Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Are the Roots of Wall Street’s Woes to be found at Harvard?

Kevin Hassett writes a provocative piece today for Bloomberg in which he asks whether we can’t pin some of the blame for Wall Street’s troubles on the so-called "education" received in American universities by the majority of folks making up the workforce there. It’s an interesting argument to ponder, even if it doesn’t explain everything. I’m willing to believe that a good deal of the problem we’re facing today can be traced back to the entitlement mentality fostered on the majority of American college campuses but I’d extend the scope of that infection pretty far beyond Wall Street. And if I were running an American university today and faced with a looming recession, declining enrollment, and so on . . . I’d probably start thinking about what my university could do to start bucking this tired old trend and start selling it. People are going to be looking for something more solid and sensible and worthy of their investment in the coming years.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Hassett is generally on the mark - I've taught in these kinds of schools for over 20 years and have seen exactly this shift. What's outrageous in this post is the effort by Ponzi to pin what's happened on the "entitlement mentality." Really!?! It's really saddening how much a dead horse gets beaten on this website.


Most of these kids are desperately insecure about their position, the result of a ruthless meritocratic system that winnows out weakness or lack of perceived achievement. I would attribute what's happened far more to the necessity in the meritocratic system always to be outdoing what your competitor is doing - thereby contributing mightily and fatefully to a culture of irresponsible risk-taking. It's this very meritocratic system that proponents of the Left and Right have been deeply in cahoots in constructing, other differences notwithstanding.


I DO strongly agree with Ponzi that it would behoove universities to examine their ways - not only as a marketing tool, but an inescapable confrontation with reality. The sad truth is that the Harvards will come out of this relatively well - they will still receive uncountable applications, even if their endowment is down, since it's still the place to make those essential connections (just look at the resumes of Obama's administration - more of the same). However, many second-tier schools will have ceased to have a raison d'etre. They can't guarantee a future income that will cover the cost of tuition, so selling themselves as Harvard lite - as so many have done of late - will not cut it. Many will go bust. Some will re-tool. A great shake out is taking place, and higher education will be particularly well-shaken, if not stirred.

uuuhhh . . . Just a small FYI for RT: my "outrageous" reference to an "entitlement mentality" comes directly from Hassett's piece. See the part where he talks about the OSU study and John Thain. I'm sure I'm capable of really irritating you all by myself but, in this case, I had help! And what's really strange is that it was help that, otherwise, elicited your praise. Dead horse, indeed!

Your refusal to accept criticism makes you out to be the very thing that Mr. Red Tory was talking about in an indirect way. In my time reading here, a lot of blaming the left's grand entitlement big government spendocrats goes on with no real concern over the insane military budget or conservative initiated programs. I think the hypocracy mixes in to make the horse little more than a bottle of elmers by now. I liked the ideas in the article, thanks for posting it. Any comment is good feedback, at least people are reading even if they choose to pepper in personal attacks justified or not.

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