Via the Volokh Conspiracy:
The Wall Street Journal today features a quote from Joseph Schumpeter, writing in 1942, on ways in which college education can make a person less psychologically fit and less willing to engage in manual labor, notwithstanding greater employment opportunities in manual trades:
The man who has gone through a college or university easily becomes psychically unemployable in manual occupations without necessarily acquiring employability in, say, professional work. His failure to do so may be due either to lack of natural ability—perfectly compatible with passing academic tests—or to inadequate teaching ... those who are unemployed or unsatisfactorily employed or unemployable drift into the vocations in which standards are least definite or in which aptitudes and acquirements of a different order count. They swell the host of intellectuals in the strict sense of the term whose numbers hence increase disproportionately. They enter it in a thoroughly discontented frame of mind. Discontent breeds resentment. And it often rationalizes itself into that social criticism which as we have seen before is in any case the intellectual spectator’s typical attitude toward men, classes and institutions especially in a rationalist and utilitarian civilization.
Well, here we have numbers; a well-defined group situation of proletarian hue; and a group interest shaping a group attitude that will much more realistically account for hostility to the capitalist order than could the theory—itself a rationalization in the psychological sense—according to which the intellectual’s righteous indignation about the wrongs of capitalism simply represents the logical inference from outrageous facts ... Moreover our theory also accounts for the fact that this hostility increases, instead of diminishing, with every achievement of capitalist evolution.Back when the Occupy movement was in full swing, I commented here at Volokh that it represented the fragmentation of the New Class elites into upper and lower tiers. The upper tier, which included the bankers and those dealing directly with capital, did pretty well notwithstanding the financial crisis; though they do face a long run problem insofar as the “knowledge class” skills they brought to the global economy in the 1990s have long since spread throughout the world and become commodified, lowering their global rents. But the long run effects have been devastating on the lower tier of the New Class – public employees, the “helping” and therapeutic professions, those whose professions consisted essentially of mediating between upper tier New Class capitalists and the rest of the population, managing the rest of society while the globalized New Class capitalists outsourced themselves in the global economy.
As Schumpeter pointed out in 1942, an expensive university education makes it much harder to consider manual trades, even if employment opportunities are greater there....MUCH MORE