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There’s no such thing as a useless university degree

Our society isn’t set up for everyone to go into trades. Our society would literally fall apart if everyone who went to school became a plumber or a welder.

A few weeks ago, someone posted the following on a local Facebook group.

If you can’t afford to work without gouging customers for tips, then you can’t afford to work your current job. Maybe if you had studied something market-facing instead of some useless university degree, you could get a trade and be making 150k a year with zero debt and no tips required!

Here’s the thing about so-called “useless degrees” though. Our society isn’t set up for everyone to go into trades. Our society would literally fall apart if everyone who went to school became a plumber or a welder.

Burgers need to be flipped. Coffee needs to be poured. Roads need to be repaired. Ditches need to be dug. Clothes need to be sold. Groceries need to be stocked.

If everyone went into the trades, no one would be flipping the burgers you order when you go out to eat. No one would be pouring your coffee at the Timmie’s drivethru each morning. No one would be repairing the road on your morning commute. No one would be digging the ditches of the newly twinned highway you’re commuting on. No one would be selling the new work clothes you need. No one would be stocking the shelves of the store where you do your grocery shopping.

Our society depends on labour. It depends on all sorts of labour. Some of that labour has received a high value from society (such as doctors and lawyers). Some of that labour has received a low value from society (such as line cooks and servers).

But regardless of the value, that labour must still be performed. The demand for the products of that labour still exists. As long as that demand continues, someone must make those products.

So, either stop demeaning these necessary jobs or start paying them more.

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By Kim Siever

I live in Lethbridge with my spouse and 5 of our 6 children. I’m a writer, focusing on political news, social issues, and the occasional poem. My politics are radically left. I recently finished writing a book debunking several capitalism myths. My newest book writing project is on the labour history of Lethbridge.

I’m also dichotomally Mormon. And I’m a functional vegetarian: I have a blog post about that somewhere around here. My pronouns are he/him, and I’m queer.

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