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Re: <nettime> conjunctural analysis
John Hopkins on Sat, 22 Feb 2014 05:09:15 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> conjunctural analysis

On 19/Feb/14 21:38, dan {AT} geer.org wrote:

Tangentially related, this is a rundown of student economics as measured
by lifetime ROI for the price of tuition (in the US):

Hi Dan --

thanks for bringing this data up tangentially...

but these numbers are verging on fantasy -- I know for my alma mater(s) the actual/(even potential) salary data for alumni 10-20-30 years out is extremely scarce -- to the point of being statistically very suspect. Those few who are actually tracked as alumni (who participate in alumni associations and such) are likely to be a more conservative, stable, and perhaps a more 'standard' population group. The kind of people who do their (socially proscribed) job to get the social rewards of that conservatism. And there is no hint of the other market forces (like the rapid contraction of the aerospace sector that liquidated tens of thousands of mid-to-late career engineers in the 1970s, and in the case of my engineering sector, the extractives industry, which has seen huge fluctuations in employment scenarios over the last 30+ years since I graduated with my degree). And who knows what the future holds? (College kids *DO* know -- unemployment!) Of course, some very very general fuzzy trends might be picked up from the data table, but I would say that in reality one standard deviation in the numbers could easily +/- 75% of these median values.

Experientially accumulated knowledge-sets -- including learning that is socially or personally relevant (itself a hugely subjective question), learning that increases the survivability of the individual (or the survivability of the species or of the planet), learning that brings personal satisfaction -- are certainly sets that seldom fully coincide.

I'm convinced that this statistics set is yet another belated and desperate effort to convince a population that a certain (college) knowledge set is relevant. I know that many of us who have experience inside this knowledge-generation system have come to the sad conclusion that large swaths of it are completely irrelevant. It also stands as yet another chunk of data that, in the end, emphasizes the complete poverty of ideas that has overcome the contemporary techno-social system -- where the market is the sole remaining metric of ... everything ...

I have had this discussion with my college-aged son, I must admit, telling him he should get a degree (even using the economic argument!), but for his generation, data-sets like this represent perhaps just another lie being foisted on them by a system in near complete moral and fiscal exhaustion.

Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
photographer, media artist, archivist

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