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In chapter two of Christopher Newfield’s book Newfield talks about a book called The New Industrial State, written by John Kenneth Galbraith. Galbraith had a lot of very unique, but valuable ideas. He talked about something called the “Technostructure.” This class was comprised of technically proficient positions, such as scientists and engineers. With their college degrees they were able to take some level of authority in their positions. Galbraith says that, “This, not the narrow management group, is the guiding intelligence-the brain- of the enterprise.”
Further on in the chapter Galbraith talks about how this Technostructure is “blurring the lines.” The knowledge workers can’t be managed in the same way. A supervisor can’t watch over their shoulder as they could with laboring jobs. In those kind of jobs there was a distinct line between employee and boss/owner. The inability to manage the knowledge worker allowed them to manage themselves and the difference between employee and boss/owner diminished.
This was exactly what I wanted for myself. If I was part of the Technostructure that would mean I would be able to manage myself. I would have power. Not just to manage myself but I would have a certain level of prestige, only acquired through education. This would allow me to have a voice in places like economy or even politics. More important to me though was having a job that challenged me. Working in brainless jobs like restaurants or retail is mentally draining. Not because it’s difficult, quite the opposite. Doing the same thing over and over, with minimal use of your brain can be dangerous. Like a muscle, the brain needs to be exercised, if it’s not it gets weak. I didn’t want that for myself. I needed a job that would challenge me mentally and where I would make decent money.
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Statistically, the people with a college education are paid better than those without. So in our society it has become general knowledge that if you want to make money, a college degree is required. This is becoming less and less true, but still it is easier to get a high paying job with a college degree.
Often time’s people will say that “money buys happiness,” I only partially agree with this statement. If someone has sufficient money and they don’t have to worry about it, then they have time to focus on the things that make them happy. When money is always in the back of someone’s mind, when they are living from paycheck to paycheck, it is hard to focus on relationships or other things they enjoy. In our society we have a tendency to look at a college degree as the only bridge to this happy, stress free life which we all desire.
At least that is what we would like college to be. In an ideal world a University would do a few things. It would allow for equal opportunity, not based solely on past achievement but also on potential. It would guarantee people better jobs, both financially and because the work is more enjoyable. It would directly show one’s intelligence and their ability to learn at higher levels. It would also help someone find their passion, if they didn’t already know. This passion would be based off how much the job would pay but rather that they thoroughly enjoyed what they were doing. If Universities were creating happy graduates, enthusiastic about their careers. Society would look different. Happy workers are productive workers. Productive, creative workers are what society needs.
We do not live in a perfect world however and college does not do what we think it should. Colleges provide opportunity to those who have been granted opportunity throughout their lives. The rising tuition costs are one of the primary reasons for this. The only people who can go to a good school to get a good job are the ones whose parents went to a good school and got a good job. The universities make the riche richer and the poor poorer.