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Tuesday, June 03, 2014


Why the educated unemployed are dangerous.

When you spend considerable time and money becoming educated you expect a reward for your effort.  When that doesn't happen, either because your education is not needed or the supply of educated people exceeds the demand, the result could be terror or revolution.

Governments like expanding the numbers of the educated because it is the kind of goal they can set themselves and are more or less certain of reaching. All you have to do is pass a law saying children must attend school for such and such a length of time, and in the case of tertiary education, to lower standards of entry to university and of graduation therefrom. Furthermore, governments can present the expanded numbers as a triumph of their own policy and evidence of their own benevolence, for everyone knows that, if education is a good thing, the more of it the better.

That this results in a bad fit between the education that the young receive and what they will be called upon to do in adult life concerns governments far less. When graduates, however, discover that they will be lucky if they can get an ill-paying job that they would have been able to do by the age of sixteen at the latest, they are likely to be disillusioned and angry; they will feel that they have been deprived of something that they were promised. No group is more dangerous than the disgruntled literate, and if jobs cannot be invented for them, some of them will invent jobs of their own, among them saving the world by means of an idiotic general idea. What in youth is called idealism is more often resentment.

It's what happened in Africa and is beginning to happen here. Read the whole thing.

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