Japanese universities to eliminate social sciences


“More than two dozen Japanese universities have announced that they will reduce or altogether eliminate their academic programs in the humanities and social sciences, following a dictum from Tokyo to focus on disciplines that “better meet society’s needs.””

Stick to making robots… you…

^Didn’t read the article. Just opining on Ohai’s Cliff Note.

This is probably a good thing. There are too many people chasing “soft” degrees like majors in sociology, art history, cultural anthropology, or their native language. This is driving up the cost of education and driving down the value of education.

Too many people (like me, when I was 18) are going to school, choosing the path of least resistance (majoring in English), getting themselves in six-figure debt, then complaining that they can’t pay the bills yet, 'cuz they have no skills yet.

Methinks they (and society at large) would be better off just going to work at a job and learning something useful that way. Or go to school and learn something tangible, like nursing, accounting, or engineering. But don’t go to school just to “find yourself” or “expand your universe” or any other “who moved the cheese” type of crap.

so… who moved the cheese?

The nice thing about not knowing history is that you never have to feel like it’s repeating itself.

Now we can offer that benefit all across the nation, at a rock-bottom price.

Nice. :wink:

Ok, to be fair, only some Japanese universities will implement this change. There are probably a few hundred universities in Japan, and only 20-30 are eliminating social science programs.

So they are not eliminating these fields entirely. They are only reducing emphasis on these fields, and this could be a good thing. In general, more people go to university nowadays, so we could even say that we can make do with a smaller percentage of people in certain fields to keep track of things like history.

It also says: “Law and economics are part of the condemned disciplines.”

It’s one thing to say that people should be discouraged from majoring in these things because there aren’t enough jobs for English majors (after all, why bother to be careful with what you write, if no one else is capable of understanding you; many are barely able to put together a coherent sentence, let alone one with a semicolon). It’s another thing to say “Nobody with a college education should be expected to know anything about this stuff.”

Apparently, Japan doesn’t need lawyers. And there’s no reason that anyone needs to know enough to question things like Abenomics. If no one knows economics, and in a generation there will be no one who can even teach economics, then presumably things like price ceilings and witch trials will be the obvious way to conduct business in a developed economy.

My lifelong dream of eliminating economists is finally coming together.

I resent that. :-p

Well again, it’s not like Japan will not have *any* new law or economics students. They will just have fewer of them. We could argue that the US is producing too many law school graduates as well. Perhaps some of these people should have learned programming or accounting instead.

As for economics, unless you want to become a career economist, the benefits are hard to quantify. One of my degrees is in economics as well. In fact, had I only studied this subject in college, I would be much less productive today. So again, perhaps some economists are necessary, but we do not need hordes of people aimlessly studying a subject like this.

I wonder why we even have voting? The hordes can’t understand economic plans, don’t have any knowledge of history, they can’t even do basic math, so there’s no way they can be expected to make an intelligent decisions.

Maybe we should make people pass a test before they can vote? Seems like someone would have proposed this before. I wonder why it didn’t catch on?

All economists are wrong; some are useful.

Perhaps the test could be choosing the correct indefinite article for different nouns.

I assume you are hinting at John Stuart Mill. However, he did think that everyone should have at least one vote. He did think that people who passed a test of intelligence or at least reasoning skills should be able to have a weightier vote that would count for more than one (although possibly only a fraction more).

Of course, one of the issues here is that over time, the test could be manipulated to favor the already powerful and specific ideologies, so while it sounds good in a static analysis, it likely fails in a dynamic one. In any case, it’s not necessary to weight votes anymore, since all we are choosing is who it is at we want to receive bribes from the moneyed classes, and intelligence doesn’t provide any advantages there.

(on second thought, maybe you were referring to variations on the poll tax and Jim Crow laws)

The test doesn’t need to be manipulated for it to favor “powerful and specific ideologies”. Rich people are smarter and perform better in tests. A perfectly fair intelligence test would already favor rich people. If they were altruistic, then intellectual elite should make all decisions in society. The problem, of course is that they are not altruistic.

It’s not that this is anywhere near realistic of course. If a law requiring voters to show ID can be found to be discriminatory, there is no way that any legislator would consider an IQ test.

I say skip the IQ test for voters, and just put the high IQ people in charge of all society planning decisions. No voting anymore, because who cares what the dummies think? They can just skip economcis, history, and be the worker bees. More efficient that way.

Right. So when the high IQ people decide that it would be better if the low-IQ people were herded into camps and gassed to prepare more living space for the high IQ people (who by definition know who they are)…

…oh wait, someone tried that before.

I’m not completely opposed to doing things that give more force to rational thought, but one thing that happens when you silence populations is that it becomes harder to see the externalities that get pushed on them, and therefore they accumulate. If you just want a society like 18th century France, that works out pretty well, but if you actually care about a just society, you have to give everybody at least some input into the decision making process, because our capacity to predict social outcomes is extremely limited.

I agree that the most valuable degrees for society are STEM degrees. But then if you look at the Forbes 400, most of the best investors in the world have “soft” degrees: Einhorn, Soros, Icahn, Klarman, Druckenmiller, etc. This is not a coincidence, in my view. Some of them also have “real” degrees but I bet most would attribute their success to their supposedly worthless “soft” degrees. Worthless degrees are disproportionately represented among top investors (insert philosoraptor graphic).

One could also argue that these guys do little for the real economy, compared to people of similar stature in different industries. That is mostly what Japan is trying to address.