Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nominal Illusion

I do think some olds (as always, defined as anybody older than I am) do suffer from serious nominal illusion, and fail to mentally adjust for inflation when they compare the plight of The Kids Today with the horrors of their youths. Awhile back I saw some academic blogger deriding her undergraduates for their absurd expectations that they should make $40K year at their first job. And, you know what? Maybe today that is an absurd expectation, but while that could be a sober assessment of the current state of affairs, it's more importantly an observation about the fact that things are totally fucked up and bullshit.

I graduated from a mediocre (in reputation and ranking, not knocking it) state school in 1993. Damn straight students expected that they could earn TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS annually at their first jobs, which is what $40K today would have been then. I'm not saying all students did. We graduated into a recession, and things don't always work out as they should, but nobody at that time thought TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS was some absurd amount of money for someone just out of college to earn. It was pretty much the minimum of what people expected. 40 hours/week 50 weeks/year is 12 bucks per hour.

And I haven't even mentioned how much cheaper tuition was then...