Why society prizes plumbers over puppeteers

For a read that is illuminating, maddening and oddly entertaining all rolled into one there’s this from the Marginal Revolution blog.

Writer Alex Tabarrok begins with an excerpt from The Nation that he says illustrates the argument that “American students are not studying the fields with the greatest economic potential”:

A few years ago, Joe Therrien, a graduate of the NYC Teaching Fellows program, was working as a full-time drama teacher at a public elementary school in New York City. Frustrated by huge class sizes, sparse resources and a disorganized bureaucracy, he set off to the University of Connecticut to get an MFA in his passion – puppetry. Three years and $35,000 in student loans later, he emerged with degree in hand, and because puppeteers aren’t exactly in high demand … he’s working at his old school as a full-time “substitute” … [earning less than he did before].

… Like a lot of the young protesters who have flocked to Occupy Wall Street, Joe had thought that hard work and education would bring, if not class mobility, at least a measure of security … But the past decade of stagnant wages for the 99 percent and million-dollar bonuses for the 1 percent has awakened the kids of the middle class to a national nightmare: the dream that coaxed their parents to meet the demands of work, school, mortgage payments and tuition bills is shattered.

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