Assorted Links


Thanks to Chuck Currie, Grace Liu, Alex Chernavsky and Dave Lull.

14 Replies to “Assorted Links”

  1. It would be very interesting to hear more details on what “a big mistake” really means.

    As a parent, I’m about to face these choices myself. As a kid, I didn’t really have a choice, as there was really no way to afford anything but a state school (even though I likely could have gained an offer from MIT). Regrets? Sort of. But as a technologist, I regret not moving to the SF Bay Area in the 90s a lot more…

    Seth: It was a few years ago she told me this. I think “big mistake” meant fewer job opportunities and being looked down on a lot.

  2. Seth, re your piece on “Desirable College” and particularly your friend who attended the local law school:

    The cost of post secondary education has become a big problem and in many respects is outright scandalous. It is terrible public policy to require prospective college students and their parents to take on such enormous amounts of debt to get a decent education.

    The economy is of course part of the problem, but so is the way quite a few colleges and universities are administered. Many have become so “financialized” that they have lost sight of their essential mission. But it has now gotten so bad, maybe more people will finally begin to wake up about the issue and start communicating with their political representatives.

    And yes, your friend probably did make a big mistake, but not just because she attended the local law school, rather than a “top tier” school. See this link to a blog by a law professor (Paul Campos) who has been writing about this for awhile. It should be required reading for anyone who thinks they want to attend law school (and also their parents).

  3. There’s a big difference between law school and college. Most people these days acknowledge that if you don’t go to a top tier law school, then you face poor employment prospects for the foreseeable future. The market is over-saturated to the extreme.

    However, when it comes to college, choosing a school really depends on what you want to do. If you plan on medical school, for example, it doesn’t matter much at all where you go. If business is your thing, then going to NYU or Penn can make a huge difference.

    On a side note, that girl sounds kind of spoiled and entitled – maybe her application just wasn’t as great as she thought it was?

  4. Adam Smith wrote about how you must expect a surplus of lawyers, and of how a few would make a lot of money and many would make little. Shrewd chap, Professor Smith.

  5. Choosing a local law school (unless “local” means Cal or Stanford) over Harvard and Yale was such a horrible decision that I wonder how your friend got into those top schools in the first place.

    Yes, that sounds terribly snarky, but if she’d spent even five minutes investigating the legal job market (aka reading Above The Law) she’d have made a different choice.

    The law school market is very different than the college market.

  6. @John: my copy of The Wealth of Nations is from Penguin Classics, edited by Andrew Skinner, 1970: the relevant bit is on p 207 onwards.

    It’s probably more useful to you to note that it’s from Book !, chapter x “Of wages and Profit in the different Employments of Labour and Stock”. It must be available free on the web.

    You could Google this bit about “your son”:

    “… but send him to study the law, it is at least twenty to one if ever he makes such a proficiency as will enable him to live by the business.”

  7. Here’s some more Smithian wisdom, bearing on student loans don’t you think?

    In professions in which there are no benefices, such as law and physic, if an equal proportion of people were educated at the public expence, the competition would soon be so great, as to sink very much their pecuniary reward. It might then not be worth any man’s while to educate his son to either of those professions at his own expence. They would be entirely abandoned to such as had been educated by those public charities, whose numbers and necessities would oblige them in general to content themselves with a very miserable recompence, to the entire degradation of the now respectable professions of law and physic.

  8. Nobody can consider himself educated who has not read The Wealth of Nations, The Origin of Species, and Gibbon’s Decline and Fall. Says me.

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