Phi Beta Cons

The Glut of STEM Degrees

Lately, I’ve been writing about the labor “gluts” that have built up in some of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) disciplines. These gluts have caused such mischief as driving down the average starting salary for chemistry majors with bachelor’s degrees so that they earn the same as recent sociology grads. The existence of these gluts contradicts the conventional wisdom that we need more STEM graduates to compete in the global economy.

Now I tackle that conventional wisdom head on, discussing how the same people that gave you the big-government welfare state that is working so well also have an utopian vision of the economy when it comes to education. This vision — of a futuristic technological paradise — guarantees such labor gluts and ignores real opportunities that are right in front of us today.

Most Popular

Liberalism as Faith

The British philosopher John Gray is not someone to shy away from ‘difficult’ topics. If you are looking for a provocative long read this weekend, his new article in the Times Literary Supplement ought to be a contender. I didn’t agree with all of it (for example, I would argue that the supposedly ... Read More
Culture

Our Cultural Crisis: A Kirkian Response

Editors’ note: The following article is adapted from a speech the author delivered at the Heritage Foundation on March 14, 2018. Few would dispute that we are in the middle of a grave cultural crisis. A despairing conservative critic wrote: “We are on the road to cultural disaster.” He placed the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

An Enduring Error

Editor’s Note: The following piece originally appeared in City Journal. It is reprinted here with permission. Fifty-one years ago, in July 1967, in response to an explosion of rioting in poor black urban neighborhoods around the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory ... Read More
Culture

The Mournful, Magnificent Sally Mann

‘Does the earth remember?" The infinitely gifted photographer Sally Mann asks this question in the catalogue of her great retrospective at the National Gallery in Washington. On view there is her series of Civil War battlefield landscapes, among the most ravishing works of art from the early 2000s. Once sites ... Read More