Somewhere in me, I have a post percolating about the way my personal perspective on, and awareness of, economic issues has been subject to a steep learning curve in the last three years since I started graduate school.
In sum, while I had a fairly firm grasp on personal finance and budgeting when I entered graduate school, taking out the student loans necessary for my education, the high cost of living in the Boston metropolitan area, and the experience of bringing my material life together with that of another person for the first time raised new anxieties and questions. Additionally, attending graduate school for a professional degree — not to mention doing so in the context of a recession — means being caught up in a series of explicitly economic propositions. For the first time in my life, I have formed a relationship with education that is, in part, about economics. (More on why this is a new dynamic for me will have to wait for that later post).
I don’t have time, right now, to write at length about these personal experiences. But I do want to draw your attention to a fascinating series of posts over at (once again) Tenured Radical and Historiann about the politics and economics of academic employment.
- Tenured Radical: Department of Economics: Observations on the Lack of Raises and Thinking Out Of the Box.
- Historiann: Sister, Can You Spare a Dime?
- Tenured Radical: Department of Economics II: Organize, Goddamnnit!
- Historiann: So You Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities?
- Tenured Radical: Department of Economics III: The Latest on Salaries and Benefits.
With good (read: lively!) comment threads on all of them for further reading. While the discussion here is primarily focused on faculty (teaching and research) positions, the economic climate of higher education inescapably touches those of us in the library field, particularly those who work at said institutions of higher education (not to mention that there are library positions with faculty status and tenure track). In a more abstract sense, this conversation about the economics of education is a conversation about how to make a living doing intellectual work in fields that are not widely respected by the corporate sector (i.e. history! women’s and gender studies!) and are often seen as peripheral to education of “real” worth (see the catch-22? “real worth” here = financially lucrative; the market is seen as the neutral, unbiased arbiter of social as well as economic value).
So there’s your difficult-yet-worthwhile reading assignment of the week … I promise more pictures of cats and other miscellaneous fluff on Wednesday!