Watching Theil on 60 Minutes got me thinking. Theil, chess wizard, Pay Pal inventor, Facebook charter investor; is paying 6 figures for students to drop out and pursue their entrepreneurial windmills. He is right about much of what he preaches. Education, like any other asset class subsidized by the government, experiences bubble like price appreciation. The output rises but not the quality. Degrees propagate like McMansions. Higher education is about becoming an adult.
Getting the topic right isn't good enough, however. As with markets, reasons matter. Being right for the wrong reason is the last bastion of a charlatan. I have heard harsh personal attacks on the likes of Bernanke and Geithner for the decisions they have made. When no debt collapse occurs and the value of the dollar reverses course- with no adjustment to policy- they remain ignorant but pundits somehow become "right." Teenagers with charts and no understanding of Long Term Repo Operations or Target 2, let alone Operation Twist; cheer the rallying bond market. Massive and unending Baby Boomer money flow or serendipitous mistakes by foreign central banks are rarely mentioned.
Reasons matter. They are what separate us from the predetermined fates of the gods. Reasons make us human. Those kids that Theil is paying to drop out? They're the mathletes that blew up LTCM. They're London Whales without the ties. They breed black swans faster than sea monkeys from back pages of comic books. When the dust settles from the current clusterfuck, will history say that SoandSo "called the fall?" Should we take succor from the Nostradamus-like prediction? Why not demand change if the course is so obvious? Should we be willing to get the reasons right? Should we be so brazen as to demand that our activities carry gravitas? God may not play dice with the universe but the rest of us? Coming out!