a16z Podcast: The Case Against Education, From Signaling to Rainbow’s End

Signaling and credential inflation — not learning — can explain why education pays in the labor market, and why we shouldn’t invest (any more) in it, argues Bryan Caplan, economics professor at George Mason University and author of the book The Case Against Education: Why the Education System is a Waste of Time and Money. But is it really… a waste of time and money? Doesn’t education have other benefits at least, like “learning to learn”; or sorting personality traits for employers at least; or helping developing economies even?

And isn’t it interesting that all the people (not just Caplan, but many in Silicon Valley and elsewhere) who argue against education are in fact, ahem, educationally credentialed themselves? This episode of the a16z Podcast, hosted by Marc Andreessen with Sonal Chokshi, takes on Caplan’s “cynical idealist” take to probe both the cynical (problems, realities) and idealist (implications, solutions) aspects of education, no matter one’s politics. And finally, where does tech (and a bit of sci-fi) come in??