Online Obituaries Explain the College Wage Premium

Much ink has been spilled by pundits and commentators alike as to why the college wage premium is so persistent. Often, political correctness is blamed on the overreliance by employers on degrees. However, I think the main reason is competence more so than politics. Due to lowered standards, high school GPAs and graduation rates have become inflated and a poor predictor of baseline competence as noted by @eyeslasho, thus necessitating ever-expanding credentialism:

As I have long maintained, if employers only cared about political correctness there is still a huge pool of woke high school grads to choose from, without having to pay the huge college wage premium. It’s not like only college educated people are woke. Similarly, it does not cost much to indoctrinate/brainwash prospective employees into being woke or assimilating DEI values. A few weeks of diversity training is far cheaper than having to pay the college wage premium year after year.

However, trying to make incompetent employees competent is much harder than brainwashing, even impossible, as this is tied to IQ. Trying to bring incompetent high school grads up to speed on the basics of writing, likewise, would take far longer than it’s worth.

Consider a recent article from The Guardian, Death and typos: my six strange years screening online obituary comments:

Rarely is it “loss”. Mostly, “lost” or “lose”. “Sorry to hear of your lost,” an author might begin. Or: “So sorry for your lose.”

Authors have problems with “passing” and “spirit” and “sympathy” too: “We’re saddened by his sudden passion.” “Rest in the arms of the Holy Spitit.” “My deepest symphony”.

Medical forums/communities are full of typos too. “I have lose bowls.” It shows how despite a high literacy rate in America and a near 90% high school graduation rate, that basic writing proficiency, which many of us may take for granted, is still difficult for many. Unlike communities which may self-select for education or IQ, everyone gets sick, so you see the full tapestry or range of ability. It can also explain why the college wage premium is so wide and persistent, as the skills gap between college grads and non-grads is so stark (secondary-school grade inflation obviously does not help either); the so-called ‘college cliff’ describes the abrupt drop-off in employer-reported competence between college grads and high school grads.