The Price of Knowledge

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Graduates at ceremony Graduates high-five at the 2012 Syracuse University commencement. Economists tell us that degrees lead to higher pay and a happier life, but how does college actually produce those gains? (Getty Images/Getty)

Florida lawmakers are considering charging college students more to study the humanities and less for disciplines tied to in-demand jobs like engineering and tech. Michael Ruse, professor of zoology and philosophy at Florida State University, discusses the pros and cons of this approach. Plus: Asbury Park's post-Sandy recovery progress; following up on E-ZPass and internet addiction; and which books make the best holiday gifts. 

Washington Update: Cliff, Rice, China

Clive Crook, a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View, and who was on Brian's recent trip to China, talks about the latest in the Washington DC budget negotiations, Susan Rice withdrawing her name from consideration for Secretary of State, and their reflections on China.

Comments [19]

After Sandy: Asbury Park

Dan Jacobson, publisher of TriCityNews and the Asbury Park SunPastor Sony Augustine, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Asbury Park, and Marilyn Schlossbach, restaurateur and owner of Asbury Park's Langosta Lounge, discuss the Jersey Shore town's recovery in the weeks since Sandy.

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Following Up: E-ZPass

Robert Paaswell, distinguished professor of civil engineering at the City College of New York, Director of the University Transportation Research Center at City College and former head of the Chicago Transportation Authority, follows up on the listener question: Why wouldn't commuters use E-ZPass?

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Following Up: Internet Addiction

During this week's interview with the author of The Parent App, two callers shared stories of their sons' internet addictions. Joining us now to discuss internet addiction is Howard Markel, professor of psychiatry, public health, history and pediatrics at the University of Michigan and the author of An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine.

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Higher Tuition for the Liberal Arts?

Michael Ruse, professor of zoology and philosophy at Florida State University and contributor to the Brainstorm blog for the Chronicle of Higher Education, talks about a proposal from Florida Governor Rick Scott about a sliding scale for tuition in the state. Under the proposal, majoring in the liberal arts would cost more than majoring in science, technology, engineering or math.

Comments [52]

Open Phones: Being Honest About Life In New York

If you moved to NY from somewhere else in the US, what peculiarities about NY life would seem preposterous to your family and friends back home? Are you honest when you tell them about how much you eat out, how much you walk, or the size of your apartment?  Post here or call 212-433-9692.

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Holiday Gifts: Books

James Hannaham, Village Voice book reviewer and the author of the novel God Says No, shares what books he'd give as gifts this holiday season. What books are you giving as gifts this year? Post here or call 212-433-9692!


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China and US: Angie Tang on China's Development

Brian recently visited China on a trip for journalists sponsored by the Committee Of 100. He and his fellow travelers will be posting reflections on the blog over the next week. Here Angie Tang, executive director of the C-100, former director of the New York City Office of Immigrant Affairs, and former U.S. Labor Department Representative for the Northeast and Caribbean, responds to Brian's first post.


Brian wrote: In this country, we often think of China first as an authoritarian state that engages in human rights violations. It was chilling to stand in Tiananmen Square as a tourist. But that said, I came away with the impression that China's leadership sees its form of government as less like, say, Kim Jong Un's and more like Michael Bloomberg's: a non-ideological technocracy. They've had all this economic and educational success, peacefully turned away from Mao's brutal revolution, gotten so many people out of poverty, conducted public opinion polls to determine people's needs, and imposed term limits on their top officials. And yet, the argument some people made that China is better off without political freedom still revolts me. I wonder how others among us are thinking about China's unique mix of repression, pragmatism and advancement.

Angie Responds 

Brian, your point about “China’s mix of repression, pragmatism and advancement” aptly captures the contradictory forces at play in shaping China’s economic development and in some ways, I would add national identity.

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