What’s a degree really worth?

A story in the Wall Street Journal today, asks this question.

There are all sorts of questions about topic and I doubt it’s going away, as college costs continue to rise and more students feel the weight of student loan debt coupled with a stagnating job market. The story argues the original numbers used to calculate the earnings benefits of high school versus college graduates were flawed and that, it may no longer be big a difference.

This discussion goes on a lot in the startup forums and blogs I read among 20-somethings who 1) have almost always gone to college and 2) seem to have appropriate backup plans if their bright ideas don’t quite work. But what about folks who don’t have that luxury? Is there really a substitute for the leg up in the job market that even one degree provides?

Are people thinking of this as they market their institutions or is it just business as usual?

The financial crisis in Plain English…sorta

There aren’t a bevy of sites out there that are planning to explain the financial crisis in Plain English. Maybe there are, it’s just not easy to google them.

In any case, Freakonomics blog decided to start chatting about the financial crisis and the explanations at least give an overview.

That doesn’t make the so-called solution any easier to swallow, but…alas, at least you know what’s going on now.

Lifestyles of the not-quite-as-rich

The unintentional hilarity of this article from the NY Times on the hard times that the wealthy are facing in this economy cannot be overstated.

THEIR spouses could leave them when they discover that their net worth has collapsed to eight figures from nine. Friends and business associates could avoid them as they pass their lunchtime tables at Barney’s or the Four Seasons. And these snubs could trickle down to their children.

“They fear their kids won’t get invited to the right birthday parties,” said Michele Kleier, an Upper East Side-based real estate broker. “If they have to give up things that are invisible, they’re O.K. as long as they don’t have give up things visible to the outside world.”

So New York’s very wealthy are addressing their distress in discreet and often awkward ways. They try to move their $165 sessions with personal trainers to a time slot that they know is already taken. They agree to tour multimillion-dollar apartments and then say the spaces don’t match their specifications. They apply for a line of credit before art auctions, supposedly to buy a painting or a sculpture, but use that borrowed money to pay other debts.

Oh, it’s surely a glimpse into a world most folks won’t get anywhere near, much less understand or appreciate. I think it probably shows “hey, times are hard everywhere” or at least, that’s the attempt here. I’m not sure how well the execution is, though.