Thursday, June 24, 2010
Credential Bubble Hits Legal Profession
Glenn Reynolds points to a post by John Hinderaker titled, "The Law of Supply and Demand Hits the Legal Business." Said post quotes from a New York Times story, including the following:
[Loyola Law School Los Angeles] is retroactively inflating its grades, tacking on 0.333 to every grade recorded in the last few years. The goal is to make its students look more attractive in a competitive job market.Hinderaker's point, vis-a-vis the "education bubble" Reynolds has been discussing lately, is that there is now a glut of people with training as attorneys, and that such grade inflation is a means for a law school to remain competitive, at least in the short term.
That may be, but it is also a symptom of a deeper cultural problem that threatens the integrity of the process of matching the needs of employers with what job applicants bring to the table. Paul Graham calls this specific manifestation "credentialism."
Although Graham sees reliance on credentials purely in terms of sorting through large talent pools with little in-depth information, I see the problem as a manifestation of the effects of pragmatism on a specific application of the difficult problems of judging the moral character and evaluating the talent of others.
Does it do anyone good to choose one candidate over another based on an inflated GPA? Let's rephrase this question: What is the demand for people whose records say they can hack it when, in fact, they didn't? I wouldn't blame an economic law for this problem.
Small Government vs. Proper Government
I'm sure that many conservatives with a libertarian bent are all atwitter about the fact that Maywood, California plans to lay off all its city employees and even dismantle its Police Department.
The city of Maywood will lay off all city employees and begin contracting police services with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department effective July 1, officials said.Yes, this makes Maywood's government smaller, in terms of cost and personnel, but it does zilch to reduce it to its proper scope, which is solely the protection of individual rights.
In addition to contracting with the Sheriff's Department, the Maywood City Council voted unanimously Monday night to lay off an estimated 100 employees and contract with neighboring Bell, which will handle other city services such as finance, records management, parks and recreation, street maintenance and others. Maywood will be billed about $50,833 monthly, which officials said will save $164,375 annually.
What would it take to get me excited? Something closer to what Boulder, Colorado did recently, but more principled, as I indicate in that post.
Engineers vs. Twitter
I see that I'm on the same page as many engineers regarding Twitter (HT: Paul Hsieh), at least regarding the cons of wasted time and broken concentration and the pro of having a good information filter.
USA 1, Algeria 0
What a game!
Staring a first-round exit in the face and already a minute into injury time -- and having had, for the second game in a row, a perfectly good goal disallowed by the referee -- Team USA scores as if from force of will alone to win its group and proceed to the knock-out round of the World Cup.
Today: Corrected typos.