There is an overproduction of PhD's in all disciplines right now; humanities just happens to be the worst. But read Science or Nature frequently, and you'll notice that both have editorials from time to time about how we have too many science grad students, complete with prognostications on how to 'fix' the system. With the humanities, it's basic supply and demand, unfortunately. There are so many Rebecca Shulmans out there that why in hell would any rational player ever pay $80,000 + benefits + retirement + job security + etc, when you can have the same workload for $20,000 scott free? It's sad for each person who goes through this experience, but when making this big of a commitment, the individual has some responsibility to do some research (you know, what they are going to dedicate their lives to) on their job prospects. The mistake is in thinking that people are rewarded for hard work. Hard work is only rewarded when the end product is something unique. Even the smartest literature PhD in the world is just one of many. In the end, perhaps universities should stop graduating this many people, although that would require collusion on the part of the universities, and who gets the students then? Not gonna happen. I guess the job market just has to figure itself out.

posted by humanodon: 1395 days ago