“Asianization” of America is Real!

By Kollengode S Venkataraman

e-mail:  ThePatrika@aol.com

 Sometime back, I wrote an article titled Asianization of America that my reviewer did not like on the first go. After a long discussion, she grudgingly said, “OK, may be you can run this.”

My point was that in the US too, much like in Asia (India, China), graduates in humanities, social sciences, literature, and performing arts are getting fewer well-paying jobs offering health insurance. So, everybody was chasing degrees in engineering, business, finance…

And then came this article by Gary Gutting, a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and editor of Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, titled “The Real Humanities Crisis” in  the New York Times of Dec  1, 2013.  See here: www.tinyurl.com/humanitiescrisis. These excerpts tell the crisis in the US is identical to what has been happening in India for the last 50 years:

“Humanities majors on average start earning $31,000 per year and move to an average of $50,000 in their middle years. (The figures for writers and performing artists are much lower.) By contrast, business majors start with salaries 26% higher than humanities majors and move to salaries 51% higher.

“… … Even highly gifted and relatively successful writers, artists and musicians generally are not able earn a living from their talents. The very few who become superstars are very well rewarded. But almost all the others — poets, novelists, actors, singers, artists — must either have a partner whose income supports them or a ‘day job’ to pay the bills. Even writers who are regularly published by major houses or win major prizes cannot always live on their earnings.”

This has been the experience of Indian performing artists and writers both here and in India for over 60 years.  In India –  and for that matter, even in the US —  how many of the Indian vocalists, dancers, and instrumentalists and writers can sustain their middle-class life style if they are going to depend only on the earnings through their skills as artistes and writers? Almost NONE.  Most of them have full-time jobs or have professional spouses to give them the middle-class life style.  This is a simple fact.

Prof. Gutting continues:

“With tenured professorship at a university, or if you play regularly in a major symphony orchestra or write mega best sellers, you can earn an excellent living doing what you love. Short of that, you must pursue your passion on the side.”  This is what many well-known Indian writers have been doing for the last several decades.

Gutting Continues:  “Teaching should be an obvious solution for many humanities majors. But well-paying tenure-track jobs are disappearing… half of college teachers now are part-time adjuncts… who fail to make a living wage. ”

This only confirms that as a consequence of globalization many  social problems of the industrialized West increasingly resemble those in India, China, Taiwan.      The End.

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