Friday, August 18, 2006

supply and demand

Kevin Carson of the Mutualist blog writes [first item]:
"The only solution to income polarization... is more income polarization. The main effect of subsidized college education was to dumb down college education to the previous level of high school education, while making a batchelor's degree obligatory for jobs that previously required a high school diploma. If graduate education is similarly subsidized, we'll see grad schools eagerly dumbing down standards to attract the money, and pretty soon everybody in America will have to have an M.A. to do any job that pays better than dishwasher. Subsidized higher education has simply made technical manpower cheaper to business, and encouraged it to adopt capital-intensive, skill-intensive production models that create technological unemployment for the uneducated. Given that subsidized education is one of the main reasons for the two-tier economy, advocating even more subsidized education in the belief that it will reduce income disparity is rather, well, shitheaded."

Sounds reasonable -- subsidizing and thus increasing the supply of overeducated workers will effectively drive the demand for those goods higher than it would be otherwise.

It's the next part I don't get; ceteris paribus, the increase of degreed professionals will drop the price for this sort of labor, thus flattening income disparity as the marginal value of professional accreditation is lowered. Wouldn't that mean that white collar labor ought to expect to see their labor rates lowering to approach those in the blue collar sector?

1 comment:

Kevin Carson said...

Thanks for the link.

The reason I think such policies lead to income disparity is that they promote production models based on deskilling and two-tier wage markets. The state's overproduction of technical labor-power makes it cheaper for the employer than it would otherwise be, but it also leads to the decimation of older categories of skilled blue collar craft workers as an intermediate category, and drives them down into the category of unskilled service workers.