Editor's Letter: When bad news is also good news

There is—there really is—a silver lining in the Wall Street meltdown.

First the bad news: The Wall Street meltdown has resulted in thousands fewer well-paying jobs for the new crop of top college graduates. Now the good news: The Wall Street meltdown has resulted in thousands fewer well-paying jobs for the new crop of top college graduates. I don’t mean to minimize the pain wreaked by the near-collapse of the financial sector. But there is a silver lining. With high finance suddenly in low regard, more of our brightest young people could soon be devoting their brainpower not to moving around paper for financial firms, but to such daunting problems as global warming, energy depletion, and our crumbling infrastructure.

I hadn’t realized how out of whack our priorities had become until I started visiting colleges a few years ago with my sons. At many engineering programs, most recent grads had gone into finance, lured by six-figure starting salaries and the prestige of a Wall Street sinecure. A dean at one Ivy League school explained that Wall Street loved engineering students because of their analytical thinking and problem-solving skills. Unfortunately, they ended up working on credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligations, and the other dizzying financial products that got us into this mess. Business grads, of course, flocked to these same investment banks—some of which no longer exist. As a result, the next generation of MBAs is more likely to follow an entrepreneurial path. So instead of securitizing subprime mortgages, say, they might make things we actually need. Others are expected to go into public service or the nonprofit sector. Come to think of it, this is starting to seem less like a silver lining and more like a golden one.

Eric Effron

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us