The Cultural Problems with Academia

Like any good bubble, this belief– while rooted in truth– gets pushed to unhealthy levels. Thiel talks about consumption masquerading as investment during the housing bubble, as people would take out speculative interest-only loans to get a bigger house with a pool and tell themselves they were being frugal and saving for retirement. Similarly, the idea that attending Harvard is all about learning? Yeah. No one pays a quarter of a million dollars just to read Chaucer. The implicit promise is that you work hard to get there, and then you are set for life. It can lead to an unhealthy sense of entitlement. “It’s what you’ve been told all your life, and it’s how schools rationalize a quarter of a million dollars in debt,” Thiel says.


But Thiel’s issues with education run even deeper. He thinks it’s fundamentally wrong for a society to pin people’s best hope for a better life on something that is by definition exclusionary. “If Harvard were really the best education, if it makes that much of a difference, why not franchise it so more people can attend? Why not create 100 Harvard affiliates?” he says. “It’s something about the scarcity and the status. In education your value depends on other people failing. Whenever Darwinism is invoked it’s usually a justification for doing something mean. It’s a way to ignore that people are falling through the cracks, because you pretend that if they could just go to Harvard, they’d be fine. Maybe that’s not true.”


Folksonomies: academia privilege

/education (0.527014)
/society (0.449451)
/religion and spirituality/islam (0.405491)

speculative interest-only loans (0.975316 (neutral:0.000000)), unhealthy levels (0.792149 (negative:-0.616305)), unhealthy sense (0.743308 (negative:-0.830714)), Thiel’s issues (0.739391 (negative:-0.281649)), good bubble (0.734683 (neutral:0.000000)), housing bubble (0.727176 (neutral:0.000000)), bigger house (0.724680 (neutral:0.000000)), Cultural Problems (0.712953 (neutral:0.000000)), implicit promise (0.707415 (positive:0.443841)), Harvard affiliates (0.686830 (negative:-0.358039)), people (0.606752 (negative:-0.313533)), better life (0.598671 (positive:0.273579)), best education (0.570596 (positive:0.293601)), dollars (0.447740 (negative:-0.461771)), quarter (0.405628 (negative:-0.461771)), scarcity (0.329997 (neutral:0.000000)), entitlement (0.327185 (negative:-0.830714)), Academia (0.314137 (neutral:0.000000)), Chaucer (0.311226 (negative:-0.481920)), consumption (0.307324 (neutral:0.000000)), Darwinism (0.307137 (negative:-0.217720)), cracks (0.304613 (negative:-0.615894)), justification (0.302233 (negative:-0.217720)), belief– (0.299426 (negative:-0.616305)), truth– (0.299285 (negative:-0.616305)), idea (0.298991 (neutral:0.000000)), investment (0.298276 (neutral:0.000000)), pool (0.297537 (neutral:0.000000)), retirement (0.295343 (neutral:0.000000)), difference (0.288339 (neutral:0.000000))

Thiel:Person (0.790741 (neutral:0.000000)), Harvard:Organization (0.696587 (positive:0.076388)), million dollars:Quantity (0.696587 (neutral:0.000000))

Investment (0.888931): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Debt (0.864000): dbpedia | freebase
That that is is that that is not is not is that it it is (0.856808): dbpedia | freebase
Loan (0.850817): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Economic bubble (0.845824): dbpedia | freebase | yago
United States dollar (0.845076): dbpedia | freebase | yago
English-language films (0.838895): dbpedia

 Peter Thiel: We're in a Bubble and It's Not the Internet. It's Higher Education.
Electronic/World Wide Web>Blog:  Lacy, Sarah (Apr 10, 2011), Peter Thiel: We're in a Bubble and It's Not the Internet. It's Higher Education., Retrieved on 2015-03-08
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: academia


    08 MAR 2015

     Is College Worth It?

    Are PhDs a pyramid scheme? Are college returns worth the risk of failure and massive debt?