Thursday, 16 August 2012

No Dreaming Spires

One of the saddest conversations that I have ever had. The son of a local family well known to me, with a place at university and with that place confirmed today. But he won't be going. Fifty grand of debt? No, thanks.

Nor would I, from an impeccably middle-class background, have taken that deal. That would have been the biggest mistake of my life. But I could not possibly have known that at that age. If he had been born 12 days earlier, then he would have been all right, or at least better off. There really is no answer to that.

The best that can be said is that, as historically, an economic, social, cultural and political difference might be made by the re-emergence of that previously common phenomenon, a large body of people who would have gone to university, but who never did because their families could not possibly have afforded it.


  1. How are the reviews of your book going?

  2. Rather well, if a bit of news today is anything to go by, which it is.

    But on topic, please.

  3. While I do think too many people in the rich countries go to university, I also think that, for those who do choose to attend, they should not have to go into debt to do so. The student debt bubble is another private debt bubble waiting to burst.

    If we had a sane economy, people would not feel the pressure to get advanced degrees to earn a decent living. Under full employment, people would likely sort themselves into the jobs best suited for them.

    This is why I can't stand all the STEM nonsense. Most people have neither the desire nor the capability to become scientists or engineers, and that is fine, society needs many different people to fill many different roles. But every worker should be paid enough to support a family in reasonable comfort.