This Sums it Up...

It will be no surprise to frequent readers that I am a fan of both Paul Krugman and Greg Mankiw. We link to both of their blogs and have referenced the work of both in posts and on the Twitter feed. Both are incredibly intelligent and both typically provide interesting contributions to the hot debates of the day. However, despite appreciating the logic and style of both, I often find myself agreeing with the latter more often than the former.

The cult of the 99%  which has arisen out of the Occupy Movement has led to a virtual debate between the two which summarizes very well why I more often than not end up in Camp Mankiw. Mr. Krugman's analysis, suggesting, if I may be blunt, that education no longer matters in our society of 'oligarchs,' can be found here and here. Meanwhile, Mr. Mankiw's admittedly slightly aspirational (though factually-based) assertion that education, while no guarantee, is still one factor in ultimate success can be found here.

Call me a sucker for the system, but it must be true that education is still a factor in career success. On one hand, it is true that education does not immediately guarantee higher wages (Krugman). However, it is also true that many individuals would not even be able to get off the ground floor in our current society without a degree or two (Mankiw). Though the cost of education has soared in recent years, and though I do believe that more individuals in our society should be encouraged into trade schools and other more suitable alternatives to the typical undergraduate path, gaining an education is still a valuable proposition for the average American worker in a service economy.

Alternately, it could be that the lump of student debt I have accumulated leads me to hope Mankiw is right in a case of self-serving blindness. I suppose I will have to get back to you in about 20 years for confirmation.

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