Information Technology Will Lower the Price of College, or Else...
Journalist Fareed Zakaria discusses the true cost of American higher education and the structural changes that must take place to correct an unsustainable trend.
Fareed Zakaria has been called “the most influential foreign policy adviser of his generation” (Esquire). He is the Emmy-nominated host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, a contributing editor for The Atlantic, a columnist for The Washington Post, and the bestselling author of The Post-American World and The Future of Freedom. He lives in New York City.
Fareed Zakaria: The problem of the cost of college is an enormous one and it’s real. And frankly it’s true whether you’re a liberal arts grad, you’re an engineering graduate because you’re still facing those issues of debt and is it worth it. So I have a few things to say about that. First is the data still shows that a college education is worth the investment. That is your earnings will be higher over your lifetime because you have a college degree and they will be significantly higher than the cost of that college degree over the lifetime. Point one. Two, there isn’t that much difference in the lifetime earnings of an engineering graduate and a non-engineering graduate. The engineering graduates start out higher, but it equalizes after a while. Point three, the real change that one has to hope is happening is that the cost of college is going down and that it will therefore allow people to be more experimental, to follow their passions, to pursue what they want to. And the cost of college is going down because information technology and the information revolution are finally hitting colleges, finally hitting education. Education is a field remarkably unchanged basically in, you know, several thousand years.
And if you think about the way the ancient Greeks taught at schools — a guy would stand up in front of a classroom, teach a bunch of people; they would listen and that’s really what a college seminar is even today, right. But now it’s changing because online education is going to massively change the way in which education is delivered, but also the way it is priced. And if that happens my hope is that it will produce a huge expansion of liberal education for everybody, but it will also allow people to be more risk-seeking in terms of their educational choices. If you’re paying, you know, a thousand dollars for 20 online courses, then it’s not as difficult to say I’m just going to follow my passion, get really good at this, perfect it, do really well, and whether it’s English or history or philosophy or physics or chemistry, you will do it in a way that really reflects who you are and your intellectual curiosity. And you’re probably going to be better at it if you do something you’re passionate about.
If universities cannot get their cost structures under control, we have a problem no matter what. And the problem is frankly beyond the issue of liberal education. It’s STEM, or engineering. It is just that it is getting to the point where it is unaffordable. We have a problem with two areas of our economy. We have wrung inflation out of every other aspect of the economy in the last 40 years. The two areas where costs have risen several times the rate of inflation for 40 years now are health care and education. And they share some similar characteristics. In both cases, the consumer tends to be somewhat price-insensitive because they view this as something that you can’t put a monetary value on. The customer is not the person actually paying. Often there’s a federal government or governmental involvement with lots of third-party payments. So the price signals are complicated and muted. The consumer is not as price-sensitive and that allows for enormous amounts of cost distortion and frankly inflation. So I think that in both areas you’re going to see information technology begin to change that dynamic. And if it doesn’t happen, look, you can’t have education rise at three times the rate of inflation for another 30 years. That is simply unsustainable.
It's no secret that the inflated cost of American higher education is a major problem that needs to be addressed. The cost of college cannot be allowed to continue to rise at three times the rate of inflation for another 30 years. That is simply unsustainable. In this video, journalist Fareed Zakaria addresses three key points related to the true cost of American higher education. First, it's still a good investment despite the price. Second, it's a myth that there's a huge difference in the lifetime earnings of an engineering graduate and a non-engineering graduate. Third, if the cost of college goes down, it will allow for a new era of experimentation in education. Paramount to Zakaria's third point is that it's taken far too long for information technology and the information revolution to tackle higher education. Major structural changes rooted in new technologies must be allowed to happen because the alternative is a total collapse of the education system.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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