Bryan Caplan's Case Against Higher Education

Each year, the government spends $80 billion dollars on subsidies to higher education, making it more attractive for high school students to spend four of their most critical years studying topics only marginally more useful than underwater basket weaving. Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, admits to being an Ivory Tower academic (he jokes that he's now in the 41st grade) and that most of his students won't ever use the material he teaches. He also thinks we spend way too much for "products" like his. This honest insiders perspective only lends more credibility to his new book, The Case against Education: Why the Education System Is a Waste of Time and Money. However, Caplan acknowledges that he’s fighting an uphill battle against rational self-interest. For most kids, college still pays, and employers still want that piece of paper certifying that its recipient is “system-approved” — i.e., smart enough to play the game, follow directions, and tolerate substantial boredom in the pursuit of abstract goals. While other economists might be afraid to voice such a contrarian opinion, Caplan has never shied away from unpopular opinion (ah, tenure).

Know any high school students considering an alternative to the elaborate and expensive system of hoops we call the University? Get them to tune in, too, and share the link to our Medium article.

Bryan Caplan's case against higher education