11 comments on “Timmy elsewhere

  1. Hmmm. The overtraining aspect is actually a conspiracy. It keeps the professors in work and competition for tenured jobs tough (hence the labour cheap). A PhD on the outside should be earning more than his prof within about 5 years. If not it’s their own failure to adapt to the real world having failed to make it in academicland.

    Even in academicland almost anyone can get on if they are prepared to make compromises. There is no shortage of demand for first-year life sciences lecturers at nameless mid-western liberal arts colleges or third-tier former polys. And the student body in such place is, truth be told, nicer than the stuck up gits that go to the top schools. The research opportunities of course are minimal to non-existent. A professorship at Stanford is, however, a positional good of such extreme value that most of us ex-academics will leave academia rather than settle for (much) less.

  2. Tim’s talking about this as if academia has become leftish. On the contrary, the behaviour is the central core of the academic world & has been so since Professor Ug pointed a twig at the first cave painting. It’s this principle leftism’s based on, spawned as t was by academia..

  3. Not sure about that. Academia is leftist because it gets the majority of its money from the government and other involuntary sources. Like everyone else, academics are self-interested, but the self-interested who fund themselves with other peoples’ money tend to dress that self-interest up as selflessness.

  4. This is a common feature to high-status jobs. Whether it’s academia, journalism, arts, music, or sports, there can only be a small number of winners and hence a large number of losers.

    In most of those (except sports), the winners then go on to spout left-wing bollocks. No idea why.

  5. One thing has to be said Rebecca Shuman may not have made tenure… but she has a nice turn of phrase as an article writer… I liked these
    …..”today’s academic job market is a “market” in the sense that one stall selling fiddlehead ferns in the middle of a strip mall is a “farmer’s market.”……
    And
    “….when this happens, and it will, it will feel as if the entirety of your human self has been rejected because you are no good at whatever branch of literature-ruining you have chosen.””
    (it’s the ruining bit.. I like so much)

    ……

  6. @ Andrew M – you forgot politics in your list of high status jobs, in which there is the largest number of losers of all – we all have to pay for their continual fuck ups.

  7. I am not sure a viciously competitive market based around objective markers of quality is terribly lefty.

    academic economics is only about as lefty as society is lefty, at that level of education and income.

    other parts of academia are very left, not I think because of the institutional set up or sources of funding but because of the sorts of people who sort into being bookish clever clogs and going off and making money

  8. To answer Andrew and Luis simultaneously, those who have made tenure can afford to be leftist, and it strokes their egos to believe the system is meritocratic. they have earned their position as peoples’ commissars for knowledge.

    Academia is a viciously competitive market but it is not based around objective markers of quality.

  9. If we burned 90% of the universities to the ground and put the staff to work in salt mines it would improve our country immeasurably.

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