, and a good machinist could earn as much as a white-collar. Whether that was prudent or sustainable economically or socially is another matter, but it was the case.

With the decline in manufacturing jobs and labor unions, brought on by increased productivity, increased global competition, and the economic downturn generally, it is harder for the uneducated to find jobs that don't have shit conditions for a shit wage.

More recently, the economic downturn has hit those without college educations disproportionately high (manufacturing, construction, etc.), which would tend to depress their median income level, leading to a greater skew that might not otherwise be there.

Re:Another contributor (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992972)

The decline of the trades has had an interesting effect. It's now difficult to get skilled weldors, so the pay for good ones (plus tasty per diem) can be quite nice.

Re:Another contributor (2)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993140)

You're right -- that's one of the biggest issues my employer has -- we can't get welders work anything. That 8/10 don't pass our weld test doesn't help, either. It's just a 4G 6" S80 position weld already fit and in the positioner for you. It's subject to visual testing and RT. I'd include our starting wages for welders, but they'd seem off since we're in a pretty low cost of living area (that also managed to more or less bypass the real estate bubble entirely, both the inflation and the pop)

Re:Another contributor (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993122)

A good fitter turner or welder still gets a very decent salary+benefits. At least all the ones I know do. And by decent I mean they are getting paid more than me, and i have a PhD.

Re:Another contributor (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993138)

This is an excellent point. It's not really the numerator of this ratio that's changing much (actually, if anything it's going down), it's the denominator that's been dropping steadily since 1980 or so.

D'uuuuuuuuuh (0)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992906)

Isn't this obvious?

In 1991, computers were still relatively basic, the internet was very rare and you needed lots of unskilled workers if you wanted to do anything.

Nowadays the simple tasks are done by computers, machines or robots - and so the only people which are truly needed are those which can do jobs that technology can't.

So instead of having a line of factory-workers screwing in the top of toothpaste tubes, you have a robot doing that, and you just need the people who designed, maintain and upgrade it.

Re:D'uuuuuuuuuh (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992944)

(continued..)

And if I wanted such a line of factory-workers, I wouldn't be opening in America. I'd open it in a third world country, employ a bunch of children on slave wages and export the stuff to whichever country I want.

That's why the clever money is on improving education to improve a developed country's economy.

Re:D'uuuuuuuuuh (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993302)

That level of automation is only present in the largest or most profitable manufacturing facilities. There are still many, many smaller fabrication shops and manufacturers that rely primarily on human effort.

In many of those plants where the machines and automation are the rule of the day, there are still far fewer high-skills jobs than it was once estimated there would be. Machines are designed for the lowest common denominator, and are made to be operated by anyone (especially in plants that seek out ISO-type certifications where every machine must have an operations manual that can walk anyone through turning it on and running it). The shift to the "knowledge worker" is a short-term blip in the United States. As more and more manufacturing moves overseas, those places are the ones that will develop the hands-on knowledge and supporting educational system that will foster thought leadership in the future. This change is happening faster in some sectors and slower in others, but it is happening nonetheless.

It's not necessarily an irreversible trend, however, but reversing it will require more than just high thinkers--it will require determination.

Re:D'uuuuuuuuuh (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993366)

BZZT Wrong! The toothpaste-tube robot only exists because the labor became too expensive. I live in China and I constantly see factories that could automate, but don't. Why? The robot costs more than the labor. The DAY that the robot costs less - that's they day they switch over. But not until then. I leave it to the reader as to why labor costs put so many people out of work in America (hint: I won't say why but it rhymes with "union").

I call BS (3, Insightful)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992908)

In my experience (WARNING! ANECDOTAL! WARNING!) I have found that intelligence and money are not closely correlated (except possibly in an inverse relationship). For instance, coders who can't code get the fast track into management. Sales guys often get paid many times what the company's top engineers make.. Hell, I had one coworker who couldn't sit through half a f*cking meeting, but got paid 5 times what I did to go to conventions and schmooze.

Re:I call BS (4, Insightful)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992952)

Hell, I had one coworker who couldn't sit through half a f*cking meeting, but got paid 5 times what I did to go to conventions and schmooze.

Clearly you're underestimating the value of a good schmoozer. Connections are very important in business, as important as the quality of your product.

Re:I call BS (4, Insightful)

SquirrelCrack (522382) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993090)

^THIS^

I can't stress this enough, emotional IQ is as important if not more important to success as technical intelligence. The best built software in the world is useless if nobody can sell it. It's really time for technical folks to stop bitching about how unfair this is and start trying to teach themselves interpersonal skills and sales skills. Get a job in consulting where both are highly valued. A good technical person that can also schmooze, sell and build relationships is worth their weight in gold.

Re:I call BS (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993312)

Schmoozers are their own pricey little bubble. The only reason you need schmoozers is to connect with other schmoozers. If we all chopped the schmooze department off the balance books, we could get back to doing real business deals without all the pomp and fluff.

Re:I call BS (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993040)

This is the Dilbert Equation in action: Money = Work / Knowledge. Also identified by Lawrence J Peter as what he called "percussive sublimation", a.k.a. being kicked upstairs.

Re:I call BS (1, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993044)

A good coder might produce a few times his salary in profit for the company. (a great coder even more) but a really fantastic salesman who can get the really big projects or negotiate a 10% better price on a big contract can make the company more money in a day than the coders can in a year.

now of course without the coders he doesn't have anything to sell but it's basically a matter of being in a position where your actions have an immediate and massive effect on the bottom line.

Someone who can schmooze with the best of them and make the other guy tipsy enough to sign up for something really really expensive can be worth his weight in gold.... or even platinum.

Re:I call BS (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993396)

To many of us "good coders", your first paragraph embodies everything that is wrong with the current system. The sales guy is nothing without a strong production team to materialize his bullet lists. If the good coder is producing "a few times his salary" in profit, that coder is severely underpaid.

If your goal is to have a stable business with sustainable growth and loyal employees, the co-op model is the way to go. Don't use the staff as worker bees that make the boss wealthy, treat them as partners that work together to make everyone's jobs and lives better. This narcissistic obsession with sales and profit margins is what put us in this lopsided economy in the first place. The sales guys got rich quick, while the people who actually create value are stuck in their cubicles for eternity.

Re:I call BS (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993504)

and yet the fantastic sales guy would still be getting far more than you even then.
Since the difference between a merely good salesman and a fantastic has such an effect on the bottom line and really good schmoozers aren't common the coops are going to be competing to get the best schmoozers to join their coop anyway and he's still going to get paid more.

personally I don't much like the idea of jobs you have to pay to get so I won't join you in your dream.
If you don't have to pay to join where does the capital to start the business come from and why should the workers who take the biggest risk setting up the company get the same payout as the ones who joined years later when it was really safe? if they do get more then congratulations: welcome back to the status quo

Re:I call BS (1)

VendingMenace (613279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993166)

This has already been circled around by the other replies, but let me say is explicitly: being good at sales, schmoozing, etc requires a certain type of intelligence. Just because someone is not good at coding does NOT mean they are unintelligent. It means they are bad a coding. Point being that there are multiple types of skill sets and intelligence and one can be good in one and poor in another and still be intelligent/useful.

In fact, I would argue (as others have here) that it is the management/schmoozing that is the most important skill to have. Not only for businesses either. I am in the sciences in academics, so this is my natural perspective. And the truth is this: you can make the greatest discovery of the year in your field, but if you cannot communicate this well, you might as well not have made it -- because it will have little impact. On the other hand, you can make a fairly mediocre discovery, but communicate it well and you will impact the field significantly. Thus, the real significance of a discovery rests largely on how well it is communicated. This is just the way the world works. Again, there are multiple types of intelligence at work here.

Trying to judge intelligence is a loosing game -- even more so when intelligence is defined narrowly as proficiency in the maths and sciences.

Wrong conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992918)

The reason that people with degrees are earning relatively more as time goes on is not about intelligence. Instead, it is a consequence of the dumbing-down of the university system; compared to 50 years ago, a bachelor's degree means nothing in terms of actual knowledge or ability. As a result, every job with any element of skill whatsoever now requires one. By marking the difference between a completely unskilled job and a skilled job, of course the wage disparity will be higher than before when some skilled jobs didn't require a degree.

What does school have to do with cleverness? (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992946)

Okay, I understand the need and usefulness of "bright people." But then the summary goes on to discuss a person with a college degree vs. a person who dropped out of high school. That's where it loses me because there is no shortage of moronic idiots with degrees and there are a number of people who dropped out of high school for reasons other than they couldn't handle the mental strain. (In fact, all that going through high school proves is that they can complete their work as cognitive skills are simply not required!)

There needs to be another measure as attending school does not make anyone a better thinker... at least not in today's environment.

Could that be the case? Yes. If schools did more to teach people to think better, then yes. But tons and tons of people simply don't want to take "irrelevant courses" where they complain "when will I ever get to use this?" Okay, so they drop philosophy and geography and foreign language courses. So once these "irrelevant" classes are pruned, what's left? "Job training." Great. Now we have worker drones instead of thinkers.

Not the point of the article (3, Insightful)

aclarke (307017) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993510)

Of course there are a lot of people who dropped out of high school who are smarter than those who attended college. If you'd read and understood the point of the article, you'd realize that this is an innately obvious piece of information that in now way detracts from the point of the article.

Statistically, people who attended college now are more likely to make more money than high school dropouts than was the case in 1987.

Firstly, the point you should have been making if you'd wanted to be at least partially on topic is that there are high school dropouts who make more than people with college degrees.

Secondly, the term "more likely" does not mean that ALL college graduates make more than ALL high school dropouts. Therefore, pointing out that you know high school dropouts who make more than college-educated people should elicit a "yeah, so what" response. Of course that's the case. These are statistics we're discussing, not anecdotes.

The article also doesn't state that people who go to college are smarter than people who drop out of high school. In fact, it attributes the inequity to a number of factors, including school quality, education of parents, upbringing, geographic region, and yes, intelligence. The point really is that on average, from a financial point of view, sucks more to be smart, born to poor parents, and living in a poor area than it does to be dumber, but born to rich parents in a good neighbourhood.

huh (3, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992950)

Are we sure that this is a result of the "cognitive elite" being more in demand, or high school dropouts' demand plummeting slightly faster than bachelor's degree holders? From what I've seen education and skills are less important than luck--you know the right people, you managed to pick a major that's temporarily in demand, etc.

evolutionarily speaking (1, Offtopic)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992956)

but who is having more offspring? (insert idiocracy joke)

Drop outs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34992962)

Ratio of 3..

I wonder what the drop outs companies like Google, Facebook, MS et al do to that ratio? Looks like if it wasn't for those "big few", the remuneration ratio for a drop out is probably higher to something like 500 to 1

Supply outstrips demand... (2)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992964)

... just because you have a lot of smart people does not mean they will be put to use.

A lot of ideas from the mythical man month also apply to clever people and large intellectual projects from various sectors. That being one largely of scalability.

http://www.amazon.com/Mythical-Man-Month-Software-Engineering-Anniversary/dp/0201835959/ [amazon.com]

Distribution. (2)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 3 years ago | (#34992984)

"Cognitive skills are at a premium, and they are unevenly distributed."

So are physical skills. Which is why there are only a couple hundred guys in the world good enough at catching a football to do it for a living.

Life is unfair and uneven.

Degree /= Cognitive Skill (3, Informative)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993024)

I work at a typical institution that shall not be named. It's a fucking diploma mill and the grads can't do much of what high school grads back in The Day took for granted.

Two-year degrees mean so little that I would ignore them and test the applicant thoroughly.

Cognitive elite? More like distracted mess. (1)

SnowHog (1944314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993220)

It's hard to imagine that the discrepancy between what a candidate has on his/her resume and what a candidate is actually capable of could have ever been greater. There are kids coming out of college that are barely literate and totally incapable of communication with people outside of their own social circle. The real kicker is that they're wildly confident and clueless about their own limitations.

I don't agree... (neato quote inside) (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993054)

An educated fool is more foolish than an uneducated one.

Can't remember where I read that, but it chimes true. Lord help you in an argument against someone who has been brainwashed to think they know their god's honest truth.

*disclaimer - I have my associates so I am only half a fool ;)

Skills never WERE evenly distributed (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993068)

There are 2 sides to every bell curve, and not every child is above average. What we're seeing is reality (and to some extent class, upbringing) re-asserting itself.

"The clever shall inherit the earth" (0)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993072)

Apparently it's all perfectly wonderful that existing race, gender, and class privilege translates to better access to technology, access to private schooling, growing up in the language/culture of the middle and upper classes, and other determinants of financial success. That way we know that the most deserving can do the most highly paid and socially valued work like engineering new ways to kill people, marketing/branding/manipulating public opinion, speculating on the markets and draining value from the real economy, managing and controlling workers, further entrenching the legal power of corporations in the courts, etc. The most genetically fit earn big bucks and everyone who is poor is there because they are lazy and stupid and do socially valueless work like teaching, manufacturing, transportation, food-service, etc. This is the Economist; what do you expect?

All this talk about the unfairness of socialist redistribution is rather absurd as well. Capitalism involves the most massive redistribution of wealth ever--redistribution from those who produce value (workers) to the ownership class (capitalists) (and their professional techno-managerial class lackeys). An economy under workers self management that allowed everyone to receive the product of their own labor would be vastly more fair than our current state-corporate oligarchy.

For some more illuminating data on inequality, check out Dumhoff. [ucsc.edu]

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993088)

I'm well on my way to a masters in theoretical physics, and I can't tell you the countless number of brilliant, formally educated people I know who are barely making it. The income difference between the educated and uneducated is simply due to the fact that you now need a university degree to do the same job that someone would have been hired out of high school and trained for 50 years ago. The minimum education level requirements to get a job these days has increased, and it's almost always unwarranted. Another consequence is that our universities now resemble high school more than they ever did.

That would be the optimist's take... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993112)

The pessimist might point out that this so called "hugely increased availability of information" has simply increased the amount of information available from "more than even the brightest human could assimilate in a two dozen lifetimes"(have any of our brave techno-futurists tried walking into a good-sized library sometime in the past few centuries?) to "some factors of 10 more than used to be available, much of this 'new information' being data-mining junk like credit card records and Wal-mart's inventory."

The news isn't so much that bright people are at a premium(society has always had its technocrats, going back to when "technocrat" meant "literate, probably related to some priesthood and keeping accounts for some king"); but that the bottom has absolutely fucking fallen out of the market for everybody else at approximately the same time that any legal, social, and cultural brakes on how much the people on the top can make have been removed.

There was a period(in retrospect, quite possibly a historical anomaly) where "blue-collar, single income" might have meant some hard physical labor and some risk; but it didn't mean that you had totally fallen off the bus compared to everyone else. People raised families, owned homes, that sort of thing. Thanks to a mixture of robots and offshoring, the number of such jobs has been sharply reduced(not to zero, at least during housing booms, skilled but 'blue collar' tradesmen often do ok or better); but job availability and pay across the highschool or less sector, as a whole have fallen like a rock and show no signs of ever recovering.

In fact, the fact that the ratio of high-school drop-out to BA/BS holder has only moved from 2.5 to 3 likely supports the pessimistic hypothesis. Despite the fact that the supply of good blue-collar jobs has been absolutely gutted, the ratio has only climbed slightly. That isn't "cognitive elite" money, that is "I'm white collar because I work in a cube, not a jiffy-lube" money. There is an elite in the US, possibly created in part by certain cognitive attributes; but it is so stratospherically above the dropout/BA/BS divide that it isn't even relevant.

In terms of net worth, the top quintile holds ~85%, the bottom four the remaining ~15%. If you restrict that just to "financial wealth"(ie. ignoring largely illiquid assets like houses and cars that are held mostly for use, and considering cash, financial instruments, and the like) the top 1% hold ~40%, the top quintile ~90% and the bottom four quintiles, together, less than 10%.

A degree is no indicator of cognitive skill (0, Redundant)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993120)

The dirty little secret of modern America is that a significant amount of the college graduates we have today would, in a saner economy, be the semi-skilled manufacturing labor force competing with third world labor. Most college graduates have actually fewer skills after 4-5 years of college than most high school graduates who do something more complicated than retail or food service.

The problem is that you can't say that mos college graduates should actually be working in a factory straight after high school because that implies the following:

1) You hate the poor (how liberals will see it)
2) You're an elitist (how many conservatives will see it)
3) You want to deny the American Dream(tm) to millions (how the non-ideological will see it)
4) You don't believe everyone's kid is above average.
5) You believe college should be the domain of the intelligent and elite, not the average man on the street.

Yet here's the thing. A key part of why we are so in debt is because every Tom, Dick and Harry believes that they are entitled to a standard that is "upper-middle class" by world standards... just for showing up on the job. Our national problems could be solved if we'd admit that a stratified society is not only natural, but healthy (which is not the same as saying that 1% should control 90% of the wealth, that's another argument).

The reason the standard of living for the common man rose so rapidly from the 19th century to later 20th century is that we had the gold standard, which secured the value of their labor on one end, and we didn't indulge in ridiculous social engineering to make everyone equal. Now, we have nearly $1T in non-dischargeable student loan debt and no future for many millions of Americans. Instead of more of the same, how about we repeal NAFTA and go back to a sound currency so we can rebuild our manufacturing base and stop forcing square pegs (the average worker) into a round hole (advanced education and the work that it should support).

"a stratified society is not only natural, (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993422)

but healthy"

no. because you assume that the stratums in society are determined by pure meritocracy. there needs to be more churn: rich kids sinking because they are lazy brats, and poor kids rising because they work hard. but it never works that way. in every class structure, there is corruption, nepotism: who you know rather than what you know or how hard you work. such that, over time, all stratified societies do not function anything like meritocracies. you wind up with marie antoinettes on top, who have vast wealth and do not work, and poor people who are truly gifted, but denied any right to ascending as they naturally should if society were a meritocracy. when they see the injustice of the system they are in, they naturally become revolutionaries to break the unjust class system that unjustly keeps them down

so to avoid revolution, which is highly unhealthy, you need to artificially counteract stratified societies. simply because such societies are inherently, undeniably, unjust, and not in any way like the meritocracies you believe them to be

Wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34993182)

Today those who successfully finds ways to leech on the educated creative & smart people's work are the most rewarded elite. I long for the day that the world really belong to those who peruse knowledge morality & creativity. Today, perusing only money and power is too rewarding.

My computer (1)

ViperOrel (1286864) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993278)

For every IQ point my computer picks up, the line dividing "Your life is AWESOME" and "Your life is HELL" moves up a notch. Eventually there will be very few if any people above the line. I would hope by that point we will have come up with a new way of doing economics... otherwise, I guess we just try eat the rich through a wall of killer robots.

The Myth of the Meritocracy (4, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993358)

I've known a number of rich kids in my life. Some of them are the most lazy useless wastes you'll ever meet. I've also been to 3rd world slums, some of them full of the most hard working people in the world. Why is this?

Do the rich deserve to be rich, and the poor deserve to be poor? No, most of the discrepancy in wealth is not due to hard work, but class structure: nepotism, corruption, who you know rather than what you know or how hard you work. I'm not saying that some poor don't rise up, and some rich don't sink down, as is deserving of their character. And in fact the USA does a better job of meritocracy than most other countries. But so much else going on is NOT meritocracy, clearly.

For that reason, many libertarian beliefs only serve to reinforce existing class structures, because so many libertarians don't understand how unfair the distribution of wealth is. In a just society, you NEED to artificially distribute wealth down, because the existing structure naturally concentrates wealth up.

Libertarian philosophy starts with this insane assumption that society is a meritocracy, when all evidence is to the contrary. I agree that society SHOULD be a meritocracy, but to make it a meritocracy, you need to artificially counteract the natural tendency of wealth to attract more wealth.

Libertarians: class structure is real, and growing in the USA. Now you can deny that, or you can do something about that. But making castle-in-the-sky pronouncements about adhering to a meritocracy that doesn't fully exist is just an exercise in fooling yourself.

Some people need to read less Charles Darwin, and more Charles Dickens.

arbitrary interpretations (1)

cthlptlk (210435) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993428)

You could just as easily explain the relationship between college and income by social networking..the people who have the better jobs went to school with the rich people who are hiring, even without having gained any cognitive skills (or any other skills for that matter) in college. I thought that was the point of a BA.

Oh noes! (1)

Zingledot (1945482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993440)

It's about time someone made a crisis out of educated people making more money than everyone else; all the crying over our society's devaluing of education was getting old.

Do we really care? (1)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34993508)

I mean it is nice to know but since the /. crowd is clearly on the clever side of the cleverness scale, we should all be well off right? Right?
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