Friday, August 31, 2012

Mad Chase for 'Toilet Paper' Certs

Mad chase for paper is especially chronic in confucian centric societies. In effort to shore up its dwindling support among exasperated parents, s'pore's ruling incumbent party announced 4th & 5th universites for this tiny island.

Many working sinkies with degrees already know their paper certs have degenerated into toilet paper when the floodgates are opened widely & workers with unknown paper certs(incl. Drs) from 3rd world countries can get hired & displaced locals.

Situation in S Korea provides a glimpse for what's down the path for S'pore.- Young South Korean graduates face jobless woes

"I've worked really hard to get all these qualifications, though... the thing is, there are too many people like me & too few jobs for us. If I have children, I'll never press them to go to college/Uni like my parents did. I'll tell them to find their real passion first instead of just following the pack."-23 year old Korean grad

Similar fate already happening & will continue in S'pore. Many youngsters being young have no idea of what they want. Coupled with pressure from parents & the herd, many just go along blindly. In paper-crazed societies many parents want their kids to be Drs/Lawyers so as to have 'face'- Watch Rich Son Poor Son

"Excessive 'education inflation' of our country is causing so many problems socially & economically" -Korean President Lee Myung-Bak

President Lee even proposed setting a hiring quota at government bodies for high-school graduates -- a measure intended to encourage more teenagers to seek work after school ends, instead of heading straight for college with no clear goal.
  • Overall unemployment rate is low at around 3%, but rate for those aged 25-29 is more than twice as high.
  • In the 2nd quarter, unemployed college or university graduates -- estimated to total 373,000 -- outnumbered jobless high-school graduates for the first time in more than 10 years.
  • Even at Seoul National University, nearly 30% of its Ph.D holders were jobless in 2011 compared to about 15% 2 years earlier.
  • Korean labour ministry warned of shortage of 500,000 jobs for college or university graduates by 2020 & an oversupply of 320,000 jobs available for high-school graduates.
Given the dismay statistic, one has to question the ROI (return on investment). What's the returns after getting into a pile of debts & then facing a bleak prospects upon graduation? Simple issue of supply & demand. With oversupply the wages of many degree holders are definitely downwards.

Economist Chang Ha Joon sums it up best:
  • Even subjects like maths or science which are important for raising productivity, are not relevant for most workers - investment bankers do not need biology or fashion desginers maths in order to be good at what they do.
  • A higher proportion of knowledge becomes embodied in machines. eg. shop assistants do not even need to know how to add- a skill that their counterparts in earlier times must need. Technicians at small electronics shop of poor countries can fix more things than individual workers at Samsung or Sony.
  • Degree inflation has become like a theatre in which some people decided to stand to get a better view, prompting others behind them to stand. Once enough people stand, everyone has to stand, which means that no one is getting a beter view, while everyone has become more uncomfortable.

Thomas Stanley wrote in his book 'The Millionaire Mind':
  • If you love what you are doing, your productivity will be high & your specific form of creative genius will emerge.
  • Even analytically intelligent people often select vocations that are filled with competitors & discover that they don't love their careers. Even if they are genius, it's hard to win a competitive economic battle if your heart & emotions are not completely dedicated to victory.

4th & 5th universities are a cashcow for the govt & the govt-owned banks. Sinkies are already heading for extinction with pathetic fertility rate. More debts on the smaller future young generations will speed up the 'sinking of the ship'.



  1. Very good analysis. Declaring 2 more institutions as universities will get more higher graduates to fill in job posts in those new universities as lecturers. It is indeed a cash cow for the government. Its a mad cycle and its spiralling out of control. The problem in all these is that most people are still blind to all that is happening right now. It takes courage to see things in a new light and go against the herd.

    Keep up the great commentaries and analysis in your blog.

  2. hi anon 8:44,
    Thanks for your feedback. Pathetic return on investment of a degree can be derived via common sense. The hardest part is going against the herd.