Rich People Degrees

January 24, 2012

It is entirely possible that people who are born into the upper-class just happen to choose some of these degrees (like the economics crowd) and use their parents’ connections to land awesome salaries.  Some degrees are so specific that few dare obtain them and thus the supply is low and expertise becomes more valued (art, physics, math).

However, I would like to make the point, or maybe just speculate a bit, about the groupings of most of these degrees.

Notice that pre-med is big bucks (duh) as well as molecular biology and chemistry–popular choices for working for a pharmaceutical company.  Poli Sci and International Relations are tracks into law school or government.  Accounting, finance, and business are all Wall Street type career paths.

These three main areas, medicine, government, and corporations, are rampant with regulations and bureaucracy only necessary because of government malfunction.  Medicine is regulated insanely.  Doctor licensing crimps supply of doctors, driving up prices.  Pharmaceutical companies are hampered by FDA processes that mostly creates extra hoops to jump through.  Government regulations mess with the pricing for insurance companies.  Government is just one big handout machine that creates suffocating bureaucracy and thrives on constricting the private money supply to waste money on projects so not valuable enough to be undertaken by private companies.  And the Wall Street crowd needs to be educated in how to understand the confusing regulations and loopholes and paperwork demanded by government.  The same government which bails out fraud and encourages insane risk-taking and even allows fake wealth to be created for the sole purpose of increasing GDP and tax coffers.

Government has distorted the market such that it, in a soft sense, picks winners and losers.  I have nothing against the 1% (as long as they aren’t committing theft or fraud–most doctors don’t), they just responded to the incentives in society.  If you were offered $1,000,000 a year if you obtained a certain degree, would you take it?  Of course.  You wouldn’t refuse an offer like that, so the 1% is no more immoral than you for responding to incentives.

I do have a problem with the government for skewing incentives and effectively creating classes of workers who are more likely to make it into the 1%.  If the 1% was determined by the market, by the collective choices of consumers, I’d have no problem with whoever made it into the bracket.  But the deck is stacked towards certain professions–professions in groups that have been caught making out with the government.

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