Both from the proprietors at Marginal Revolution:
1. Here is Alex Tabarrok:
“What astounds me is not that someone could amass $35,000 in student loans pursuing a dream of puppetry, everyone has their dreams and I do not fault Joe for his. What astounds me is that Richard Kim, the executive editor of The Nation and the author of this article, thinks that the failure of a puppeteer to find a job he loves is a good way to illustrate the “national nightmare” of the job market. Even in a wealthy society it’s a privilege to have the kind of job that Kim thinks are the entitlement of the middle class. And, as Tyler says, we are not as wealthy as we thought we were.” Do go and check out the information at the bottom of the post.
2. Here is Tyler Cowen:
She has heavy student debt and does not know how to pay it back; in the meantime she has become an activist against Bank of America’s proposed debit card fee. She doesn’t have a full-time steady job and her story is here.
She majored in art and architectural history and spent her summers interning at art museums. Here is more:
She and her boyfriend — a law firm paralegal working against the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger — spend their days living frugally. They have no television or car. They rarely eat out. They just bought a tub of 48 random beers for $15 at a grocery store.
She has sent job applications to Planned Parenthood, the Center for American Progress and SEIU but has heard nothing. She is fretting that a grace period for her student loans ends in December.
I should stress that I am sympathetic with some of her choices (not the tub of beer), and you can read this as reflecting some strengths of American higher education. Still, not all liberal arts students have her organizational and media talents, and this kind of story goes a long way toward explaining the current job market malaise for the young. Even she is having a hard time finding remunerative work and getting on a career track. Furthermore, she doesn’t seem to be striving for that.
I want to write a post about college major choices, but there is a serious internal debate I am having and it is by no means settled. if everyone majored in “the right majors” I am not convinced the world would be very different today. Evidence perhaps to be provided at a later date. Note that I consider myself fortunate, not of particularly good foresight.