Economic Problems Even Hurting Harvard

 Harvard College, among the lowest-debt colleges, can’t be absolved of the blame in the current trillion-dollar debt crisis, either; the college began the sticker price arms race in the early 1980s because it could raise prices with impunity due to the social cachet it offers.

 Therefore, questions like “How do I get a job lobbying the U.S. government to protect Wall Street interests?” would be more germane than questions about the supposed rise in global temperatures. 

 “Why it is OK for Wall Street banks to create securities designed to fail; why it is OK for them to game the ratings companies; why it is OK to get paid huge sums of money while working for companies rescued, and still implicitly backed, by the U.S. government; why it is OK to subvert reform efforts?”

 Wall Street recruiters on visits to Harvard invariably shift the conversation from content to form. They must say things like, “I don’t mind what you are saying, I just mind how you are saying it.” ‘

And “I don’t understand why you can’t treat other people with respect.” They avoid taking questions from Harvard College students at all. For that matter, they avoid engaging them in substantive conversation of any sort. They cast themselves not as extensions of a global financial empire but as guests of the college. Everyone at Harvard can agree that it is wrong to be rude to ladies on a visit. Therefore, Wall Street recruiters are oftenest of that gender.

 Sometimes graduating seniors at Harvard may think they are pissed off at Wall Street recruiters because of something they did. They are actually pissed off at them because they can no longer afford to hire them all.  As awkward as it is to find themselves (as early admissions specialists) in a war with students inside their own trade schools, Wall Street recruiters cannot simply cease to deal with them. 

 After all, many are their own children. Disinheritance is messy. And, anyway, what’s the point of winning the estate-tax battle if they have no heirs?

 More importantly, the students at Harvard College are Wall Street’s most devastating ammunition in the looming cultural war. They show the Lower 99 that today’s economic inequality isn’t some horrible injustice but a financial expression of the natural order of man. The sort of people who become Upper Ones are inherently different from the sort of people who become Lower 99s. Win the battle at Harvard and they might still win this war. 

 “I have not seen ‘The Hunger Games.’ Not enough class warfare.” – Obama.

—Richard Thompson

Alumnus, ‘83