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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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The Problem with For-Profit College

June 21, 2010, 5:34 AM
Should the government continue to give loans to students who attend for-profit colleges given their high dropout and loan default rates? Gary Becker and Richard Posner weigh in on the debate. "College graduates earn substantially higher salaries than less-educated workers, but it is doubtful whether, in the aggregate, graduates of for-profit colleges earn enough more to compensate for the costs and the dropout risk," says Becker. Posner writes that, "while stiffer default rules on government subsidized student loans are needed, for-profits should not be discriminated against in these rules since they offer valuable forms of education. With lower allowable default rates, for-profit (and other colleges) would cut back on the number of students accepted whom they expect to eventually default on their student loans."

The Problem with For-Profit...

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