Wellness & Well-being Highlights
Week of August 14, 2023
This week’s edition of our Worker Wellness & Well-being blog consists of topics from the launch of a new mini-series on the US opioids crisis (“Painkiller” on Netflix) to how police are testing high drivers to why younger workers in China, India, and Vietnam are avoiding factory jobs. Today, I wish to shed some light on the issue of the college “arms race”. For the past couple of decades, many universities have been on a spending spree: Building more specialized labs, rec centers, stadiums, etc. Some administrators have claimed they needed to do this to recruit the best and brightest students. In the end, it is the students and their families who paid for these amenities…but at what cost? In an era of “college for all”, too many parents pushed their kids to attend tertiary education—often aimlessly—and, now, more than a few graduates are claiming to have worthless degrees. It is no secret that: 1) Universities, for the most part, were one of a few industries in the US that continued to raise their prices, year after year, during the Great Recession (2007-2012); and 2) Student debt is one of the few types of debt, in general, one cannot file for bankruptcy. With these points in mind, is there any wonder why:
- student debt ($1.6t) now exceeds the sub-prime mortgage debacle in 2007 ($1.2t); and
- young adults are putting off traditions like marriage and home-buying?
Some of us may have friends who have “joked” about their 28-32 yo children living in their basements. Recent surveys reveal that too many of these young adults are now convinced their lives will not be better than that of their parents. With respect to the so-called American Dream, one might ask how the related actions of Congress, bankers, and universities have done more harm than good?
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