Down With Education!

Well, possibly not all education. But down with colleges and universities, anyway. It seems that their net effect is to make their students dumber. A case in point: American college students think their country is going downhill. Not in the ways it actually is going downhill, but in the ways it isn’t.

This was the question:

Based on what you have learned in college so far, do you think that life in the United States has generally been getting better or worse over the last 50 years (considering issues such as life expectancy, income per person, and level of education)?

The students obviously haven’t learned any history:

The survey finds nearly 60% of students think life in America has gotten worse or stayed the same over the last 50 years.

Only 41% correctly understand it’s overall gotten better over the last five decades.
Let’s look at those metrics.

In 1973, 50 years ago, US life expectancy was 71.4 years, per the World Bank. In 2020, it was 77.3 years. By any objective measure, that’s a huge improvement.

In the same vein, average income per person has significantly improved since 1973.

To accurately compare across time and account for inflation, we can look at income with all figures adjusted to reflect, say, 2015 dollars. When we do that, we see income per person in America rose from $28,114 to $66,866 over the last 50 years.

Yep — it’s more than doubled.

No doubt these students also have no idea that billions of people worldwide have been lifted out of poverty by the transition from socialism up to free enterprise. I seriously think the country would be better off if fewer of our young people went to college. And it would be much better off if young people were getting a decent basic education through high school, as they once did, in which case the remedial function that most colleges now play (badly) would be unnecessary. But that is looking like a pipe dream, for now.

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