On Majoring in Economics and Making Money

@DebtOrAlive I definitely agree -- based on what my research interests ended up being in grad school, I wish I could go back in time and study something like economic history instead of political science for undergrad. Plus it's a benefit to the field to have more diverse types of people and perspectives represented. And as with any liberal arts degree, it's not like you won't still get plenty of chances to read books/study art/write plays or whatever...

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 2:04 pm 0

On Majoring in Economics and Making Money

I'd also wager that living in the kinds of high-cost cities where economics/political science jobs are concentrated also increases your desire to earn more?

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 1:58 pm 0

On Engineers in the "Power Class"

@McCalmont Very good point, I will now quit my job and commit myself to changing the world through car sharing instead.

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 10:55 am 0

On Engineers in the "Power Class"

@forget it i quit Sorry for my tone, I was angry at the arrogant techies, not your comment. However the whole history of tech employment is that software, computer, and other IT-related jobs are lost at a faster rate and recovered more slowly than other job categories during recessions, including not only the dot-com crash but also the '91 recession. (I haven't seen IT jobs data for the early 80s recession but 97% of the video games market specifically was wiped out in 1983 which I'm sure made a big dent since games were the major portion of the consumer-facing IT market at the time.) Only the most recent recession has been an exception, and even then we still haven't made up past losses. It's true that software engineers in are in demand in many industries, but cutting back on IT procurement and deferring maintenance/upgrades also happens to be a very easy way to save money in a downturn, so the job is far from recession-proof, or even recession-resistant. I know this seems pedantic but I think it's really important to correct this narrative since policy is now being made based on such false assumptions. Total Silicon Valley employment in every tech category except aerospace and pharma is actually DOWN from its 2001 peak, and nationwide there are almost 1 million fewer people in IT-related jobs today than in 2001. Those that remain are significantly more highly paid, however. There's a lot of interesting questions for economists in those labor market dynamics, but learn to code = good job for life is a really bad thing for anyone to think, especially someone making education or labor policy or even personal decisions that will put them into student loan debt...

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 3:08 pm 2

On Engineers in the "Power Class"

@forget it i quit IT-related employment has STILL not even recovered the jobs lost in the dot-com crash. So I guess it's recession-proof so long as your historical memory does not extend beyond the most recent recession?

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 1:51 pm 0

On Engineers in the "Power Class"

Writing code is just as important and useful as understanding the workings of electricity, plumbing, internal combustion engines, buildings, airplanes, air conditioning, and other technologies that make modern civilization possible and/or comfortable. But no more.

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 1:41 pm 3

On $45 a Month for a Bottomless Cup of Coffee

Hm. But wouldn't the coffee fall out?

Posted on April 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm 2

On How We Think About Class

I think it's pretty much impossible to disentangle race, ethnicity, and social class in this country, or probably almost any country. Class differences within different communities will have different markers -- clothes, accent, skin tone, where you went to school. Between groups I think people rely quite a lot on racial and ethnic stereotypes as shorthand. Just consider the different assumptions a person might make about a party of black Americans arriving at the same restaurant in a fancy new BMW. Or a Latino man in a tuxedo outside of a black tie event. Or, for that matter, a scruffy white guy in a hoodie and torn jeans walking down the street late at night. I get to see this every day in the subtly different ways my wife and I are treated in our neighborhood, despite our identical levels of education, similar status jobs, and the way we dress (both our workplaces have formal dress codes, though I probably dress more casually/sloppily than she does otherwise). I'm pretty sure the vast majority of "class" judgments (right or wrong) that people make about each of us are based primarily on race and, in her case, way of speaking.

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 2:31 pm 0

On 'Working Your Way Through College' Now Basically a Myth

@Perth Yes that is exactly what I meant!

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 11:45 pm 1

On 'Working Your Way Through College' Now Basically a Myth

My dad put himself through an engineering degree at Maryland working in a gas station in the late 60s/early 70s (peak real minimum wage) and had a kid. Now he's a Republican, sigh.

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm 3