The Twilight of the Guilds?
Published on: February 17, 2010
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  • I hope your wrong but think your right. I tried being a lawyer, graduating last year but no jobs available. Now I am considering moving toward a graduate degree in international relations or political science.

    According to this I should just siwtch over to becoming a machinist or something.

  • Steve Newton

    A very interesting post! When you speak of the forces that have already impacted the lower and middle-middle class rolling into the professional class I am reminded of the rolling recessions of the eary 80’s. Steel was very severly while the rest of country keep on going. Then it was farmers and agricultural suppliers (International Harvester, etc). Then the oil industry was smacked. Those rolling forces are often not recognized and so come as a nasty surprise.

    One of my observations on higher education is that training PHD candidates to do original research is becoming unworkable(at least for liberal arts). An acquaintance of mine was trying to find a thesis for a PHD in the New Testament but could not. After a number of months of searching his advisor recommended that he research infrequently used Greek participal construction. The problem my friend was encountering is the fact that original research thesis have been churned out on the New Testament every year for a couple of hundred years with the result that there is little left to investigate. Can it be any different for an English major studying Dickens or Chaucer? One wonder how long this model of learning can continue.

  • Mike M.

    This is a very thought-provoking piece indeed that ties in well with the breakdown of the “blue model”, and I agree that it doesn’t bode well for the future.

    I believe more with each passing day that deindustrialization in favor of the “service economy” was a shortsighted big mistake. Our population continues to grow (mostly due to immigration), and we’re going to have more and more people chasing fewer and fewer jobs once ruthless efficiency starts to kick in. People have to earn a living somehow, and I’m not sure they’re going to do it once this gets underway.

  • John Barker

    I remember the professor who was the head of the department of Zoology when I attended a large state university fifty years ago–he sold shoes at sears on the weekend.

  • Luke Lea

    As the supply of labor increases relative to capital (immigration, trade, labor-saving technology) the winners are those who derive their incomes from capital. That used to include the intelligent, well-educated professions (human capital) but now, with all the talent coming out of China and India, it only includes people who have, well, . . . a lot of money in the bank.

    Maybe that will lead to better, more articulate spokesmen and leaders for America’s working people. We could have a new kind of blue!

  • adam garfinkle

    I see; from dinner on Wisconsin Avenue last summer finally into the blog. This has a future, too. We’ll talk about this bye and bye.

  • Reuben Sandler

    The difference here is that the Swiftboating of Sen. Kerry left no way to know the truth of the matter or the consequences of the program. Would he have been a better president than GW? Who knows–I think so, but there is no objective way to establish this alternate reality and its consequences. With climate change, the situation is much different– the coming years will be definitive. Either the matter will fizzle out (as with Malthusian population growth and its consequesces) or, as I believe, we will probably learn that the science is mostly right and we’ve made some serious blunders that will negatively impact our children and grandchildren. Sen. Kerry’s loss is behind us–climate change is ahead of us.

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