Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > Universities in USA and Anglosphere Have Dismal Future Prospects: 1

Universities in USA and Anglosphere Have Dismal Future Prospects: 1

One of the most interesting tweets I came across in the past few months can be summarized as follows.. the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than causing any new problems, merely exposed the severe underlying rot and many vulnerabilities already present in the system. And this brings me to the one sector the economy which it exposed in a most unforgiving manner. As many of you know, my opinion of the education system (both K-12 and university) is less than flattering.. to put it mildly. While this might seem a bit off for somebody with a MSc and PhD, I prefer to live in the real world- even if it is not as bright and shiny as I would prefer.

With that in mind, let us talk about the dismal future of universities in this country and rest of anglosphere. Some of you might have recently come across an article about the percentage of men enrolled in universities steadily going down over the past decade. While feminazis and the alphabet people might celebrate this as a victory in the fight against “cis-male patriarchy”, real life factors behind this trend are much more worrying. For starters, this trend is far more pronounced for white men than non-white men. But why is that a bad thing? For starters, the decision to not attend university in this group is voluntary and driven by cost-benefit analysis rather than being unable to do so.

Anyone who can fog a mirror in this country can also get a large but non-dischargeable student loan. Standards for admission and staying in university are also much lower than at any time in recent decades. There are those who blame this trend on colleges putting as many non-white faces as they can find in their advertising brochures to reaffirm their fealty to “diversity”. While this could have a very minor effect, it does not explain why the trend in declining male enrollment picked and accelerated a full decade after such advertising became the norm. Other claim that this has a lot to do with anti-male environment in universities. Perhaps.. but then, universities have never been full of especially masculine men.

In my opinion, the accelerating fall in male enrollment in universities is largely due to an honest cost-benefit analysis, especially in a rapidly deindustrializing country. And the most important factor behind the cost part of that analysis is the “business model” of universities in this country and rest of anglosphere. To understand what I am getting at, let me ask you a simple question- why hasn’t total university enrollment in other developed countries with noticeably older populations (Germany, Japan, France etc) merely plateaued rather than fallen like in this country? This becomes even more glaring when you realize that universities in this country and rest of anglosphere are very busy recruiting students with rich parents from countries such as China, India etc.

In fact, without foreign students, many American universities would have to cut back much further and layoff far more people than they have to date. There are those who blame this on “demographic trends”- specifically that the kids of baby boomers have finished university by 2010 and the generation after them has noticeably fewer kids in addition to be less numerous themselves. However, as I just pointed out- even countries whose total population is shrinking have not seen the same fall in university enrollment as USA. And it is not just this country as others such as UK and Canada also have either stagnant numbers or extremely anemic growth in spite of aggressive recruiting of overseas students.

So what is the fundamental problem with the “business model” of universities in USA and anglosphere? Well.. the model is based on the institution being profitable rather than producing anything which benefits the surrounding society. That is why American universities are full of showy (and often ugly) new buildings and facilities which are curiously understaffed. And the problems go much deeper.. the vast majority of courses are taught by temporary faculty paid near poverty wages while there is never a shortage of openings for highly-paid and useless administrative positions. My point is that universities run under this neoliberal “business model” became credentialing rackets- which sorta worked until the scrap of paper they sold could no longer provide a positive return for their marks.. I mean.. students.

The post-WW2 continuous expansion model which is the underlying organizational principle for universities in this country and rest of anglosphere also contributed to this problem, but did not cause it, since other developed countries which increased university enrollment after WW2 do not face the same problem- at least in the severe form we see in this country. While many universities are pretending that this problem can be fixed by more foreign students or more temporary academic staff it is my opinion that this problem with unfixable because the American university is now nothing more than a credentialing scam run by greedy and incompetent administrators with a very short-term focus.

In the next part of this short series, I will go into how other self-inflicted injuries such as SJW-ism, HR-ism and COVID-19 restrictions have further accelerated the richly deserved ongoing demise of universities in this country and rest of anglosphere.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. bonzo
    September 27, 2021 at 3:36 am

    Nothing wrong with credentials per se. Standardized and objective testing and certification are very useful to employers and job seekers alike. The problem is that universities are not providing useful certifications. Compare an industry or military certification that someone has demonstrated level X welding skills or whatever, versus a bachelor’s degree in psychology or business. The latter is mostly proof that the person is able and willing to be an obedient sheep for years on end. There is demand for such people as obedient employees, so the certification is worth something, but its not worth more than a simple job history. And yet someone working minimum wage to acquire such a job history gets paid for their “certification” , whereas college graduate pays dearly for theirs. That is unsustainable.

    I would expect a lot of higher education to become more vocational in years to come. There’s no reason universities can’t teach blue collar skills like welding, then provide a valuable certification to those who successfully complete the course and final test. Currently, blue collar skills are mostly taught by apprenticeship, by self teaching, by the military, and by for-profit educational institutions. Lots of white men not currently interested in higher education would be interested if useful skills and certifications were taught/offered.

    • doldrom
      September 27, 2021 at 11:30 am

      You neglected to mention one of the most important challenges to institutions of higher learning: technology. In-class learning is not particularly effective, and the internet allows you to attend lectures or do modules from the global best. The only thing missing is social interaction, but for the most part that is true of the current educational scene too (I don’t mean Spring break).
      Interaction with fellow students/tutors/teachers in similar programs could well be organized semi-locally in a completely different way. Only the self-serving interests of the current institutions (most of which are second or third rate anyway) is standing in the way of a new model for getting up to speed in many fields in a superior and more efficient way.

    • doldrom
      September 27, 2021 at 11:31 am

      Welding? At the university?
      This shows how far academic institutions have drifted from their moorings.
      Many programs such as MBA’s or commerce, Education, and others (?Law) that are tailored to practical applications belong in some other institution for higher learning. The academy was always dedicated to scholarship where the students were supposed to rub shoulders with research scholars and scientists. Many of the disciplines are not suited to the employment market. The general academic level and standards of the student body has been dropping precipitously since the sixties when they opened the gates to everybody. The notion that a university degree is you entry pass to better jobs is also ridiculous. There should be far more specialized technical, vocational, and career oriented schools which enforce relevant practical and theoretical credentials in a mix of proficiency, training, and learning. Elitists looking down on such institutions from their 19th liberal college prejudices are irrelevant to anything functional in modern society, except for the always present status game (only for the wealthy).

  2. arjun
    September 27, 2021 at 9:26 am

    if Biden doesn’t discharge student loans, AD will have a near endless supply of 20 somethings willing to touch his pee pee to pay for their indentured servitude, err, education…

    I fail to see the downside of that scenario- for me.

  3. doldrom
    September 27, 2021 at 11:30 am

    You neglected to mention one of the most important challenges to institutions of higher learning: technology. In-class learning is not particularly effective, and the internet allows you to attend lectures or do modules from the global best. The only thing missing is social interaction, but for the most part that is true of the current educational scene too (I don’t mean Spring break).
    Interaction with fellow students/tutors/teachers in similar programs could well be organized semi-locally in a completely different way. Only the self-serving interests of the current institutions (most of which are second or third rate anyway) is standing in the way of a new model for getting up to speed in many fields in a superior and more efficient way.

  4. MikeCA
    September 27, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    “So what is the fundamental problem with the “business model” of universities in USA and anglosphere? Well.. the model is based on the institution being profitable rather than producing anything which benefits the surrounding society.”

    While there are some for profit colleges, the vast majority of colleges are not. Many are state owned and partially state financed. One of the big reasons for the increase in college costs is that state governments have cut back on funding, forcing colleges to get more of their costs from students. Most private colleges are non-profits.

    Isn’t it odd that this change and all the accompanying problems occurred almost exclusively in the Anglosphere?

    The problem with colleges is largely that easy student loans made it possible to raise student fees and not lose many students. This meant there was little pressure on colleges to control costs.

    Colleges have huge bureaucracies to deal with state a federal government funding. I know for example that the government audits a percentage of government research grants. Professor A got a grant to buy some equipment and do research on some topic. The grant may have paid some graduate students to work on his project and it may have paid part of the professors salary. Five to ten years later the federal auditors will show up and demand to see the paper work proving that the grant money was spent for the correct purpose. They want to see proof reasonable equipment was actually bought and used for intended purpose, that the graduate students and the professor were actually working on the project. Universities have huge bureaucracies whose job it to collect all this paper work for the thousands of research grants they get each year and file it away in an organized manner so they can find it five or ten years later when the auditors show up.

    These audits have occasionally uncovered graft and abuse, like one professor many years ago was caught using his grant money to pay his graduate students to work on the landscaping at his home. Mostly they simply uncover some missing paper work. Private companies simply do not keep track of spending like this but any University that accepts government research grants has to.

    College have an education function and they have have a research function. The reputation of colleges is mostly based on the research function. Top colleges compete for their faculty based on the quality of their research. Undergraduate education is sort of an afterthought at big research universities. This has always been a conflict. Professors are never turned down for tenure because of teaching. Tenure decisions are based almost entirely on their research.

    To teach high school, you have to study education and get a certificate showing you are a trained teacher. To teach classes in a college, you do not need any training in education. Professors usually (but not always) have a PhD in their field, but no training in education. At big universities some of the teaching is done by graduate students that are studying in the field but with no training in education. I taught both graduate and undergraduate classes at a major university and I never had any training in education.

    Major universities treat research as their main function and education as the necessary function that helps pay the bills.

  5. bonzo
    September 28, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    Another issue with universities is the failure to even consider such things as menstruating men as topic of reasearch: “you have teams of researchers who want to look into trans-specific menstrual care but can’t because they don’t have the funding because it’s not seen as a broad enough issue by agencies to get out that kind of funding.”

    https://us.yahoo.com/lifestyle/menstruators-women-nonbinary-periods-trans-cis-191609748.html

    Happy to see that these liberal idiots are cutting the branch they are sitting on..

    • doldrom
      September 29, 2021 at 2:14 am

      I always forget how it works.
      Is a trans man a F2M or a M2F gig?

      • Ärjün
        September 29, 2021 at 12:36 pm

        A way to remember it is: “trans” means “fake”; so “trans man” means “fake man”.

      • Arjun
        September 30, 2021 at 11:53 am

        Impostor Arjun! Or should I say Impostür Arjun!

        One must think that with your love of fakery, you would dress up in women’s clothing and try to “trick” AD into an erotic encounter!

  6. Arjun
    September 29, 2021 at 12:01 am

    https://www.theverge.com/2021/9/28/22699614/elizabeth-holmes-trial-steve-jobs-emails

    seems like a topic someone such as yourself would be interested in…

    Have you ever read the children story known as “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?

    • Arjun
      September 30, 2021 at 11:55 am

      I did not, can you give a synopsis?

  7. MikeCA
    September 30, 2021 at 10:35 am

    “Isn’t it odd that this change and all the accompanying problems occurred almost exclusively in the Anglosphere?”

    For someone who claims to have a PhD from a Western university, your ignorance of US higher education system is revealing. Most colleges and universities in the US are run by the states. After California Proposition 13 passed in 1978, there was a Republican led nation wide drive to cut taxes at the state level. Reagan took the tax cutting idea to the federal level in his 1980 campaign. Most states have balanced budget requirements in their constitution. So when taxes were cut, spending had to be cut. Subsidies to state colleges and universities were one of the big cuts. This forced tuition at state schools to rise rapidly, almost approaching levels at private colleges. The effect of this was delayed by easy student loans, but that has now created the student debt crises.

    I have no idea what happened in Canada, England, Australia or New Zealand, but in the US the rise in tuition was mostly a casualty of Grover Norquist’s attempt to drown the government in a bathtub.

    • doldrom
      October 1, 2021 at 10:52 am

      Everywhere they introduced generous lending facilities (in the place of scholarship money), tuition rates and other costs have sky-rocketed. This is certainly true of the UK and Canada, but also in a country such as the Netherlands which has veered off the path taken by Germany, Denmark, or Sweden with neo-Liberal lending innovation.
      The result is not just disastrous for the price of education, but since it also forces basically all students to have jobs on the side for income, the result is deleterious for the quality: Students are only interested in the minimum effort to rack up credits needed to get their degree.
      In countries where they still give students scholarships to attend, there is little point raising tuition on students who will then need more government scholarship/bursary money. Under the neo-liberal system, since the money is borrowed there is no actual market force to make the price unaffordable, until 10 years down the road when these students are owned by the banks or other institution. In Canada you can even see that French & English Canada have pursued different paths since the seventies, just to illustrate it’s about policy more than other variables.

  8. Arjun
    October 1, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    https://www.rooshvforum.com/threads/i-have-coronavirus-symptoms-thread.37196/page-19#post-1525672

    I guess all the std’s made his immune system weak…

    say AD, isn’t he about your age? I would hope you fare better…

    Let us just say that I had a very brief and somewhat odd respiratory illness well over a year ago.. Mild symptoms and recovered within 2-3 days, though the post-viral cough lasted a bit longer than usual.

    I have noticed that people of Mediterranean ancestry (Iran to Spain) seem to have more symptoms than other groups.

    • doldrom
      October 2, 2021 at 8:47 am

      That would surprise me, AD, since I am unaware of common genetics/haplogroups covering all these overlapping groups … of course it could be a sub-group common to all these peoples, but it still rings odd.
      I have read somewhere that black people in general might be less susceptible to respiratory pathogens, but I’m not sure if the conclusion is robust. There was evidence that various blood groups show different susceptibility to Covid, but not a major variable, say, as being fat. Not being fat has probably protected large swathes of the third world, and vice versa, added fuel to the octogenarian past due date population of Western old age homes.

      • Pissbottle Supremacist
        October 3, 2021 at 4:00 am

        Darkpeepoo have lower vitamin D levels and higher levels of obesity.

      • doldrom
        October 3, 2021 at 7:10 am

        But not in Africa & India where people have to walk to get water, lack money/food, are outdoors a lot

      • Sooper Pooper
        October 3, 2021 at 9:34 am

      • doldrom
        October 4, 2021 at 7:42 am

        I’m talking about obesity

  1. October 4, 2021 at 11:51 am

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