Student loans are crippling Americans. Education in the US is expensive because education is privatized, not that community colleges with cheaper education don’t exist. But the better jobs and opportunities go to students from more expensive universities because the perception is that these universities are somehow better.

Students will do almost anything to get into an ‘Ivy League’ or equivalent school. But this is only possible if either you are extremely brainy or extremely rich, therefore this creates a very nice balance where the extremely rich students subsidize the extremely brainy. It’s a free rider problem, but here both sides seem to be profiting. However Newton has laws, and there is no free lunch, so who loses? All we have to do to figure that one out is to follow the money.

The losers are the students who are not exactly brilliant but not exactly stupid. They are not exactly rich but not exactly poor. They are the horde, the majority, the bourgeoisie, destined to always be spectators, playing second fiddle. They are the people on the bench, the water boys and girls, always waiting for their big break. 

Never is this divide more apparent that when an economy is suffering. A rise in unemployment always sees the underprivileged suffer more. Even at the best of times the elite get the best jobs and the rest get what is left. The difference is that ‘what is left’ is usually enough to keep people happy, because a superpower like the US inevitably feeds off the rest of the world and therefore even its less fortunate are more fortunate than most of the fortunate elsewhere.

But in a recession the skeletal body of the economy is not fleshy enough to feed them all, and this is when the, wait for it, seedy underbelly of the education system exposes itself. The brainy and rich always have a way out, more or less. The rest however, gather at Zuccotti Park, ‘Occupying Wall Street’.

Modern capitalism, like a column by David Kristjanson-Gural put so nicely, is simply a system where wealth perpetuates wealth. It was George Bernard Shaw who said “all professions are a conspiracy against the laity” and this is just as true today as it was then.

The Corporatocracy own the universities and ultimately use them as breeding grounds for employable people, and the next generation of greedy elites. The system shuts out all thought that is hostile to it and reduces all dissenters to bar room intellectuals or doomsday prophets, devoid of money and success and therefore effectively devoid of influence.

And so students are hell bent on acquiring the best education (read university) possible. The vast majority who isn’t super smart or super rich proceed to take massive loans. They are then stuck with these loans for years and years after they start working and consequently can’t afford independent thought. Disillusionment with the system is effectively controlled because they all need to keep working for the corporates in order to keep the loan sharks from their door.

They refinance their debt and gradually graduate to bigger loans as they buy houses and cars. All the while slaving away in a materialistic haze that helps perpetuate their illusion of success, shutting out all metaphysical, spiritual and introspective thought, digging themselves deeper into a meaningless life, supporting war efforts and giving their implicit approval for their forces to kill thousands of unarmed civilians worldwide. This state of affairs is also loosely known as the American dream.

The Occupy Wall Street protests were a brief uprising of the laity. It was entertained as grownups entertain the tantrums of toddlers. Now the harsh winters and pepper spraying police have driven the toddlers back inside, and will hopefully turn them into good little robots again as the Corporatocracy, Israel and America prepare for yet another war, starting by antagonizing Iran, and there is nothing like a war to keep the internal peace.

  1. kataclysmichaos said:

    Hey, so, is this what will happen if they privatize education here like they are trying to? I haven’t paid too much attention whats been going on, but weren’t university students protesting madly some weeks ago?

    • Whacko said:

      Well i think what we’re seeing in the US is the opposite extreme of privatization. The corporations rule the economy as opposed to the government here. The people are in the middle, i suppose the trick is getting education (and all other policy formulas) closer to the middle where the people are..

  2. Good post. Personally I feel that education, along with healthcare, is just a way to rip people off without feeling too bad about it. You offer something supposedly good for them at an unreasonable cost. At least that is what I felt during my stint with “Higher Education”. And it was exactly as described here, there were the really rich (dumbasses) and the really smart (also dumbasses) and the people in the middle. The really rich transferred to Embry-Riddle or whatever crappy university that would take them in, while the really smart tried to get scholarships or settled on community colleges within their budget. The people in the middle dropped-out or lingered there forever selling kerala gold to their friends.

    Moreso than just the universities protesting, wouldn’t it be cool if you saw O level and A level kids protesting too? When you think about it, it is somewhat a lost cause to complain about a leak in your boat once you’re already in the water.

    It’s easy to make fun of the Occupy movements, be it Wall Street, or Colombo. But the fact that someone was able to bring together the frustrations of like-minded people to a platform that is literally on the street-level, has to be given credit for. Hopefully these movements will inspire even Sri Lanka’s youth towards getting what they rightfully deserve, or at least a seat at St. Thomas’.

    • Whacko said:

      I get your point, but by that count you should have kids protesting right before they enter pre school. I actually did protest right before i entered pre school, almost every morning. But i don’t think it was because i was pissed off at the system per se :p I hope the Occupy movements wont just die out. If more people think about these things are believe in serious reform, then the chances are that reform will take place sooner than later

  3. Maf said:

    excellent post. how do you think this applies in a sri lankan context? where does one go to hire the elite?

  4. Whacko said:

    Thanks! In Sri Lanka as far as I’ve observed, the country is so small and the power base so concentrated in Colombo that the elite just hire the elite through a complex web of personal contacts. Academic brilliance can still get you noticed however so we aren’t completely un-meritocratic. But our education system is diametrically opposed (too opposed) to the US system which is completely geared (too geared) towards pleasing industry, so much so that industry has its grubby hands all over it. How do things work in Europe?

  5. “Students will do almost anything to get into an ‘Ivy League’ or equivalent school. But this is only possible if either you are extremely brainy or extremely rich, therefore this creates a very nice balance where the extremely rich students subsidize the extremely brainy” “The losers are the students who are not exactly brilliant but not exactly stupid.”

    I do agree with this, to a degree; but, sometimes I am left to wonder if the general masses are so intellectually disadvantaged that they can only occupy the ranks of middling universities. Or is it that, the brainy elite attending Ivy league are the only representation of the academically and intellectually superior that America has to offer ?

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