It does take a certain skill to pack so much bad thinking in such a short space. Let’s start with the unexamined assumptions: debt is useful and necessary to enter or maintain a place in the middle class. That’s clearly backwards. A college education is typically seen as the most reliable way to assure a middle class lifestyle, although that is now very questionable (due both to high young adult unemployment rates and a proliferation of colleges, particularly for profit colleges, where the value of the degree even in better economic times is open to question). The price of college education, even for schools and degrees that even recently had some career potential, has escalated so much that most students have to borrow to finance their education, yet even when graduates do land jobs, it isn’t clear that the payoff is there. But it is really astonishing to see someone attempt this formulation: debt in college is conducive to joining the middle class.
Then we have the unproven assumption that enhancing self esteem is a good thing. This is the mythology underlying parenting norms of the last two decades and all it seems to have accomplished is increasing narcissism in the younger generation. Why do young people need more “social psychological resources” if they function adequately? As I’ve indicated in past posts, Goldman and McKinsey, and I imagine most elite firms recruit for insecure people (McKinsey was quite explicit about it). They are more easily controlled. So higher self esteem may in fact make young people less rather than more attractive in the job market.
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