This disease of credential inflation seems to be serious

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Normally, Bryan Caplan hates it when people go and find one new story as proof of something:

But there was a recent one from South Korea so vivid, where even if you say that it is cherry picked, still, that such a cherry exists says something.

This was a story about, the government in South Korea wanted to hire four janitors, and most of the applicants had college degrees. In the end, they hired three BAs and one AA to be janitors there. This disease of credential inflation seems to be serious in countries where people think of education as something that’s central to their success. I don’t think so.


  1. Kirk says:

    This is pretty much in complete keeping with Korean culture, which has always venerated scholarship and learning. Practical things…? Not so much; they don’t have a tremendous amount of respect, in cultural terms, for the tradesman or merchant. The Koreans have always been credentialists, same as the Chinese: So long as you mouthed the right words, and said the right things about Confucian precepts, you were in. All that’s changed is that instead of Confucianism, it’s now more sciencey and about getting things done than studying what Confucius had to say on an issue.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking, however, that any of this “science” crap is deeply rooted in the culture. The thing that’s rooted deeply is the veneration for scholarship and knowledge; they’re not practical or pragmatic in a lot of fundamental ways. All that has really changed is which dry, dead tome they’re using to read out of. At the root of it all is still that same urge that drove the mandarins in China–Veneration of process over achievement. Which is why you see so much scientific fraud coming out of the Chinese and Korean research universities.

    And, of course, we’re following them down that same rathole, mostly at the behest of the cultural Marxists we’ve given free rein to in our educational system.

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