Student Debt Slavery: Bankrolling Financiers on the Backs of the Young

infrastructureEllen Brown – Higher education has been financialized, transformed from a public service into a lucrative cash cow for private investors.

The advantages of slavery by debt over “chattel” slavery – ownership of humans as a property right – were set out in an infamous document called the Hazard Circular, reportedly circulated by British banking interests among their American banking counterparts during the American Civil War. It read in part:

Slavery is likely to be abolished by the war power and chattel slavery destroyed. This, I and my European friends are glad of, for slavery is but the owning of labor and carries with it the care of the laborers, while the European plan, led by England, is that capital shall control labor by controlling wages.

Slaves had to be housed, fed and cared for. “Free” men housed and fed themselves. For the more dangerous jobs, such as mining, Irish immigrants were used rather than black slaves, because the Irish were expendable. Free men could be kept enslaved by debt, by paying them wages that were insufficient to meet their costs of living. On how to control wages, the Hazard Circular went on: Continue reading “Student Debt Slavery: Bankrolling Financiers on the Backs of the Young”

The Self-Serving Apologists for Student Debt-Serfdom

degreesCharles Hugh Smith – Everyone who isn’t blinded by self-interest sees that the cost of higher education in America–and the way we pay for it, by turning students into debt-serfs– is unsustainable. Those benefiting richly from the bloated, ineffective bureaucracy see no alternative, of cours27e; their self-serving handwringing would be laughable if it wasn’t so destructive to the nation and the economy.

Greg Mankiw, professor at Harvard, recently offered up a typical helping of self-serving handwringing:  Three Reasons for Those Hefty College Tuition Bills. Mankiw squeezes out a few insincere (but necessary for PR purposes) alligator tears over the soaring costs of a college degree, and then trots out the usual justifications for maintaining the status quo, which just so happens to reward him so well.

Let’s dismantle his bogus justifications one by one.

1. Mankiw predictably trots out the Gold Standard of justifying the absurdly high cost of an often-ineffective and useless college degree: those with college degrees earn $1.5 million more over a lifetime of work than those without degrees.

On the face of it, this offers plenty of justification for $120,000 piles of debt for degrees in Critical Studies, etc.: that extra $1.5 million will easily fund the cost of a 4-year degree.

But this data is completely out of date. Yes, a college degree offered substantial lifetime wage increases back when four years of college cost about as much as a new car, not a new house, i.e. the current cost; but as recent graduates have discovered, a four-year college degree offers little advantage, and substantially under-performs journey-person wages for skilled trades workers such as pipefitters, plumbers, etc. Continue reading “The Self-Serving Apologists for Student Debt-Serfdom”