A “Falling Demand for Brains”?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 7, 2011

That’s what Paul Krugman asserts we are experiencing–both here, and here, with his argument that getting a college degree is no longer a ticket to success. But while it is true that the attainment of a college degree does not guarantee a life of comfort and prosperity anymore, the reason for the phenomenon has less to do with a “falling demand for brains,” and more to do with the fact that if anything, brains are even more valued these days. It is not enough to get a college degree in order to get ahead. Rather, one has to get a graduate degree, or several. There is still an emphasis in our society on the need to get smart, and no, getting computers to perform brute force tasks does not take away the demand for human intelligence.

Of course, Krugman ignores these holes in his argument because his blog post and article are intended to argue for the restoration of “the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages,” and advocate guaranteeing “the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.” Paul Krugman is not interested in the demand for brains. He is interested, more than anything else, in finding excuses to increase the demand for government.

  • Lazarus Long

    There’s a difference between credentialed and educated.

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