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Title: Is Our Workforce Overqualified?
Source: [None]
URL Source: https://www.theamericanconservative ... s-our-workforce-overqualified/
Published: Nov 18, 2020
Author: Itxu Diaz
Post Date: 2020-11-18 07:39:07 by Ada
Keywords: None
Views: 173
Comments: 12

The biggest problem with our economy (and our culture) may be the simple fact that everybody is going to college.

We have a problem: there are too many smart people in the world. There are too many overqualified workers. There are too many college degrees. There are too many applicants for positions that rely on a particular kind of intelligence. Our modern labor markets have inflated to the extreme the appreciation of highly intellectual jobs, disregarding those that require craftsmanship or simply soul, delicacy, or empathy.

Hardly anyone wants to care for the elderly, or repair short-circuited sockets, or slice meat in a supermarket. Most young people are too busy trying to hack their way into some big consulting firm that promises a bright, bold future. And they’re willing to do just about anything to get there, including sacrificing their family life, their leisure, their friendships—selling their own mother at a flea market if necessary.

According to the OECD, 45% of young Americans have a lovely, shiny college degree under their arm. Of course, we should congratulate them on their efforts. But we should also tell them the truth: as the number of graduates expands, the value of the degree decreases. Much of young people’s frustration comes from the fact that a college degree no longer guarantees that they will find a job worthy of their high qualifications. There have come to be more economists than economy, more lawyers than lawsuits, more engineers than bridges.

So something disconcerting happens, as British essayist David Goodhart has realized. In many Western countries, while young graduates find themselves in a working hell that falls far short of expectations—wandering around scrounging for jobs with salaries far below what they thought their training was worth—workers with less glamorous reputations, such as electricians or plumbers, earn a far better living at a much lower cost.

This crisis has remained unaddressed for years. Everything went well enough while our main focus was to get to the moon, build luxury lunar villas, and create a space highway connecting them to Earth. We had a lot of brilliant minds working on that. But then the pandemic came. Suddenly we needed nurses, caregivers, grocery store workers, and manual laborers for essential services. And we found that hardly anyone wants to do a lot of the jobs we actually need, because we’ve been neglecting them for decades—and undervaluing them as well. What’s more—as the cited author of Head, Hand, Heart points out—the strong political pressures towards university education and corresponding careers have contributed since the 1960s to undermining the place of family and home in people’s lives, placing personal fulfillment and the race to success in the foreground instead.

The left is not entirely to blame, but it certainly is in part. Despite presenting themselves as the political option for the working class, the truth is that Marxists and quasi-Marxists have spent more than a century telling these people that their jobs are undignified, that they are exploited, that their very lives are worthless and they should aspire to become like their alleged exploiters. (Incidentally, they’re trying to do exactly the same with women, telling them that their lives and desire for motherhood are undignified, that they should be more like the men who supposedly oppress them.) The champions of the working class, it seems, actually have very little respect for them.

One of the sillier misconceptions that the pandemic has brought to light is that caring for the elderly is a task that requires no special skill, that anyone can do it. Only when you see how a good caregiver cleans, entertains, feeds, dresses, and tries to communicate with an elderly person with Alzheimer’s, do you realize that perhaps we are overvaluing professional areas where knowledge, intelligence—or worse, the ability to memorize—prevails. Caregivers of children and seniors require both hand and heart, and much more than can be learned in four years within the walls of a university. All in all, a home health aide will receive an average salary of $24,200 while a web developer will receive $72,040. Both are among the most in-demand professions at the moment, according to the job site Indeed. The caregivers, as well as delivery people, supermarket cashiers, and the millions of others who work serving the public endure immense emotional wear and tear that the web developers do not. But without these people, the country simply could not open for business every morning.

Behind the lack of appreciation for invisible jobs we also find a slow erosion of typically Western values, sometimes due to the unbridled egalitarianism of the left, sometimes due to corrosive kind of capitalism—which authors such as Chesterton and Belloc so rightly denounced, defending private property while decrying the distortion that serves a concentrated elite while abandoning the lower classes.

Perhaps, drunk with professional success stories and lofty aspirations, we are losing perspective on what it really means to work. In romance languages like Spanish, the word trabajar (to work) comes from the Vulgar Latin tripaliare—to torture. The Latin tripalium at the root of the verb was an artifact used to torture slaves. This is much closer to the truth than the English etymology of work, which alludes to “something done,” to an action, which is as vague as saying that chocolate is something you put in your mouth. The Bible falls firmly on one side of this dispute. God told Adam, “You will earn your bread by the sweat of your brow.” And from His tone, Adam knew that he wasn’t being offered a promotion.

The fact is that Christianity contradicts any system that disdains unglamorous work. Jesus learned the craft of carpentry from Saint Joseph. For centuries humble saints, monastics, mendicants, and caretakers have taken it upon themselves to remind us that something that is very modest in the eyes of the world can be of infinite value to God. It was Christianity that put an end to the classical idea that labor was an activity of servants, unworthy of free men.

Saint Benedict created the Benedictine order to build monks’ sanctification on two intersecting axes: prayer and work. And St. Josemaría founded Opus Dei to show that this path of sanctification is accessible to all Christians, whatever their profession and condition, insisting a thousand times on the dignity of all work, since the resolve with which it is carried out is a reflection of the measure of our love for God and others. “To God, the work of a sweeper has the same merit as that of a ruler,” he preached in 1967, “if those works are done well, with love, with attention to detail, with a desire to serve.” St. John Paul II expressed it in this way: “the value of work is measured above all by the dignity of the subject of that work, that is to say, the person, the man who performs it”.

Naturally, training and education are important. I’m not trying to encourage the advent of a (new) generation of donkeys. But it is not wrong to ask ourselves, in the midst of the pandemic, if the prestigious work that we idolize has not turned us into something very different from what we wanted to be.

And of course, someone must stop this damned obsession with accumulating university degrees in an attic in hopes of gaining rank and position later in life. We know now that other papers pile up alongside them: farewell letters from inconvenient loves, divorce notes and debt receipts, and copious prescriptions from overpriced psychiatrists.

Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist and author. He is a contributor to The Daily Beast, The Daily Caller, National Review, The American Conservative, The American Spectator and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an advisor to the Ministry for Education, Culture and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website

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#1. To: Ada (#0)

Most of those college degrees are in basket weaving. We have to import engineers and scientists.

The Truth of 911 Shall Set You Free From The Lie

Horse  posted on  2020-11-18   7:50:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Horse (#1)

A dummy with a college degree is still a dummy and society needs to stop "selling" education.

Cynicom  posted on  2020-11-18   7:54:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Horse (#1)

We have to import engineers and scientists.

American engineers complain that they are forced to train HiBs to take over their jobs and are then fired in order to save the company their salaries.

Ada  posted on  2020-11-18   8:59:50 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: Ada (#0)

Art is more than an art degree and while going to a good art school can make you a better artist, it cannot replace having actual talent. Now everyone can be an artist with the aid of computers. Drafting used to be a lot more difficult and now everyone can be a designer.

Not everyone is a good sculptor but with computers and 3D printing anyone can be an artist.

So those degrees might make you valuable but they won't make you capable when the power is out.

That is the other thing. So many people rely on tech in their professions that the action of having human contact is hard for them to relate to. The tech industry has made communication easy and at the same time impossible

I am building a house that I designed with paper and pencil. I will be off grid next year and the tech is going to be drastically scaled back.

"Call Me Ishmael" -Ishmael, A character from the book "Moby Dick" 1851. "Call Me Fishmeal" -Osama Bin Laden, A character created by the CIA, and the world's Hide And Seek Champion 2001-2011. -Tommythemadartist

TommyTheMadArtist  posted on  2020-11-18   10:17:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: Ada (#3)

That is true but we still don't produce many American scientists. Most departments are filled with foreign student visa holders. I have lived on college campuses for the past 30 years. The majority of college students do not belong there.

The Truth of 911 Shall Set You Free From The Lie

Horse  posted on  2020-11-18   12:42:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#6. To: Ada, All (#0)

The 'Senior Political Analyst' has a hilarious sarcastic installment on this:

"$118,000 In Student Debt... For USELESS Drama Degree!"


USA! USA! USA! Bringing you democracy, or else! there were strains of VD that were incurable, and they were first found in the Philippines and then transmitted to the Korean working girls via US military. The 'incurables' we were told were first taken back to a military hospital in the Philippines to quietly die. – 4um

NeoconsNailed  posted on  2020-11-18   13:04:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#7. To: Horse (#5)

I have lived on college campuses for the past 30 years. The majority of college students do not belong there.

30 years? Are you trying to copy these guys? LOL

National Lampoon's Animal House

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one." Edmund Burke

BTP Holdings  posted on  2020-11-18   14:11:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#8. To: BTP Holdings (#7)

I was a professional student. I studied four 4 languages. I read 350,000 pages of philosophy, psychology, religions and mythology to understand the human mind. I studied math to learn economics which I understood as a means to abolish Depressions and poverty. Now I am studying health and gardening to prepare for survival mode coming soon to America and the world.

The Truth of 911 Shall Set You Free From The Lie

Horse  posted on  2020-11-18   14:41:31 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#9. To: Horse (#8) (Edited)


I had a big garden in back yard of the house in Chicago. I brought a home grown cabbage over to my Aunt. She made Cole Slaw.

She told me later the kids were asking what it was. She told them, "Cole slaw." They couldn't get enough of it. Slaw from a fresh cabbage is a lot different then from a cabbage that has been in cold storage for a 3 to 6 months. ;)

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one." Edmund Burke

BTP Holdings  posted on  2020-11-18   15:03:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#10. To: Horse (#8)

I was a professional student.

I will refrain from repeating the usual caustic remarks about "professional students".

Cynicom  posted on  2020-11-18   16:05:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#11. To: Ada (#0)

there are too many smart people in the world.

Not in my neck of the woods. We got just the opposite.

StraitGate  posted on  2020-11-18   20:09:22 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#12. To: StraitGate (#11)

Not in my neck of the woods. We got just the opposite.

Used to be that a 120 IQ was necessary to get a college degree. Not so these days.

Ada  posted on  2020-11-20   11:01:51 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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