Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blog LXXXI (81): A Ponzi Scheme

Today the blog will take advantage of the multi-media nature of the World Wide Web and presents an interview of Dr. Monica Harris, a social psychologist from the University of Kentucky, on WNYC Radio 93.9 FM in New York City. She calls the academic job market a "Ponzi scheme." Harris was mentioned in The Economist article that formed the basis of Blog LXXIII. She is now refusing to take on new graduate students given how bad the job market is these days.
View Full Audio on WNYC

1 comment:

  1. I must say that I respectfully disagree with Dr. Harris. Her perception of a PhD from merely the employment perspective is woefully limited. She completely ignores the fact that there are students who wish to learn for the sake of learning, and that these students will continue to apply to PhD programs regardless (to an extent) of the job market. Further, I believe that she is unfairly usurping the right to decide a person's future; the very essence of academia lies in the perpetuation and development of human knowledge. With due respect, I must say that Dr. Harris would fail in her duties as a teacher and an academic if she refuses to work with students merely because the job market is bad. To add insult to injury, Dr. Harris agrees with the host that PhD programs are a "Ponzi scheme." The truth of the matter is surely more complex than that!

    This blog must really begin to take a look at the attainment of a PhD not only from the perspective of the market (as important as getting a job is) but also from the perspective of students who wish to pursue their intellectual calling and will attempt to do so regardless of the hardship involved. While I am a fan, Dr. Sarantakes, this blog must move beyond merely restating in different ways how awful it is for newly minted PhDs to get a job. While I applaud your efforts to warn students of what awaits them should they choose to pursue a PhD, I must point out that your predominantly mercenary attitude to doctoral studies is depressing. There is something to be said for the love of learning, after all, and I earnestly request you to address this issue.