Technology, a website by and for the financial services industry, recently published an article titled 5 graduate degrees that don’t pay off .  Among those listed were computer engineering (#2), PR, advertising and mass-media programs (#3),  a law degree from a fourth-tier school (#4), and atmospheric sciences and meteorology (#5).

The list makes a partial degree of sense to me but I don’t understand what relationship most of the entries have to financial services, and I’d go a step further by suggesting that any degree in any subject from a fourth-tier school is probably a waste of time and money unless your sole objective is adding initials and abbreviations to your business card to make it more awe-inspiring.  I also note a  question of morality in a great deal of PR, advertising and mass-media programs which, ironically,  benefit Wall Street greatly.

Whether or not the other three are applicable to financial services is beyond my ken but at least they can generate a decent income, self satisfaction and, in the case of atmospheric sciences and meteorology, serve the greater good (see my Global Warming and Incoming Bad Stuff.)

What really caught my eye was Master of Fine Arts at #1 on the list.

There is more going on here than a list of disciplines that generally don’t make money for the financial services industry.  5 graduate degrees that don’t pay off  says a great deal about how we see ourselves and value (or don’t value) ourselves and our society overall.  It is an indictment that brings to mind an observation by Herbert Marcuse in One Dimensional Man (1964) to the effect that when surrounded by an irrational environment the only rational response is to behave irrationally.

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I wish I could claim authorship of the following but I can’t; not a word of it is mine.  I came across it while the Internet was yet in its infancy and have kept it all these years as a kind of sociological comfort blanket.  One Man’s Opinion

I’ve seen it attributed, but only once, to a Punch article in the early 1960’s, which seems questionable, and will happily give the proper author his or her due if the “Punch Theory” can be substantiated;  for the most part this piece and a companion I’ve since lost titled P.E.N.C.I.L. circulated the universe via email.

To my old fogies’ sense of priorities and values the wry warnings of the future seem to have proven true beyond what Author X may have feared. Those apprehensions come to mind often when I’m faced with a crowd, often of young people or young adults while they talk to or text to nobody in sight, completely ignoring the flesh-and-blood humans who surround them.

The same apprehensions arise  when I am given to understand they are hurrying to finish “writing” their school assignments on a computer (with Spell-Check, of course) and drawing on the vast information available on the Internet (much of which is of questionable value) only leaving, if they must, their perches to text friends and relations.

Enough of my outdated sensibilities…. for now.


Introducing the new Bio-Optical Organized Knowledge device, trade named B.O.O.K.

BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology; no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It’s so easy to use, even a child can operate it. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere — even sitting in an armchair by the fire — yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

Here’s how it works.

BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) Read More