What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Michael Ellsberg: I live in New York and there's this Occupy Wall Street activity happening. I actually haven't been down there yet but I've been following it a fair amount and one of the main things they're talking about is student debt and you see these photos of people who say, I'm $100,000 in debt and I don't have a job.  

This is a really big issue right now. The average student graduates with $23,000 in debt. That's a lot of debt for a 22 year old, and if you combine that with not having a job that leads to a toxic situation. Student loan debt is the only form of debt that is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, which means that it is a very dangerous and risky kind of debt. 

It's frightening that we encourage young people, often when they're not even legal adults yet. They can't legally vote, they can't join the military, they can't legally buy a pack of cigarettes or beer, they can't do any of that stuff... but it's fine if they want to sign their name off to a $100,000 in student debt, which they will not be able to get out of when they graduate if they can't pay it.

So what you're finding now is a lot of young people who are in a significant amount of debt, $23,000, 50,000, 100,000, and who are depending on being able to get a good job to be able to pay that debt off. Instead what they've found is a job at Starbucks if they're lucky - that's even hard to get these days. There's lines outside the Starbucks whenever they have a career fair. They're making seven dollars an hour, ten dollars an hour, fifteen, twenty dollars an hour; they've got to pay off $100,000 in debt. And a lot of these young people are defaulting.

Quite frankly, the salesmen of higher education are not warning their customers - their marks if you will- about this risk. All they say is, here's this rosy picture you get if you get our BA degree, our law degree, our MBA - here's all the wonderful things that are likely to happen to you. They don't talk about the other side: and here's the risk that you might be in the hole for $100 grand that you can't pay off because you don't have a job and the compound interest is spiralling upward.

To not talk about those risks borders on fraud, and it is certainly unethical that these people are selling this form of higher education and not talking about these very, very significant and serious risks.  

Directed /  Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

 

Earth to Academia: Student ...

Newsletter: Share: