Further assorted links, from a snowbound home in northern Virginia

1. Do easy women discourage innovation?

2. "She has even removed the Ph.D. from her résumé, with some pain, but she lives in dread that interviewers will ask what she has been doing for the last 12 years." — the link is here.

3. Regulating systemic risk: the real answer.

4. Men without work.

5. Divorcing while dying.


How does 1. jive with 3.???

LOL - referring to "sexually liberated" women as "easy" is not P.C. - but Tyler is too obtuse to realize. This should be interesting.

I think we are going to have to have to accept some form of floor on the living standard for everyone, otherwise the race to bottom will end in a bottomless abyss.

What are your thoughts on my idea of a Minimum Consumption Entitlement.

The first part of this series is here:


Grad school because..."the "life of the mind" for its own sake."

I spend a great deal of my time here cleaning floors, killing ants, scouring catalogs, jerry-rigging Rube Goldberg contraptions that someone else would buy for me in industry, filling out superfluous forms, learning computer systems that take twice as long but replace the superfluous forms, repeating things to the point that an observer might think I had Tourettes,
etc. etc. The life if the mind...hahahahaha!

I have to escape to MR to actually engage my mind.


'We' lie to people constantly and then blame them for believing 'us.'

That is not a graph measuring the percentage of men that make up the workforce.

Rather, it is measuring the proportion of men aged 25-54 that are employed.

If #1 is true, then it bodes well for the productivity of mean of China/India/wherever else population is increasingly male-skewed.

That graph in 4. is horribly deceptive. As a ratio, there's no excuse for the y axis not ranging all the way from 0% to 100%. It would look a lot less scary if it were drawn that way.

@y81: There's quite a bit of information out there about economics job prospects. For one, most programs either post full placements for the past several years or will send you a list upon request. This gives a good idea of what happens to people who graduate. You can usually get a good idea on program attrition just by asking. On the pay side, there is good salary information compiled annually:

My experience is that economists tend to be much more pragmatic about these things than humanities professors might be. Also, economics departments are pretty good about unceremoniously booting you out of a program if you aren't cut out for it, which does wonders for limiting supply of PhDs. I get the idea that many humanities programs let you languish for a decade even if you should find another career path.

Also with respect to your question about supply vs. demand, I'd say that the combination of government/private demand for economists is part of it, but also healthy academic demand worldwide for foreign students who come here to study.

The "shipwrecked humanities PhDs" article (no. 2) obsesses a lot about the "life of the mind", supposedly attainable only within academe.

But in today's world with the Internet, you can live the life of the mind as a layperson (or PhD dropout). Reading blogs like MR and participating in comments discussions, studying a foreign language or two, researching ideas in economics or investing or popular science... the possibilities are endless, and it's far more fulfilling and pressure-free than putting up with the office politics, the petty but vicious academic squabbles, teaching the same introductory course to bored and apathetic undergraduate students, etc.

This works even better if you work some kind of non-outsourceable trade as a day job, like a plumber or electrician, because then your mind is fresh at the end of the day during your leisure time. By contrast, poorly paid and overworked academics at the bottom rungs of the ladder are probably too mentally exhausted from drudgery to do much more than veg in front of the TV in their free time -- how many of them read for pleasure?

One problem is that too many humanities students and professors believe the 'life of the mind' is reserved only for those studying the humanities---an observation that seems so apparent that it needn't even be made except to a humanities student.

Over the years I've met people pursuing gratifying intellectual lives in fields ranging from the pure sciences to applied technology to finance to the study of human behavior in economics and sociology and public policy. Many of these people even pursued such a life while working at businesses (the horror!) which took their ideas and insights and turned them into profits (a double horror!).

I suspect that no professor will deliver that message to a potential humanities grad student not merely because it's not in his department's best interests, but also because most members of the professoriate simply have no idea. They seem to view most careers outside of the university as crass, superficial and intellectually unsatisfying.

They don't know what they are missing.

You know what happens when you start saying stuff like "the life of the mind" to describe your vocation? This is what happens!!


However, if you can get through an interview like that, you're probably worth hiring.

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