To hear George Mason University professor Bryan Caplan wax poetic…the typical value of a college degree is significantly less than you have paid for – and even less if you count student debt.
Why? Because in his view the study of liberal arts and humanities will not prepare you for a life of profession and career and greatest earning potential. No. If you haven’t spent most of your higher education years in one or more vocational focuses you cannot truly be prepared for what’s next.
Intellectual curiosity is not enough. You must know what your vocation will be and then act on it.
That’s fine for some but for most it’s neither reasonable nor rational. Here’s one rebuttal: if you do not expose yourself to something a bit off-the-mark from what you’ve done or considered, how will you know if it’s valuable to you? Knowing what you know is important. Knowing what you don’t know is crucial.
Get this: When asked how to reconcile his point of view with the answers of educators and administrators who say that well-rounded, broadly thinking people are typically happier and more successful…he simply scoffs. “People say things, and often believe things that sound good; but if you look closely at their behavior they are being dishonest or they don’t believe it all the way.”
He told this – and more – to the Chronicle of Higher Education…If not the bible than at least the guiding star to mainstream higher education practitioners and administrators. It appears that Professor Caplan believes that most people in his profession are disingenuous or just plain liars.
I’m not going to advocate for one point of view or the other. I am however going to state with complete belief and action, that no one I know will attend GMU or any of his classes.