Over-education and free college

I agree with most of Sanders' policies, much more than any other candidate. However, I cringe somewhat about his views on education, which seem only kinda half right. Sanders wants to give everyone free access to college, which would be better than what we have now. But...

What he doesn't say (or realize?) is – over-education should be discouraged, because it's competition for a positional good. Hanson and Caplan have had a good conversation about this over the years.

Compared to early employment, college is ineffective at conveying useful skills. It's a competition between individuals about who's going to be "better educated". In this competition, the nation can't do better as a whole by throwing more resources into it. You just get a lot of college graduates who then make for reluctant baristas, many having to settle for something "below" their degree.

The current college loans are unambiguously bad. They drive up the cost of participating in this competition that is pointless to begin with, and yet cannot be avoided because it's seen as the herald of everyone's economic success.

Making college free or low-cost can certainly be part of a solution. There will always be competition for this positional good, and it's important that this competition does not favor rich people. So good so far, I think.

But most importantly, people just shouldn't be going to college as much. For most folks, there's nothing to learn there.

And of course, this is unpopular because it hurts people's fetish for being educated. sigh There's so much identity invested into this.

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