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View Diary: Hoarding Seed Corn (7 comments)

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  •  Wonderful extended Analogy (21+ / 0-)

    Similar to, but much more developed and nuanced than the one I've been using to explain the foolishness of austerity policies during a recession:

    "When I first completed my PhD I was unable to land a tenure-track teaching job (not from lack of effort!).  I was in deep debt, both for student loans and to credit card companies (I was forced to use credit a lot during grad school).  I was stringing together a number of part time jobs to pay the rent, car payments, credit card payments, etc.

    I unexpectedly got an offer of a job interview at a national conference held at the opposite coast.  Here was my choice:  go into MORE DEBT to register for the conference, buy a plane ticket, pay for a hotel room, buy a new suit, etc. or pursue an "austerity" policy which reasoned: "you are already in too much debt; instead of taking on more, you should forget about the interview and instead find the fastest way to pay down more debt--take on a third or fourth part-time job."

    I made the wise decision to INVEST in my future.  So I went into more debt, showed up for the job interview, got an on-campus interview (more debt) and busted my butt to be prepared for it.  I got the job, which forced me to move across the country (more debt), buy a new used car (more debt), rent a home (more debt).

    But it was, in the long run, an excellent investment.  I had a job with real benefits and a real future.  I eventually got tenure, paid off my car loans, paid off my credit cards, paid down a large part of my student loan debt, got married, had a child, bought a house, etc.

    Where would I be now if I had opted for the short term "austerity" approach?  How smart would it have been to forego my best career opportunity to focus on paying down debt via a series of no-benefits, no-future jobs?

    Dulce bellum inexpertis [War is sweet only to those who have no experience of it].

    by Fatherflot on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 09:22:02 AM PST

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