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@RKNJL

You said: I think you’re conflating value with price. An education is no less valuable simply because other people have it.

 

I do not think this is the case. The value of anything is subjective, particularly that of something as murky as a college education. The degree itself (the piece of paper) does not have much value at all outside of its social perception. You can’t sell it, eat it, etc. It just asserts (in the eyes of society) that you have a certain skill or ability. It’s somewhat analogous to knowing a foreign language. Knowing, say, German, is a useful skill. You can get a job as a translator, a teacher, a researcher, etc. It has monetary worth. But extrapolating that into: knowing German has proved really useful for those who do, ergo, we should make everyone learn it - would not work. If every American learned German, it would not really have any value, it would just be a really big handicap not to know it.

Also, it is awesome to talk to a ZOG representative.

Half Summary, Half Polemic

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 33.5 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 in 2012 had at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 24.7 percent in 1995 and 21.9 percent in 1975. Several factors have contributed to this sharp rise in those earning college credentials. The Digital Age and its higher-paying jobs now require the digital training found at universities. Women’s share of degrees awarded keeps rising as they continue their multidecade surge into higher education. The weak economy of the last seven years has also made college a more attractive option for many of the unemployed, even though only half of those entering college in 2006 had graduated by 2012. Greener pastures await students who graduate. Job openings for college graduates have increased nine percent since the recession’s onset in December 2007. Last March’s employment data showed just 3.3. percent of college graduates unemployed versus 11.8 percent of American high-school graduates.

            As a result of this increased demand for college educations, student debt outstanding has more than quadrupled, soaring from $250 billion in 2003 to more than $1 trillion today, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Tuition at four-year colleges has increased more than six-fold since 1980, far outpacing the mere twofold increase in the Consumer Price Index over that same period. It will surprise no one that 75 percent of all college debt is held by households with an average net worth less than $79,000. Thanks to the economy’s continuing sluggishness, these modest families are now falling behind in servicing this unsecured debt. Student loans more than 90 days delinquent now make up 12 percent of the total, the worst performing segment of all consumer loans today.

           

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The Trouble Is…

The value of a thing decreases the more of it there is.

For example, if I got a gorgeous pair of 'Supreme Saville Pack' Vans folks would likely compliment me on their relative awesomeness, and my superior fashion sense. However, if everyone had them, no one would care. It would be like wearing black high-top Chucks, no one cares because they are so common.

It seems like the same might be true of education. If everyone gets a college degree, its economic worth will diminish greatly.

But going to college is just about learning and not about getting a good job! Bullshit. Learning is easy, and most college libraries are open to the public anyway (plus the internet and normal libraries and bookstores), if you just wanna learn stuff, read and talk with others who read. College is totally about getting a good job.

But college teaches invaluable skills and knowledge that everyone should have! I doubt it. It just is not the case that everyone should read Moby Dick and ponder whether or not the gender binary is a falsehood. Also, if the state decided to make classes regarding “necessary skills” mandatory, I would be very worried as to how they would wield that power.

For more see:

"The Diminishing Economic Advantage of a College Degree" by Richard Vedder

"Don’t Occupy Education?" by Charles C.W. Cooke

Got any thoughts?

Contradiction?

Zentropista fetishizes violence, rebellion, sexuality, youth, art, and old propaganda for a political purpose.

My blog does too. Is mine more legitimate and ethical because you agree with my politics more than his? 

(It’s been a few days, and the only note this gotten was Zentropista himself liking it, presumably because of his keen sense of irony; y’all are cowards)

Though Experiment

If

 

1) Attacking people, and vandalizing private property in the name of expanding government education is justified.

 

Then

 

2) Violence in the name of state-based education is justified.

 

Ergo

 

3) When states employ violence in the name of education, it is justified.

 

Implications…

 

When the Mexican government fucks up the Zapatistas because they are building their own schools, it is justified. (Zapatistas being attacked for this reason is not unheard of)

 

Right?

 

The implications go further. In the US, high school kids can go to prison for ditching to excess (almost went in myself for that). The reason for this is that minors are not considered to have their own agency, and hence cannot deny themselves their own right to an education. This is state violence, and is justified because it is in the name of education.

 

Or how about how many European states, that have the excellent free state-based education many of us covet, have made it illegal to home school children (Germany being the most vile example)? Imprisoning people for not sending their children to school is state violence that is justified in the name of education.

 

Even people who do not justify the “revolutionary violence” occasionally used by Chilean protestors over the last two or so years, the above two questions are tough.

 

How many nations out there have free school that is good and not mandatory?

 

Even then, once you have a standardized school system nation-wide, small communities are going to be the ones that will suffer from having to abide by the standardizations. Ethnic, racial, and religious minorities will likely loose their ability to teach their children as they see fit, and the central government isn’t likely to give a fuck. I suppose this is why it seems as though nationalized education has the best success rates in very homogeneous places.

 

Tough questions folks, any answers?

 

PS - Did y’all hear about that German family that fled to the US to be able to home-school their kids, and are now facing deportation because their asylum status is getting wonky? (Read about it) I’m really not okay with that. And now the Department of Justice is saying that home-schooling is not a right. It bothers me that this has become something almost exclusively reported on by the American right - should the left not care just because the family is evangelical? I’m really not okay with that.

 

Message me if you got thoughts on this.

What Inspired the Evolution in Thinking?

Naturally, some folks have inquired as to what I’ve been reading that’s making me doubt stuff. I didn’t really want to get into it, because it seemed sort of soapbox-y to let y’all know what’s made me maybe see the light; but enough people have asked, so here goes.

First, Left-anarchists, post-left anarchists, and Libertarian/Anarcho Communists seem less and less juvenile and utopic the more you read them. Particularly four sites:

 http://libcom.org/

http://c4ss.org/

http://www.crimethinc.com/

https://www.adbusters.org/

Second, I read more about school and schooling in general, which made me trust the state less and less. Particularly the concept of unschooling and the writings of John Holt and John Taylor Gatto.

Third, the general sociology of “who” the left is being led by in general began to bother me in a big way. It’s hard to pin down an explanation of it, but Michael Lind does a good job of it in this piece regarding the Democratic Party and OWS. Zizek also does it well here. Perhaps it could be best explained as a personal aversion to “bobos" - and the sense that if you’re doing something that they can get down with, you must be doing something wrong.

Fourth, I started reading a great deal of work by the philosopher Peter Singer, who is such a powerful thinker in the realm of ethics, but has a very limited interest in state-based solutions. Mainly because he doesn’t seem to think they will work very well. (I might be projecting a bit on to him, but his writing did get me here-ish in a big way.)

Fifth, the left is filled with many different ideas, and I started exploring a lot them. So many break through the basic political framework we see everything in, that just demanding that the state give “we the people” more began to seem more and more petty. Here’s a list of some other stuff that’s been rattling through my head, but I haven’t looked into as deeply as the above: workerism, SI, refusal of work (particularly Paul Lafargue’s The Right to be Lazy), green anarchism (by the way, permaculture is fascinating), and Panarchy. Also, my friend Robin Babb influenced me plenty in all of this, and gets into it here.

Anyway, my Communist friends all tell me I’m drowning in relativism, and since I started reading Attack the System. I’ve been accused of racism. Ironically, the president of a college I went to has been published on HuffPo advocating free college. Sorry to link dump you guys.

More Loose Ends

Regarding Tumblr resources, which I have gotten some requests for, below is an enormous list. I should note that not all of them are Chile blogs, but most are. In fact, some are just personal blogs of people who followed me that I developed weird Internet friendships with. Not all of these blogs are still active, and the languages vary a great deal. Sorry to those of you that I missed. I would also like to say that it’s hilarious how many people have unfollowed me since my last post.

 

Since it’s my blog and I’ll get mushy if I want to, here are a few shout outs. To the Italian dude who ran “2977and251” and later “self-repression” you were the king of Tumblr - sorry you had all those stalkers. Two others with sweet blogs who seem to have disappeared are “fasateenn, “theothertruths”, and “highfivery”, particularly the latter. I also have soft spots for nicole-alexandra who was my first follower, amonksverything who was my first international follower (Australians seem like a chill bunch), and maripaxz who was my first of many Chilean followers. All three seem like cool people. Same goes for lucas-veg, nacha-cyanide, and CaptainEntropy. Y’all should follow ‘em, and try not to be too butt-hurt if I didn’t mention you. Oh, and I really gotta thank unfunnywhitegirl for hyping me back in the day.

Also, a dude who knows me wrote a book about me and is selling it online. (Seriously, he asked me to post something about it forever ago, this not weird self-hype)

 

For the epic list, click “Read More”

 

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Probably the End-ish

I haven’t posted on this blog in well over half a year. Sorry. I was busy with school and then a bunch of different summer projects came up, and honestly… I sorta forgot about it. Given that this blog has been up for about two years now, I feel that I should write some kind of concluding post.

 

As far as Chilean politics and the student movement are concerned, here a few very summarized notes - a very mixed bag. Many people will disagree with the following, but their dissent will flow more from self-righteous hope than meaningful counter-evidence. The movement is dead. Looking back, it really took a turn south by the end of 2011 when school let out and the protestors more or less took the summer off. There were occasional spurts of activity thereafter, like March and September of 2012, but the intense and constant flow of energy that had characterized the winter of 2011 (remember gringos, seasons are reversed) was never regained. Yes, even recently there have been meaningful actions taken by students, like the almost two month occupation of the University of Chile - but don’t kid yourselves, the game is up. In order to succeed, mass social movements need a level of sustained action that has long left the student movement Chile. If one of these small embers were going to reignite the fire, it would have happened by now. Like so many social movements born in the last half decade, Camila and the Neo-Penguins are now little more than a subject for sociological dissection.

 

That being said, free college may yet be achieved. Chile has a presidential election in a few short months, and if you ask nearly anyone, they will tell you that Michelle Bachelet is a shoo-in.  Though Bachelet was certainly not on “our” side when she was president, she is at least talking about making higher education free now. Will she actually do it?  Fuck if I know, it doesn’t seem impossible, but it is also far from guaranteed.

 

So that’s my take. Quite frankly, I’m not super interested in debating it. I am not nearly as well-versed in Chilean politics as I was a year ago, and my interests have drifted. Sorry, but my heart just isn’t in it anymore.  Plus I was never very good at not taking the bait when people would message me.

 

Regarding the blog itself, this post is more or less it. (Unless of course I get sucked into some big debate, or decide to make it into some kind of generic Chile blog) I am not going to delete it, ever. Though I am still glad I never put up ads or a Paypal thing, I might do it now. I am really glad I was never motivated by anything other than genuine interest when I was actually blogging, now that I am done it sort of feels like getting a bit of funds for all the work I put into it would be alright. If you are a broke 15-25 year old, please don’t give me five bucks - go buy coffee for someone who turns you on. But if you’re some kind of tenured college professor or Bobo who has gotten something out of this blog, y’all are welcome to give me some money. I don’t know if I will actually do this or not, but if I do, seriously, if you are just another poor undergrad save your money for concerts or something - don’t give it to me.

 

Anyway, looking back I have somewhat mixed feelings about this blog. On the one hand, it seems cool - I got photos from all over the place and translated them - good enough. Plus I wrote about meaningful details regarding Chile’s history, politics, etc. On the other hand, I never once wrote about the numbers or economics of the issue at hand. A problem I have with progressivism in general is that we care nothing for math. People who are really good at economics generally don’t agree with our plans, and tell us that they won’t work. Our reaction is to tell them that they are greedy monsters, and assert loudly that we have rights. I think this is the reason the Paul Krugman is placed on such a high pedestal; he is one of the few numbers guys who agrees with us. For those of you who think I am exaggerating, ask yourselves how many left-wingers you know with degrees in economics. How many leftwing bloggers detail the economic plans they have? I never did, and I don’t know of any other blog that covered Chile (in either language) that did. We talked about rights, Pinochet, and posted inspiring photos. It was fun, but just fetishizing the aesthetics of protests (especially violent ones) has limits - and can ultimately prove dangerous.

 

The fact that photos of violence always got so many more notes than the ones of peaceful protestors (except for those of peaceful feminists, which always traveled far) always bothered me. I tried to have as comprehensive a collection of images as possible, meaning that the violent and the peaceful got thrown in together, because they both happened. But I never thought much of the kids who seemed to just be throwing rocks and shit at cops for fun. As time went on, it became steadily more and more obvious that all the vandalizing was hurting the movement more than helping. Yet people could not get enough of those images. It seemed that so long as you agreed with free college, you could do no wrong. The same goes for many of the creepier Communists involved with the movement. Camila Vallejo herself is a member of Chile’s Communist Party… which gave its condolences to North Korea after their “dear leader” died. What the fuck? I’m really not okay with that, nor was I ever crazy about how frequently “fuckyeahmarxismleninism" would reblog from me. Communists are really okay with killing lots of people, and I am really not okay with killing lots of people. I always liked the idea of using Sweden or Finland as a model, but way more people wanted to talk about Cuba and the USSR. I think that’s because looking at Sweden involves doing math, while looking at Cuba involves fetishizing the aesthetics of rebellion and violence. One is hard, the other is glamorous.

 

How many of these thoughts were held by me while I was blogging and how many have bubbled to the service since I stopped?  I don’t really know. I definitely “played the game” from time to time. It frequently seemed counter-productive to chastise people who dug on my blog just because we disagreed on whether or not Castro was on to something. Look, I am not trying to wag my finger at everybody, but I would like to note that of all the social movements on the left that sprung up in the last few years, very few remain. Populist right-wingers have had much more success, and we should ask ourselves why.

 

Given that this rant has already overshot the 1,000-word mark, I should probably wrap things up. Two more big questions I have: 1) Where do “rights” come from. 2) How certain are we that our problems can/should be solved by the state? Anyway, it’s been fun. I wish we were all more peaceful and better with numbers. Thank you all so much for following me!

 

If you wanna keep up with Chile in English:

 

http://www.ilovechile.cl/

http://www.santiagotimes.cl/

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/chile-student-protests

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/chile?INTCMP=SRCH

 

http://upsidedownworld.org/main/chile-archives-34

 

Regarding Latin America overall, news in general, and Chile too, I would dig around:

 

http://www.aljazeera.com/

 

http://inthesetimes.com/

 

http://weeksnotice.blogspot.com/

 

http://www.americasquarterly.org/current

 

http://thepeoplesrecord.com/

Faustino’s Patagonia Retreat

Chileans (well, and people) like this make me wonder if the solutions to our problems really are to be found in the state. Regardless, this video makes me miss being in Chile so bad, it’s been a while.

http://www.vice.com/far-out/faustinos-patagonian-retreat-full-length