Which other non-slimy option is there for a humanities’ major to make a buck than to speculate?

Dialogue with the Alter Ego on Franςois Hollande’s anti-speculation stance, first drafted on Jan 24, published on Jan. 25, 2012

Dans cette bataille qui s’engage, je vais vous dire qui est mon adversaire, mon véritable adversaire. Il n’a pas de nom, pas de visage, pas de parti, il ne présentera jamais sa candidature, il ne sera donc pas élu, et pourtant il gouverne. Cet adversaire, c’est le monde de la finance (…) Quant aux fonds spéculatifs, loin d’avoir disparu, ils sont encore les vecteurs de la déstabilisation qui nous vise. Ainsi, la finance s’est affranchie de toute règle, de toute morale, de tout contrôle.

Francois Hollande, Socialist Party Candidate for the French Presidential election, Le Bourget, Jan. 22, 2012 ( Source: http://francoishollande.fr/actualites/discours-de-francois-hollande-au-meeting-du-bourget

Question by Alter Ego of Noah denkt™ (AE): Is Noah denkt™ familiar with the Le Bourget rally speech which French presidential candidate Franςois Hollande gave on Sunday, January 22?

Answer by Noah denkt™ (Nd):  Yes, we’ve heard about it.

AE: And what do you make of it?

Nd: Well, to a large extent it echoes the erroneous anti-speculation and anti-financial market stance which is more or less standard rhetoric all over Europe.

AE: Obviously, you have made it clear many times before that, in your opinion, widespread financial speculation is a necessary ingredient to a well-functioning free and advanced society/economy. But, how do you explain all that to someone like Franςois Hollande, whose ideological prejudice against financial markets is so entrenched that it is hard to see how he could possibly open up to another philosophical argument on this?

Nd: Well, we would simply ask him to tell us what other professional field there is for an unemployed humanity major who wants to make an independent buck for himself on his home turf without having to resort to his otherwise rampant a….-kissing soft skills?

AE: Sorry, we do not understand!

Nd: What’s so difficult to understand here? Is it not true that the employment opportunities for humanity majors are pretty limited? Are we incorrect when we assert that most of these graduates end up in hopelessly overcrowded areas such as politics, PR, marketing and sales where, by the very nature of the field they are in, they will have to engage in an enormous amount of hypocritical schmoozing only to survive just a little bit? And do we really want to force all these bright young people into even greater misery by depriving them of the last area that still exists where you can demonstrate the superiority of your judgments without having to kowtow to anybody? Is that really what we want to do? – Well, if that is so, then we should not call ourselves social and charitable to begin with.

AE: But come on, aren’t there lots of other activities where humanity majors can prove their metal in the so-called real economy?

Nd: Like what?

AE: Well, what about writing? What about teaching? And what about pioneering a new, innovative business model?

Nd: You can’t be serious about writing and teaching, can you?  Who really wants to read anything anymore? And who wants to build his career on jockeying from one annual employment contract to another? No, no, the only halfway valid suggestion you have come up with here is that of starting your own, innovative business. But as far as that is concerned you simply have to accept that humanity majors rarely dispose of the real world technical skills that non-abstract business projects tend to require. So, if you are a true philosopher all you have to make a difference in this world is your analytical capability. And for that, like it or nor, there happens to be no better real world application than that of financial speculation.

AE: The truth, however, is that financial speculation has a lot to do with financial and mathematical knowledge which humanity majors usually do not have, do they?

Nd: In our mind, financial speculation is primarily a philosophical subject since it requires a thorough deconstruction of our historical, social and human context. Because in the end it is all about judging whether a glass is better described as being half full or half empty. That people very often try to determine the latter question on the basis of standardized, technical evaluations is in our opinion a grave misunderstanding anyhow. Yes, we would even be inclined to argue that most of the follies that occasionally erupt in financial markets have more to do with the absence of such philosophical judgments than with their uncertainty.

AE: Okay, let’s assume that your reasoning is correct here, then it still needs to be recognized though that it can’t be adequate to make public policy decisions on the basis of what may or may not be a good proposition for a rather small group such as humanity majors!

Nd: Well, unfortunately, it isn’t just liberal arts students who are faced with rather miserable job prospects once they leave the realm of academia. The situation for law school graduates isn’t so much better either. And even the much acclaimed business school majors can’t necessarily look into a future that is all that much brighter than it is for humanity majors. So, unless we want to reform academic education altogether, we need to do something for these people who supposedly are our leaders of tomorrow.

AE: Alright, we appreciate the argument and hope that you can get some attention for that.

Nd: Yeah, let’s hope for the best even though the latter seems a long way off.

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