Hour 3 - Bryan Caplan (Professor; Author) on The Case Against Education: Why the Education System in a Waste of Time and Money
Professor of Economics; Author of The Case Against Education: Why the Education System in a Waste of Time and Money
I'm Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics at George Mason University and blogger for EconLog. I am the author of The Myth of the Rational Voter, named "the best political book of the year" by the New York Times, Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, and The Case Against Education. I am currently colloborating with Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's Zach Weinersmith on All Roads Lead to Open Borders, a non-fiction graphic novel on the philosophy and social science of immigration, and writing a new book, Poverty: Who To Blame. I've published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, American Economic Review, Economic Journal, Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and appeared on ABC, Fox News, MSNBC, and C-SPAN. An openly nerdy man who loves role-playing games and graphic novels, I live in Oakton, Virginia, with my wife and four kids.
Available at http://www.bcaplan.com/
About The Case Against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money
Why we need to stop wasting public funds on education
Despite being immensely popular--and immensely lucrative?education is grossly overrated. In this explosive book, Bryan Caplan argues that the primary function of education is not to enhance students' skill but to certify their intelligence, work ethic, and conformity?in other words, to signal the qualities of a good employee. Learn why students hunt for easy As and casually forget most of what they learn after the final exam, why decades of growing access to education have not resulted in better jobs for the average worker but instead in runaway credential inflation, how employers reward workers for costly schooling they rarely if ever use, and why cutting education spending is the best remedy.
Caplan draws on the latest social science to show how the labor market values grades over knowledge, and why the more education your rivals have, the more you need to impress employers. He explains why graduation is our society's top conformity signal, and why even the most useless degrees can certify employability. He advocates two major policy responses. The first is educational austerity. Government needs to sharply cut education funding to curb this wasteful rat race. The second is more vocational education, because practical skills are more socially valuable than teaching students how to outshine their peers.
Romantic notions about education being "good for the soul" must yield to careful research and common sense?The Case against Education points the way.
References talked about on the show...
The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey
Modern states commonly deploy coercion in a wide array of circumstances in which the resort to force would clearly be wrong for any private agent. What entitles the state to behave in this manner? And why should citizens obey its commands? This book examines theories of political authority, from the social contract theory, to theories of democratic authorization, to fairness- and consequence-based theories. Ultimately, no theory of authority succeeds, and thus no government has the kind of authority often ascribed to governments.
The author goes on to discuss how voluntary and competitive institutions could provide the central goods for the sake of which the state is often deemed necessary, including law, protection from private criminals, and national security. An orderly and livable society thus does not require acquiescence in the illusion of political authority.