Monopoly On Human WorthSubmitted by Séamusín on Thu, 05/09/2013 - 22:03
Funny thing happened on the way back from the grocery store!
As i was driving home today from the grocery store six pack in tow, i was listening to NPR (SO SUE ME! YOU KNOW YOU ALL DO IT TOO). They were discussing, surprise surprise, the new internet state tax and what it was going to do to the economy. After one caller submitted that her whole small internet business was going to go under, you know keeping up with 46 different tax codes, 46 different audits, etc.. etc... Suddenly the conversation shifted to the fairness. To paraphrase "Non-Internet small business only pays tax in the state they sell. They don't have access to the markets that internet sellers have access to. Isn't that enough of an advantage?"
Immediately my mind went into overdrive, picking apart, piece by piece the protectionist effects that this mentality would have on the economy, the consumer, and small entrepreneurs struggling to enter into our corporatist society. Just the utter cluelessness of society in terms of the drastic economic effects of the simplest protectionist measure astounds me. Not because i think they ought to know better, god knows they don't. But their intentions are akin to mine, and protecting 1 industry being phased out by technological and intellectual advancement only burdens the rest of society with having to suffer the less developed industry as opposed to the one which would provide society as a whole with more fruit. The irony actually cause me to shed tears. Real tears.
I started thinking about protectionism as it exists in all forms. From the angry citizens down in southern farm country, complaining about foreign labor fairness, to the union mob, forcing minimum wage laws and occupational licensing, to drown the competition.
Keeping the economy down.
We often hear about and discuss the horrors of Central Banking, corporate welfare, unions forcing systems of trade protectionism distorting the value of our goods and our services, what is the minimum wage. Politicians siphoning money out of the economy to support the military industrial complex enhancing their own power, authority, and ability to wield it. Stefan Molyneux says the State is the "Big gun in the room that you can point at people you don't like" and how right he is. As the president increases his power, so too increases the power of the organizations that are best leveraged to manipulate him.
When we as libertarians cast blame, we always seem to start with the banks. Well that makes sense and if I had to pick one small subsection of the state, it would be that one. But what I have been struggling with recently, is that after the banks we move to the corporate elite, followed by the political classes, followed by the public worker unions, then the rest of the unions. Yes, these groups are evil and cause incalculable suffering, but it just seems to me that we tend to leave out a specific but terribly powerful organization in this country. Higher Education.
Colleges siphon more wealth in this country than any other other group in the prior list, save maybe the banks. And yet they hardly get the attention that they deserve from us. Yes many of us realize that the price of tuition is artificially inflated, but we normally never blame this on the institution itself. We blame government interventionism, we blame the democratic leeches who desire to receive equal education in payment for their citizenship and the political puppets that promise it to them. Yet we don't blame the investor who profits from the banks’ manipulation of monetary policy? Or the entrepreneur who survives completely off malinvestment because of either his inability or lack of market for his good or service?
A Free Pass
There is one major inhibitor that keeps the libertarian wary of demonizing higher education. Anyone want to guess? Maybe its the reverence that we have for it.
Educated adults are laden with degrees in higher education. Indeed even we, free market libertarians tend to associate credibility with degrees or appointments to faculties of "reputable" universities. Are we as pretentious as the artist who deliberately accepts gobbaldy-gook as beauty, to substantiate his own lack of creative genius. Have we really missed this crucial part of our awakening? Libertarians should be especially wary of this when personal substantiation comes from a state monopoly.
We tend to view a college experience as the only truly effective way to achieve a well rounded, and intellectual education. Maybe this was the case when only the rich and powerful could afford to attend university. Maybe their abilities were developed and even enhanced by the schools that they attended. I doubt it. And really as far as I can tell, those who could afford this superficial education already had experience in the field which he would spend the rest of his life. That is to say, the experience of ruling over the serfs, or peasants and slaves that served them. Our system of higher education is designed at its very root, to serve people who were already entitled to prosperity and power. Certainly not for people who needed to make themselves successful.
Monopoly on Human Worth
Now, to look at the institution as it exists today in modern America. What we find is that increasingly, higher education is monopolizing credibility. In the society that we live in, intellectuals are forced to either submit to the will of the state sponsored accreditation associations, or submit to the prospect of one's intellect never being truly recognized.
Now it’s bad enough that the colleges and accreditation agencies have monopolized the industry, but as we libertarians know, it never stops there. First comes abuse, then inefficiency, and finally collapse. Collapse is coming and may i just say that the colleges and universities are one of the principle drivers.
This is particularly because the higher education system has assumed a monopoly on human worth. Our own value as human beings is being ripped away as we speak. Even now, it is listed as the first item on our resume. It is the first recognition announced as we are being introduced. It is how we relate to other people in our field, and means more in most cases then what the work in our field has produced.
Tuition for these "educational" experiences are astronomical and growing at a hyper-inflationary rate. Students in these institutions are encouraged not to develop any real ability to reasonably develop individual systems of belief or critical or analytical thinking. For every one success story coming out of one of these meat packing plants there are hundreds of people who just weren't cut out for the success the educational system was supposed to get them. The sad part is, that could have been determined before they ever wasted the money. Excuse me did I say “they”? I meant the taxpayer. How many degrees require a certain amount of elective education? Education that has no pertinence to the objective major. Why? Why math as a history student? Why literature as a physics student? To give them a well rounded educational experience? Or is it to guarantee demand for elitist academia who have absolutely no demand in terms of real market value.
Why is it then that people without a degree of state acceptance are so casually written off?
A friend of mine graduated SUNY Buffalo with an art degree. Don't hold it against him, he wasn’t awake. He was laid off from a state mandated archaeology job after the sequester took hold. What's even more interesting though is that his girlfriend, who is also an archaeologist has no legal chance of upward mobility because state and federal law demands that a project leader hold a masters in their field before they assume the position. Can we not see the parallels yet???
I read an article about public teachers unions. You know in many cases the unions demand that the state pay for masters degrees, and then demand that once they have a masters degree that they should be paid higher. And what makes matters worse is that in most cases the worker is no better off for having attained a masters degree except in his ability to shuffle his way through bureaucratic administrative tom-foolery. Certainly not in any meaningful way that enhanced his ability. I contend that the ability of those who used their degrees to actually produce wealth, had wealth to begin with.
If we look back at the advent of occupational trade licences, we see a remarkable parallel. Except where trade licences were limited to protecting one class of worker, this new brand of protectionism extends to the entire population. Our livelihood depends on a false sense of value based on state acceptance. One that caters to academia the way the Chinese system of the antiquity catered to the literate.
In today's workforce it is almost impossible to be hired based on your merit. Most of the accomplishments that are required of you are acquiescence to government demands. Ability plays no role, and it never would have if it weren't for the internet and computers.
Computers, Information, And a Free Market Solution
My father was born in Ireland in 1943. He had no running water or electricity. He moved to England after his father died to support his family when he was 13. He had a third grade education. After learning that you only get paid what you earn, he earned enough to buy a small plot of land. But that wasn't enough for him. He also learned that determining your own self worth through your productive capacity was an exciting incentive to shoot high. He moved to America when he was 29. Worked as an illegal immigrant for seven years, being paid by the job as a self-employed stonemason in New York City. 40 years later he is retired with 4 rental properties, a healthy portfolio, a beautiful home that he keeps very clean, and a loving wife and entrepreneur who still very willingly works two jobs, also without a college degree. Every cent that he earned, he did it because of a voluntary agreement between him and his clients. He has never worked for a union, and was almost thrown off a building on multiple occasions due to that fact.
This is the man who gave me my education. It was better and more valuable than any college experience I could have ever had. He was not afraid to enter the world and make his living in 1957. What have we done to our children that has them so overwhelmed with the prospect of entering society? As usual, its the over-inflated, bureaucratic, administrative burden that is the state.
Lew Rockwell said that government is terribly stupid and terribly slow. He wasn't wrong. Corporatism could never keep up with protecting themselves against the computer scientist, whether it be software engineer, or programmer. If you look at the successful entrepreneurs today, they are inevitably involved in some aspect of this industry. My guess is it’s because they were too productive for their ability to be condemned in a society that only recognized academia as authoritative. There was an honest race between rugged individualism and the collective when it comes to computers and the individual won. This should tell us something. State sponsored accreditation is the most evil and encompassing form of occupational protectionism there is. It is the state-controlled governing and authoritative body of your worth as a human being and citizen of American society. It must be done away with.
How to fix it? Stop recognizing it. Stop sending your kids to their schools, stop paying it the money it demands. But if we really want to end its monopoly of accreditation of worth, we need to look beyond a prospective employee's college resume. Information is abundant. Physics, Calculus, Chemistry, Industry. All available by the click of a mouse. Children are so innocent and overwhelmed by the enormity of the system that they don't realize that they can just pick and choose the information that will make them successful. Learn what they need now and the rest as they go along. Is a college graduate genuinely prepared for the real world? How many college students just attend because its the next step? Is it because that’s the only thing they have been taught by a system that serves to benefit from this brainwashing? Is it true that it is possible to truly succeed with just the help of those responsible for your upbringing?
Why do companies hire people with degrees? Maybe because they don't have any alternative. How many interviews do you think they conduct with people who demand to be seen even without a college degree? What way could someone prove that they are best suited for the job without one? Well, I imagine having a strong understanding of the field of work you are trying to enter into. References of companies with whom you’ve interned. Coming into the workforce from the ground up? It’s what most people with college degrees have to do, anyway. If you have the education and relationship with the group you want to work for, they have every incentive to hire you. Maybe private certification/accreditation based on performance exams? The fact remains that education being as accessible as it is, the market value of the college has gone down as the price has gone up.
Whatever the solution something needs to be done. The alternative is supporting an overinflated educational system. Paying to learn less than what is available to you for free, to exacerbate the exuberance of a class of academic elite that produce little or nothing (if they are even in the classroom as opposed to having an assistant cover for them). Creating another avenue for state indoctrination, and giving our children a false reality, in their personal value, the value of their education, and what a free and simple society can really look like. We need to recognize that for every student who submitted to the will of the state there is an intellectual equivalent who didn't have the money to sacrifice for the state approval. Merit, not state sponsored accreditation should be used to determine one’s value. If not, the state will continue to win.