Friday, November 07, 2014

An example of financial stupidity

Can you believe they would put this on TV? If Ms Hobson's point is simply to tout the importance of "financial literacy" she need not have disparaged the value of shop classes and home economics to do so.

I could tell Ms. Hobson about the time my truck broke down at the side of the road and I overhauled the carburetor with my Swiss Army knife. But then she probably wouldn't have known what a carburetor is. That's something she would have learned in auto shop. I could have waited for the highway patrol to show up, and then hired a tow-truck to fix what took me less than 20 minutes. Add the cost of a carburetor overhaul, the 40 minutes of wasted time waiting for a tow truck. Add the cost of the tow truck. Add the fact that I was an hour from home and would have been incredibly inconvenienced by not being home and left waiting in a garage when I could have been in the wood shop.

That's a bit of financial news she should respond to, but they have closed down comments on the site.

She says she has a "very, very poignant point to make," but she's dead wrong. Kids may need financial literacy as she describes, but they also need wood shop.

As I said last night, I am headed to Texas to judge finely crafted furniture made by smart people.

I have a few more pointers that might be of some actual use to someone. Become skilled at many things, including the kinds of things you might learn in shop class and Home Economics. Perhaps you would rather be smart in one narrow field and stupid in the rest of life. The interesting thing about being unskilled in the practical arts is that you may be able to afford to have servants fulfill your every whim. I would also tell Ms. Hobson, that the spirit of American and its competitiveness was built upon the kinds of rugged individuals who built all the many things she takes for granted.

Of course, I acknowledge the contributions of the Swiss for making such a handy knife. The use of it was mine. The truck was made in Japan and the highway had been laid by American craftsmen. It is important to acknowledge the contributions of others, but we must also be prepared to act tangibly in our own behalf. Shop classes and home economics classes are an important part of the big picture.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Yes, it is much more important to understand mortgage-backed securities and hedge funds than learn and do things that would lead to self reliance and which bring the tangible, real-world satisfaction of creating things with one's own hands.

  2. This just reinforces the point that a person who is going to say something ignorant should not say it on TV. In addition, don't down education and then offer suggestions, your insincerity is too easily noticed by those of us who are smart because we understand tools.

  3. Ironic, Doug, that Ms. Hobson, along with husband George Lucas are funding a new arts school to the the tune of $25 million. In fact the school they are financing is the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, formerly known as the Chicago School of Manual Training founded by John Dewey, arguably the force behind the school woodshop movement. Pity Ms. Hobson doesn't even recognize the very foundations of her own interest. But even more, her poorly chosen words point to the disconnect in our current economic system - financiers have to fund craft as opposed to craft pulling up its own bootstraps.

  4. Quite ironic that Ms. Hobson, along with husband George Lucas are funding a $25 million arts wing expansion at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools - formerly the Chicago Manual Training School, a key player in the school woodshop movement of the late 1800's and early 1900's.

  5. So typical. Folks like her will mock a craftsman (or woman) until they need one.