Future Jobs

by Don Boudreaux on December 25, 2007

in Seen and Unseen, Standard of Living, The Economy, The Future, The Hollow Middle, Work

The following letter of mine is published in today’s edition of the New York Times:

To the Editor:

Bob Herbert quotes the observation by Andrew L. Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, that Americans today “cannot see where the jobs of the future are that will allow their kids to have a better life than they had.” Mr. Stern adds, “And they’re not wrong.”

But when could Americans of any generation foresee future jobs? Did the blacksmith in 1890 foresee jobs in the auto industry? Did the corner grocer in 1940 foresee his son prospering as a regional manager for Wal-Mart?

Did the telegram-deliverer in 1950 foresee his child designing software for cellphones? Did the local pharmacist in 1960 foresee his daughter’s job as a biomedical engineer?

Our inability today to see the details of the future is no more worrisome than was the same inability of our grandparents.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Fairfax, Va., Dec. 22, 2007
The writer is chairman of the economics department, George Mason University.

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{ 49 comments }

Per Kurowski December 25, 2007 at 11:55 am

Yeah, yeah and the “chairman of the economics department, George Mason University” is so certain about it this that he is willing to forego most of his current income and enter into a joint venture agreement with his students sharing the income that they will be able to generate in their very satisfactory future jobs.

John V December 25, 2007 at 12:00 pm

Merry Christmas, Dr. Bourdreaux.

Great Letter. SO simple and SO true. I like to think of this myopic attitude about jobs and economics that plagues even the most "astute intellectuals" as a spin off of Hayek's concept of "The Fatal Conceit".

The idea that we as people can pretend to think that we are somehow qualified to step in at any given time in history and pass judgment on the progress of socio-economic history is so arrogant and silly. It truly is a capricious "conceit".

If these people step back and place themselves at any moment in history while seeing the world through the knowledge of the people of the time and then apply their narrow-minded logic to human progress, they'd be wrong every time. From blacksmiths to candle makers to the people who tended to horses at periodic rest stops on long journeys, it's clear from our perspective that anyone at those times who predicted doom and lesser quality of life in light of changing economic and technological forces looks silly and is 100% dead wrong.

Somehow though, the present is always an exception to history for these people. Progress seems to stop as soon as they're paying attention…it would seem.

If the history of economic thought from biblical times to Smith and from Batsiat to the present tells us anything, it's that people never seem to learn and that economists and still trying to teach them.

Again, Happy Holidays, Dr. Boudreaux to you and your family.

Ken December 25, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Per Kurowski:

Your comment makes no sense. And likely Don is all ready doing something along the lines of "[forgoing] most of his current income and enter into a joint venture agreement with his students sharing the income that they will be able to generate in their very satisfactory future jobs." Although, it is not "most".

Anyone invested in the stock market is giving up current income in favor of future and expected larger returns. The idea that someone would give up "most of his current income" to save for the future is the rant of an idiot. Wake up. People live today, while planning for the future.

Me personally, I own a house, a car, furniture, etc. In a week, I'm taking a vacation. In addition to this I save a very large percentage of my paycheck (just under 20% of gross). Just because I believe that there are great returns to be had in the future is certainly no reason to give up more than 20% of my paycheck, which means giving up the comforts I have now.

While there is a long run, there is a short run and middle run. I don't need to be incredibly wealthy when I'm older, just wealthy enough. Especially, if this severely reduces my current quality of life.

In summary, get a clue.

-Ken

Wcwop December 25, 2007 at 3:59 pm

per has no point. It is simply the rant of a pessimist.

dave smith December 25, 2007 at 4:48 pm

Another vote for per making no sense.

George December 25, 2007 at 5:32 pm

Don,

This sentiment – about the future being worse for this generation than it was for us – is EXACTLY the kind of article I remember reading from 1978 to 1984 or so. Back then, after a really deep recession, many people thought that the ride was over for unionized America, and that all of the "good" jobs were heading to Japan.

This myopic view was forgotten. Today's graduates face the best prospects that humanity has ever been presented with. The world creates far more opportunities than at any time in history. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool – (I can't think of a nicer thing to say….)

George

Per Kurowski December 25, 2007 at 7:05 pm

Ok I am getting hit on the head by everyone even to the point of being accused of being a pessimist. In case there is not just collegial solidarity going around (nothing wrong with that) allow me try to express my point a little bit more clear.

If for instance Don Boudreaux was forced to invest let us say about 30% of his earned salaries into securities that will receive for instance .1% of his students future earnings during their first 15 years of work then, instead of just saying that future will take care of everything and decent jobs will always be around, he would be much more concentrated in making that really happening. This is just about correct economic signaling; something that I presume Don teaches his students daily.

Why should our professors be able to diversify into stocks when what they really should be creating is joint ventures with their students? The students invest their precious time (and parent’s or borrowed funds) to see a return in the long run while the professors get all cash upfront…does that seem just?

Concerned Student December 25, 2007 at 7:29 pm

Per, in case you haven't paid attention to the job market over the last 15 years, especially for finance, business, and economics, you can trust that Don's students 5-10 years out of school probably make a good deal more than he's making right now. In top law and business schools, students make more their first year out than their professors do. That, and most people smart enough to be professors don't do it for the money. And lest we forget, most professors already did their time in school, lots of it in fact.

Per Kurowski December 25, 2007 at 8:03 pm

Concerned Student giving an apple to his teacher says “In top law and business schools, students make more their first year out than their professors do.”

If so why should the professors not be able to sign up contracts like baseball players… or would that perhaps tempt them into using intellectual steroids?

Python December 26, 2007 at 1:10 am

Per,

Merry Christmas and all, but I gotta give you a D- for your 3 posts on this topic – incomprehensible point, no substance even during a 2nd chance, and a lot of attitude.

Better luck in '08.

muirgeo December 26, 2007 at 1:33 am

I think I understand what Per was trying to say. Is a tenured professor of economics view of middle class America's economic future as reliable as those people actually living in the middle class?

Or are the middle class people responding to the poll unreasonable in their dreary outlook? Should those holding foreclosure notices on their houses just agree with the professor that things always get better? Or should they consider the circumstances that shoveled untold amounts of the prosperity pie upward and out of their reach an issue they should consider when they go to the polls next year?

Should those feeling the pinch of rising prices, cuts in benefits and increased family working hours side with the professor and agree to more of the same?

In October of 1929 I'm sure there were well to do professors pushing a similar message….. but things were much better in the 1950's NOT because those people listened to such messages and asked for more of the same. Instead the cold reality of the world told them the facts and they voted for change.

In 1950 such pessimism was not as common. In fact in the 1930's some professors were indeed the ones on the side of gloomy pessimism concerned with the policies being pushed that eventually led to the workers optimism of the 1950's.

Russell Nelson December 26, 2007 at 1:41 am

It's strange how the idiots understand each other.

The Dirty Mac December 26, 2007 at 2:04 am

"Should those feeling the pinch of rising prices, cuts in benefits and increased family working hours side with the professor and agree to more of the same?"

No, they should embrace the ideology that enslaved and impoverished several hundred million people and makes most of Africa what it is today.

tiger December 26, 2007 at 6:12 am

This is the same liberal NYT nonsense whether its Hebert, Krugman, or whoever. Here goes: "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!". No it's not……

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 7:11 am

Hey we are in Christmas and time of cheers and so do not take everything overly serious…. Nonetheless:

1. I am currently recommending my young friends when they take off for their MBA that they offer a couple of basis points on their first 10 years earnings to those teachers they feel could best advance their careers…it could make wonders!

2. Hearing so many young professionals in the USA describing their problems with debts they incurred while studying, I guess that soon some of them could be suing their Alma Maters for misrepresentation or plain failure in delivering the results implied in their offer.

3. Don asks: But when could Americans of any generation foresee future jobs? Since things started moving…never! But, honestly, that does not make any less relevant the… “that Americans today cannot see where the jobs of the future are that will allow their kids to have a better life than they had.” Look around, less than a year ago most financial professionals and professors thought they had been able to get rid of risk and now just look at the many unknowns and black swans multiplying. When in early spring 2008 we start reading of some endowment and pension funds having lost it all, then perhaps life might not be that rosy even for a tenured professor.

Randy December 26, 2007 at 7:26 am

Muirgeo,

"Should those feeling the pinch of rising prices, cuts in benefits and increased family working hours side with the professor and agree to more of the same?"

Its a reasonable question, but the answer is yes. In a dynamic economy there will always be some who are forced to adapt to change when they would rather not, but voting for a stagnant economy is still a bad idea. A stagnant economy destroys far more opportunities than it preserves.

muirgeo December 26, 2007 at 8:30 am

Here again Randy I believe they do see their current economy as stagnant. Sure the over all economy has been "good" but that only is the case when the top 5% are included in the numerator.

Your claim they will be voting for stagnation is not objective as in their minds I think they see stagnation with the present system and will be requesting change.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 9:08 am

Danny says: “In a dynamic economy there will always be some who are forced to adapt to change when they would rather not, but voting for a stagnant economy is still a bad idea. A stagnant economy destroys far more opportunities than it preserves.”

You are absolutely right, but there might still be some very good reasons to look around and establish what kind if dynamism is really at work.

For instance, most of the growth, as indicated by the larger share that the remuneration of capital is getting in the world GDP, when compared to labor, might be those thousands of small monopolies we have so generously created by handing out intellectual property rights without worrying about who is going to pay for the enforcement of those rights and of putting some limits on their exploitation. If that is the only source of dynamism then perhaps we need to rethink dynamism.

Randy December 26, 2007 at 9:44 am

Muirgeo,

I agree that the economy is more stagnant than it should be, primarily due to politically motivated tax policies and regulations that have the unintended (intended?) consequence of restricting small business and protecting the interests of the political class. It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that the proposed solutions from the political class tend to be more more of the same – actions to protect the interests of the political class which will almost certainly result in still further stagnation.

Per Kurowski,

First, let me go on record as saying that I am absolutely in favor of income inequality. The reason I say that is because it is my belief that we are living in a luxury economy. That is, only a very few of us produce necessities while the vast majority of us produce luxuries. Further, the vast majority of future economic growth will be in luxuries. As the growth in luxuries is driven by those with considerable wealth, new jobs creating luxuries will also be driven by those with considerable wealth. Do I feel bad about those who are relatively speaking being left in the dust? Not even a little bit. They are far better off in a luxury economy than they would be in any other environment.

As for intellectual property rights, I'm generally in favor of protecting them, though I think its going to be harder and harder to do given the free flow of information in the modern world.

vidyohs December 26, 2007 at 10:10 am

No, it isn't strange to see how two like muirduck and Per Kurowski understand each other, it is to be expected from the instant you identify them as socialist evangelicals, which about three words into their ramblings.

In fact that the two are here posting together proves the unpredictability of future events.

To me it's like watching two weaner pups playing together. They'll bump each other, wrestle a little, maybe play bite, and inevitably one or both will chase its own tail. And, they come away from it feeling like big dogs, ready to get off the porch and run with the pack.

For instance I was convinced that there isn't room in a village for but one village idiot, who knew that a muirduck and a Per Kurowski would pop up in the same village. So, you see even the presence of village idiots can't be predicted, you never know when another will pop up.

But, rest assured as long as intelligent people gather to talk, a village idiot will show up.

For proof of the accuracy of my post, go back to the top and read Don's comment again, then scroll down and read only Per Kurowski and muirduck.

Per Kurowski jumps in, takes an immediate hard left turn, and creates scenarios and asks questions that in no way question or deny the truth or wisdom of what Don said.

Then he tries, but fails, to successfully address his own foolishness.

As reliably as the sun comes up, muirduck then tries to support the hard left turn with more of his left turning, and what Don wrote has become totally obscured by their collective idiocy.

Where will the next joke turn up on this blog? Like future jobs, we don't know and can't predict.

The one thing we do know and can predict is that our socialist trolls will provide that joke.

vidyohs December 26, 2007 at 10:30 am

"I agree that the economy is more stagnant than it should be,"

Wow, now there is a man with infinite wisdom, to make such a statement!

It is obvious that if one has the wisdom to know when an economy is more or less stagnant than it should be…..oh hell, even that an economy is stagnant in the first place, then one will also be able to predict future jobs and the job market.

Think we can decide if water is more or less wet than it should be?

Is air more or less visible than it should be?

Is soil more or less dirt than it should be?

Is ice more or less cold than it should be?

Do we have to much or to little economy?

Do people make more or less money than they should?

Only socialist fools (idiots) believe that those questions can be answered and that their religion has the answers.

Randy December 26, 2007 at 10:44 am

You're quoting me out of context, Vidyohs. I'll let it pass – unless you truly believe that excessive taxes and regulations do not result in stagnation – if that is your belief, then please explain.

Bruce December 26, 2007 at 11:11 am

There's an old saying that if Thomas Edison had attended Harvard Business School he would have invented larger candles. There's a lot of truth to that as most of us can only see the direction in which we are currently heading and project further down that same path. There are a few people however, Thomas Edison and Bill Gates are good examples, who see paths that aren't yet clear to the rest of us.

So, it seems to me that there are always a select few who can see the great jobs of the future and the industries that will create them…..they are generally called billionaires. If this ability was one that we all possessed it wouldn't be rewarded nearly as well.

John Dewey December 26, 2007 at 11:17 am

per kurowski: " so certain about it this that he is willing to forego most of his current income and enter into a joint venture agreement with his students"

So what is wrong with GMU offerring a service for a price, and students (or their parents) deciding whether to purchase that service? Professor Boudreaux and GMU take the risk that no one will opt to buy their service. One has invested a lifetime acquiring the knowledge and skill necessary to impart knowledge. The other has invested in the infrastructure required to make this happen.

The students (and their parents) take the risk that the service will provide the benefit they seek. That benefit may be enhanced future income or more desirable working conditions or maybe even just knowledge needed to participate in a representative democracy.

Is this not how the free market works? Or is it the free market that you so much object to?

John Dewey December 26, 2007 at 11:26 am

"Per Kurowski: If for instance Don Boudreaux was forced to invest let us say about 30% of his earned salaries into securities that will receive for instance .1% of his students future earnings during their first 15 years of work"

Such a socialist idea to propose!

Professor Boudreaux is entitled to every bit of the salary (after taxes) he has negotiated with GMU. He should be free to do with it as he pleases.

The students are entitled to every bit of the future after-tax salary they earn regardless of which factors – education, work ethic, good career decisions, or luck – most contributed to their success. By the time they leave GMU, Professor Boudreaux will have already been compensated for the service he provided them.

Your proposal is so clearly socialist it just leaves me saddened. Please assure me that you have no right to vote in my nation, the U.S.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 11:38 am

vidyohs says: “Per Kurowski… from the instant you identify them as socialist evangelicals, which about three words into their ramblings.”

What? That a professor should have more of his income based on his real final ex post productivity than his ability of getting ex-ante tenure? Is this socialism? I think it is a truer capitalism.

What? That we should not create so many intellectual property rights monopolies without being able to regulate them? Is this socialism? I think it is a truer capitalism.

I confess, I did not study in the USA and so I might be a bit confused…what do you mean with socialism over here?

vidyohs says: Do we have to much or to little economy? Only socialist fools (idiots) believe that those questions can be answered and that their religion has the answers.

Ah, then you would at least agree with me that appointing the credit rating agencies to answer “Do we have too much or too little risk? instead of allowing the markets to work free is socialism… bordering on central planning communism.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 11:45 am

John Dewey says “Your proposal is so clearly socialist it just leaves me saddened. Please assure me that you have no right to vote in my nation, the U.S.”

Don’t worry I do not have the right to vote in your nation. But tell me… I am currently recommending my young friends when they take off for their MBA that they offer a couple of basis points on their first 10 years earnings to those teachers they feel could best advance their careers…it makes wonders! What on earth is socialist about that?

vidyohs December 26, 2007 at 11:59 am

Randy,
I know I was, I think you wrote that line in a moment of carelessness due to being dragged into a discussion of irrelevance by the village idiots.

Stagnation is death. Think of a pond that has become stagnant.

You don't revitalize it by dumping "some" fresh water in. That fresh water would simply lose its vitality and become like the rest. A stagnation pond can only be revitalized by completely flushing it out with fresh water than circulates into and out of the pond in some fashion.

Who decides when there is too much or too little death, seems to me to be a irrelevant argument but you're getting drawn into it.

I will agree that it is obvious that excessive taxes and regulations can dimish the vitality of an economy or markets to the point of stagnation, but we haven't ever hit that point yet in this country, nor will we. All socialist babbling to the contrary can be dismissed as religious propaganda.

I meant no insult to you, you just gave me a convenient hook to hang a point on. Thank you.

vidyohs December 26, 2007 at 12:09 pm

Per Kurowskiduck,

This was your first post. It had absolutely zero to do with the point of Don's post (this is the hard left turn I pointed out that you made). And, the content rambles on in meaningless gobble-de-gook common of the socialist evangelical. Frankly it is a comment of incredible stupidity considering the post of Don's that prompted you to regurgitate this garbage.

"Yeah, yeah and the “chairman of the economics department, George Mason University” is so certain about it this that he is willing to forego most of his current income and enter into a joint venture agreement with his students sharing the income that they will be able to generate in their very satisfactory future jobs.
Posted by: Per Kurowski | Dec 25, 2007 11:55:17 AM"

The fact that muirduck saw a point to it just simply puts the socialist stamp of approval on it…….no better way to gauge a comments philosophical content than to have muirduck agree, it's socialist.

Randy December 26, 2007 at 12:14 pm

Fair enough. Stagnant was a poor choice of words. Restricted is more what I had in mind.

vidyohs December 26, 2007 at 12:16 pm

Per Kurowskiduck,

WTF does this quote from you have to do with Don's post about the predictability of future jobs, his examples, or the misplaced belief by a socialist idiot that it can be done? This is just rambling idiocy that you created, not Don.

"What? That a professor should have more of his income based on his real final ex post productivity than his ability of getting ex-ante tenure? Is this socialism? I think it is a truer capitalism.

What? That we should not create so many intellectual property rights monopolies without being able to regulate them? Is this socialism? I think it is a truer capitalism.

I confess, I did not study in the USA and so I might be a bit confused…what do you mean with socialism over here?
Posted by: Per Kurowski | Dec 26, 2007 11:38:25 AM"

"I might be a bit confused"

No you are a lot confused, and pointless as well. Just like muirduck's famous declaration in a past post, "I am always confused", hey mate, we already had that figured out.

scott clark December 26, 2007 at 12:24 pm

Per Kurowski:

You write, "Ah, then you would at least agree with me that appointing the credit rating agencies to answer “Do we have too much or too little risk?. . . "

I think this severly misrepresents the role of the rating agency. They are not answering a question about is this too much, or not enough, they are just trying to answer how much risk (volitility around the expected return) is in a particular company or a particular security issued. A portfolio manager's job is to take those ratings, and certainly to apply their own in-house credit testing procedures, and determine if their mix of secuiries holdings presents too much or too little risk given the expected returns. For instance, if my stragtegy was just to hold AAA rated bonds, that would still not answer the question of whether this is too much or too little risk. And I could (actually, I am) always be skeptical about if Moody's, S&P, and/or Fitch have it right.

Bottom line, IMHO, that comment is too distorted to support or refute any other point of view. Ratings agencies aren't appointed in any central planning sense, they emerged as the market winners in a long game dating back to the 1880s, and they are not the final word on risk management in any way, shape, or form.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 12:52 pm

vidyohs says: “your first post. It had absolutely zero to do with the point of Don's post”

What did Don say?… “that our inability today to see the details of the future is no more worrisome than was the same inability of our grandparents” To which I, in true capitalist fashion, and I believe quite relevant, commented “that he should put some money on it”, just the same way we now would have liked our brokers having postponed some of their last year’s big commissions and that they charged us upfront on those same investments that are now going down the tubes.

vidyohs says: "The fact that muirduck saw a point to it just simply puts the socialist stamp of approval on it…….no better way to gauge a comments philosophical content than to have muirduck agree, it's socialist."

Oh boy! No need to say anymore.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 12:53 pm

scott clark says: “Ratings agencies aren't appointed in any central planning sense, they emerged as the market winners in a long game dating back to the 1880s, and they are not the final word on risk management in any way, shape, or form.”

Sorry to disappoint you. The minimum capital requirements that came out of the Basel Accord in 1988 of which the USA is signatory and that was initially implemented as Basel I uses the credit rating agencies to gauge the risk and decide how much capital each bank should have. That is why the banks that are now getting stuck with a lot of subprime mortgage backed instruments and that was previously rated as prime but that have now been discovered to be faulty, are running around like crazy after new capital to shore up their balances with. Like for instance Citibank selling $7.5 Billion of Equity Units to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

John V December 26, 2007 at 1:21 pm

Kurowski,

This tangent that has developed really takes away from the original point of the thread.

One little telling sliver of info is in this quote from you:

What did Don say?… “that our inability today to see the details of the future is no more worrisome than was the same inability of our grandparents” To which I, in true capitalist fashion, and I believe quite relevant, commented “that he should put some money on it”,

No. It's not relevant at all. Many people throughout history always believe that the economy is going to hell in a hand basket and that the best days are behind us and that things are getting worse and so on.

Don's point is simple and clear. Please refer to my first post (the 2nd one in the thread). Jobs always evolve, needs always evolve, the economy always grows and the pool of wealth is always increasing. The fact that we cannot always clearly perceive this progress in real time is irrelevant. It's a fact and it's always happening. Economic nay sayers who feel somehow able to say otherwise are simply wrong. Nobody can clearly or specifically see where economic forces are taking us in terms of certain jobs and growing fields but it always forward.

Go ahead and reread your stuff. You say nothing to show otherwise.

John Dewey December 26, 2007 at 1:25 pm

Per Kurowski: "If for instance Don Boudreaux was forced to invest let us say about 30% of his earned salaries into securities that will receive for instance .1% of his students future earnings"

That's the part I described as socialist. It meets the common definition:

"socialism – a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation"

Per Kurowski: "I am currently recommending my young friends when they take off for their MBA that they offer a couple of basis points on their first 10 years earnings to those teachers they feel could best advance their careers"

If you had given me that recommendation when I entered MBA school, I would have politely said "Thank you for the advice". But I would have laughed my ass off after you left. My Wharton professors provided a decent education, and they were paid well for it. It was my efforts, not theirs, that determined my income after graduation.

scott clark December 26, 2007 at 1:46 pm

Per Kurowski,

Ratings agencies are certainly given lots of respect, their opinions carry a lot of weight with a lot of folks, including setting minimum capital requirements and what securities pension funds can hold under ERISA (and, of course, the ratings agency is not going to activily campaign to dissade anyone from thinking that way). Banks are very, very heavily regulated by state governments, the federal government, and even international bodies, as you point out, which is problematic in its own right, but I just don't think that it holds that from ratings agencies we get central planning, which I believe was the leap you were making with the last paragraph of your post on an already threadjacked comments section.

And just because there are minimum capital requirements doesn't mean everybody races to straddle that line, lots of banks with presigious reputations and long, storied histories will do what they can to stay well above that line in terms of capital, will in fact trade on the strengh of their capitalization, some will take more risks due to competitive pressures or for other reasons and then fall below that line and face increased scrutiny from their regulatory authorities and from their shareholders, depositors, and bondholders. The agreement may have set an anchor point around which bank managers set their target balance sheet position, but you can't blame ratings agencies (a vital part of a fluid, effcient, and well-functioning financial market) for bad, bureaucratic governments, the true source of putting us on the grim, forced march to socialism.

That's why i said you misrepresented the role of the ratings agencies, and that the post was distorted. There was too much shorthand inferences, too much context left out, to support or refute any points of view.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 1:58 pm

Scott Clark. I see that you are much aware of the problem. The reason why I make the connection between the use of credit rating agencies and the central planners is just because the sole concept of thinking that you can estimate and control risk in a dynamic environment and that you could appoint some operators to do that and expect them to duly isolate themselves and behave objectively over the long run, is exactly the sort of thought that could only have been born in the typical central planner’s mind. I and a few others have had an issue with this for many years now, warning that it could only lead to the creation of dangerous systemic risks… and unfortunately it seems that we were not wrong.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 2:03 pm

John Dewey says: “My Wharton professors provided a decent education, and they were paid well for it. It was my efforts, not theirs, that determined my income after graduation”

So if you by this mean that you do not believe in individual incentives may I humbly ask…who is the socialist here?

vidyohs December 26, 2007 at 2:07 pm

Per Kurowskiduck,

Like muirduck you try to slip and slide around what you said to try and make it into something else.

Your first post had NAFT to do with the predictablility of furture jobs, or whether it is something to even worrry about.

You made that hard left turn into a question of whether Don would like to forego his income and invest with his students in joint ventures and share income, at least that is near as I can make out your incoherent ramblings

Again WTF did that have to do with predictability or unpredictability of future jobs, or a worrisome nature of such attempts.

Nothing, it was and is total irrelevancy. Just meaningless words to convince yourself that you know something.

Like muirduck, even acknowledging you is a waste of time, the pair of you should start your own blog and share your blather with others of your ilk.

vidyohs December 26, 2007 at 2:14 pm

John Dewey,
You read something like the below and you begin to get a glimmer of understanding why (even though we consider our education system as slipping) the USA still leads the world in individual productivity.

"John Dewey says: “My Wharton professors provided a decent education, and they were paid well for it. It was my efforts, not theirs, that determined my income after graduation”
So if you by this mean that you do not believe in individual incentives may I humbly ask…who is the socialist here?
Posted by: Per Kurowski | Dec 26, 2007 2:03:54 PM"

Only a complete fool could take the first paragraph in that quote and then come up with the second paragraph as a response. Fortunately he seems to be a foreign fool, a good thing I might add.

David December 26, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Memo to Andy Stern:

There will always be a market for unskilled people to clean offices and hotel rooms (i.e., your membership).

There will always be opportunities for demagogues to make a living via union dues decrying the status of said unskilled people (i.e., you).

Fear not!!

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 2:22 pm

John V says: “Nobody can clearly or specifically see where economic forces are taking us in terms of certain jobs and growing fields but it always forward…. Go ahead and reread your stuff. You say nothing to show otherwise.”

Of course you won’t find anything of that since as I never said that. The only point I was making was that it could be a good incentive for professors to perform better and work even harder than they are now working, if there was a direct linkage between them and their student’s future income.

By the way this whole idea, under the term of “Human Capital Contracts" was I believe first advanced by Milton Friedman in 1954… not your typical socialist eh?

John Dewey December 26, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Per Kurowski: "So if you by this mean that you do not believe in individual incentives may I humbly ask…who is the socialist here?"

What on earth are you talking about? Where in any of my posts do I state or even imply that I do not believe in individual incentives? Nowhere.

What sort of ego do you have? Just because I think your proposal makes no sense does not mean I think every incentive proposal is worthless.

John Dewey December 26, 2007 at 2:58 pm

Per Kurowski: "By the way this whole idea, under the term of “Human Capital Contracts" was I believe first advanced by Milton Friedman in 1954… not your typical socialist eh?"

Did Milton Friedman advocate that a professor be "forced to invest let us say about 30% of his earned salaries"? It's the word "forced" that turns a free market proposal into a socialist one.

If a private university wishes to make such a contract with its students, I have no objection. I wouldn't attend that university if the contract were required.

I know that my income was almost totally determined by my own efforts – not by the education I received as an MBA. Further, the education I earned was the result of not just my professor's efforts, but mostly of my own.

My elite business school credentials gave me a foot in the door. The alumni network – which has nothing to do with the professors – helped somewhat along the way. But any success I achieved was my success, and I am the one who will be rewarded for it.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 2:58 pm

John Dewey. When you said “My Wharton professors provided a decent education, and they were paid well for it. It was my efforts, not theirs, that determined my income after graduation” I thought you implied that any special incentives for your professors would not have meant anything… and I sort of extrapolated it from there. I must have read it all wrong…sorry.

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 3:03 pm

John Dewey. “It's the word "forced" that turns a free market proposal into a socialist one.”

Ok! Wrong word, but I meant it the same way some executives are forced to take a part of their compensation by ways of a performance bonus.

John Dewey December 26, 2007 at 3:18 pm

Per Kurowski: "I thought you implied that any special incentives for your professors would not have meant anything"

I did mean exactly that.

Per, the incentives for an MBA program to provide quality education are already in place. Harvard and Stanford and Wharton and other elite schools will command higher tuitions than other programs in the future. Why? Because their current graduates receive higher starting salaries and better opportunities. But there is no need for payback rewards. Those elite school professors – and the elite schools themselves – were rewarded upfront when the higher tuitions were paid.

IMO, your proposal – to reward the elite professors for their students' post-graduation earnings – is wrong because the professors had nothing to do with any increases beyond initial starting salaries. But the main flaw in your proposal lies with the word "forced".

Per Kurowski December 26, 2007 at 3:34 pm

John Dewey says “the incentives … to provide quality education are already in place… elite schools will command higher tuitions than other programs in the future… current graduates receive higher starting salaries and better opportunities. But there is no need for payback rewards. Those elite school professors – and the elite schools themselves – were rewarded upfront when the higher tuitions were paid.”

And so what you are describing here is in fact an opportunity for other universities to develop an alternative model for competing with the elite schools. If I was a student or a parent financing a student I would think it would be quite interesting to hear some offers from universities and professors that were confident enough to collect an important part of their incentives through a percentage on what the student earns in the future over some minimum levels and over a definitive period of time.

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