"A college degree is not an achievement worthy of admiration so much as it is one more example of capitalism’s tendency to see any life necessity as a good place to erect a tollbooth."

mic drop

Expand full comment
Sep 29, 2023·edited Sep 29, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

Don't worry about your readers growing weary. There are far more profound reasons for weariness in this world, reasons that you frequently address. I, for one, have yet to see your newsletter in my inbox and think "Oh, not again".

The Detroit casino unions are had a strike authorization vote today, so here's hoping that the house doesn't always win.

I have far too much to say about college degrees. I have one, I've worked quite a bit in colleges helping other people get them, and I generally agree with your points. But if I get started, yeesh. It ain't my newsletter.

I wish you a good weekend, and look forward to when we can habitually say that on Thursdays.

Expand full comment
Sep 29, 2023Liked by Hamilton Nolan

It’s worth noting that a lot of us were and are a bit confused about the difference between an “education” (in the formal sense) and a marketable skill. (A union journeyman plumber is, of course, educated as hell in skills of his craft, regardless of what else the plumber has or hasn’t studied.)

This isn’t an accident, either. As a GenX 80s high school grad, I remember the general thrust of parental and school-counselor messaging clearly:

1) “You have to go to college to get a Good Job (whatever that may be);

2) “If you DO finish college, you WILL get a good job!!!”

Needless to say, most of these advice-givers were Boomers, the last US generation capable of half-believing this.

Expand full comment

"Remember a couple months ago when the Teamsters won a healthy six-figure pay package for hundreds of thousands of UPS workers, by exerting unified labor power? Yeah. That’s how it’s done."

Absolutely vibing right here, solidarity forever

Expand full comment

Truth. Thanks for an inspiring article.

Expand full comment

It is quite clear from your own chart that COVID-19 is the BIGGEST driver of the expanding gap in life expectancy. Yes, it was expanding before 2020, but no leftist critique should mention that only in passing.

Inequality certainly plays into this in unequal access to healthcare. College graduates were also much more likely to work in jobs that could be done remotely in 2020. But political public health misinformation certainly also played and continues to play a part.

Expand full comment

The fact that people without degrees were forced to go to work and get Covid while people with degrees could stay home and work remotely is exactly in line with what this post is about.

Expand full comment

My grandfather was in a labor union during the early 20th century. He and my grandmother lived in one of those tenements on the lower east side of Manhattan. They knew what it was to be poor and he was on strike and with no money.

Expand full comment