India, and the Economic Folly of a College Degree

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John Tamny

“…if an equal proportion of people were educated at the public expence, the competition would soon be so great, as to sink very much their pecuniary reward.” Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, p. 151

An all-too-predictable headline blared from the front page of the Wall Street Journal recently, this one about education. Though the article was titled “India Graduates Millions, But Too Few Are Fit to Hire”, it would be easy to put the “U.S.” or some other country with a politically correct worship of the college degree where “India” is, and the story wouldn’t change much at all.

Much as politicians in Illinois long ago heard of the “correlation” between books in the house and intelligent children on the way to a state-run program to put books in underprivileged homes, the oft-cited correlation between a college degree and higher income has driven politicians on the left and right to make attending university a “right” to be enjoyed by everyone. That knowledge gained in college on its very best day has little to no relationship with the work individuals around the world perform once graduated has not deterred a mad political rush to make a college education as universal as healthcare.

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