The American education system is a waste of both time and money—at least according to Bryan Caplan, author of the new book, The Case Against Education. Rather than actually impart useful skills, education’s benefits stem mainly from “signaling,” implying that as a nation we could drastically reduce years of schooling and be no worse off. It’s an explosive thesis challenging the conventional wisdom of labor economists, but is it right?

Bryan Caplan is a professor of economics at George Mason University, a regular blogger at EconLog, and author of the books Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, and The Myth of the Rational Voter.

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  1. RufusRJones Member

    Bryan Caplan is my new favorite person. The whole education system needs to be completely atomized.

    • #1
    • March 6, 2018, at 3:14 PM PST
  2. Texmoor Coolidge

    As someone who got a useless degree and is back in school to learn something more productive, I couldn’t agree more with Bryan Caplan (especially the foreign language requirement as I struggled with it so much)!

    • #2
    • March 7, 2018, at 7:25 AM PST
    • 1 like
  3. Stina Member

    This is my first podcast listening and I loved it! Especially the focus on literacy and numeracy. My 6 year old is not reading yet and her K teacher keeps sending homework we are not completing because I spend our at home time on reading and numbers.

    I enjoyed the college talk. We are not banking on college. We are working on saving $1k per year per child, but it will be kept in more versatile savings and investment arrangements. If my daughter wants to be a housewife and my son wants to be a farmer, we’ll go alternative routes!

    Cost of education and employers using it as a signal drives up the cost of employment. Employers are going to be increasingly less willing to pay the price for the sticker they want and I don’t know how much longer that can sustain itself, especially if American graduates are competing with foreign graduates with more affordable stickers.

    Also, everyone trying to get a sticker increases demand and drives up cost. So we need to walk this line carefully and balance the factors at play.

    • #3
    • March 7, 2018, at 1:37 PM PST
    • 1 like