I recently read an article featured in our Editors’ Picks about the greatest food in the world (the ‘humble’ McDouble for anyone that missed it), chosen as such mainly because of its affordability and energy content. This got me thinking: will we have enough food to go around in the long run, or will we all be forced to survive on McDoubles for sustenance?
This article is a follow up to my first report on my honours field-trip to Bangladesh (available here if you haven’t yet read it). Within this piece I’ll outline my second week in the country, which thankfully wasn’t affected by the hartels (political strikes) which prevented us from being able to leave our Dhaka guesthouse in the first week.
Our field trip to Bangladesh happened to coincide with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which was a definite double edged sword.
As a student, much of my surroundings comprise haunting visions of people buried under piles of books, papers, cans of V, and suffering from sleep deficits of budgetary proportions whilst attempting to highlight whole textbooks.
Indeed, popular attitudes to studying may or may not be reflected in Urban Dictionary, which defines studying as “texting, eating and watching TV with an open textbook nearby”. A more candid entry simply defines studying as “no homework”.
Studying has become a distracted undertaking and hardly productive. So it’s a little heartening to know that the rest of Australia is getting less productive too.
From discussing the possibilities of making tertiary education more accessible, I now segue to the other side of the debate: Are there too many people getting university degrees, and are they worth it?
The issue is exacerbated in the US, where the stakes are so much higher. A college education not only incorporates all the learning during the years of your degree, but is also the quintessential cultural experience of every middle-class youth: from madly rushing fraternities, to playing beer pong at the pre-football match tailgate party, to sharing the best places on campus for an all-nighter before finals – there comes a time in every man’s life, and college is not that time. But behind all the fun are the hours spent working and the years of family planning to accumulate the college fund necessary to pay for the degree.
Peter Theil, American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, hedge fund manager, first outside investor in Facebook and all-round success-story offers his two cents:
“Education is a bubble in a classic sense…It’s basically extremely overpriced. People are not getting their money’s worth…And at the same time it is something that is incredibly intensely believed; there’s this sort of psycho-social component to people taking on these enormous debts when they go to college simply because that’s what everybody’s doing.”1