Student Loans are Worsening Inequality, with Thomas Piketty
Student loans are intended to provide everyone with equal access to education, but the staggering amount of student loan debt that Americans currently hold is retarding economic growth and entrenching wealth inequality.
Student loans are intended to provide everyone with equal access to education, but the staggering amount of student loan debt that Americans currently hold — estimated at over $1 trillion — is retarding economic growth and entrenching wealth inequality.
Or at least according to the exhaustive analysis of French economist Thomas Piketty, whose academic treatise, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, became a popular success and carried with it the cultural weight of a work by Adam Smith or Karl Marx.
The central observation of Piketty's work is that money works differently now than ever before. Invested income has grown at a rate outpacing the rise in wages, meaning the rich get richer and the poor stay about the same (or get poorer relative to inflation). And as college tuition has grown, the loans required to sustain it become more burdensome.
"In other countries in the developed world, you don't have such massive student debt because you have more public support to higher education. And I think the plan that was proposed earlier this year in 2015 by President (Barack) Obama to increase public funding to public universities and community college is exactly justified. This is really the key for higher growth in the future and also for a more equitable growth."
Having to pay back hefty loans while looking for your first professional experience is a mentally taxing experience. It can cause undue stress and depression, which makes functioning well in a professional environment all the more difficult.
It also makes you more likely to accept positions that do not take full advantage of your qualifications, because you need a paycheck now, and complicates starting your own business, which requires difficult periods of cash-poorness.
At what point can we say that the deal has gone south for Americans who owe large amounts of student loans? Some students attending for-profit universities have publicly refused to repay their loans, arguing the services they received did not match what they paid in tuition.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
How you talk to people with drug addiction might save their life.
- Addiction is a learning disorder; it's not a sign that someone is a bad person.
- Tough love doesn't help drug-addicted people. Research shows that the best way to get people help is through compassion, empathy and support. Approach them as an equal human being deserving of respect.
- As a first step to recovery, Maia Szalavitz recommends the family or friends of people with addiction get them a complete psychiatric evaluation by somebody who is not affiliated with any treatment organization. Unfortunately, warns Szalavitz, some people will try to make a profit off of an addicted person without informing them of their full options.
The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.
- Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
- Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
- All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.