Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Going, Going, Gone ...

The special boost for recruited athletes, known as preferential admission, can be equivalent to hundreds of SAT points. According to The Washington Post, Harvard, which typically admits approximately 5 percent of its applicants, reports acceptance rates as high as 88 percent for athletes endorsed by its coaches. “Parents see the numbers,” says Luke Walton, an Olympic rower and the founder of Rower Academy, a San Diego–based recruiting consultancy for high-school crew athletes. “They see that if their child can get the backing of a coach, they are likely to get in. That’s a shiny object—a fishing lure for parents. They look at that and say: ‘That’s the answer. Sports is the answer.’ Along with the ability to pay 70-80K per year to get Harvey into Harvard.

This bucolic frenzy of the monied class pushing their kids to the max with emphasis on sports in order to get into highly rated colleges is slowly going away thanks to COVID-19, the ongoing 2020 great depression and the real possibility of economic collapse due to the harsh reality of fixed cost's and how they apply to virtually every business in America including higher ed. Consider that the nation is in the grip of the 2nd/3rd wave and the fact kids are not in school paying exorbitant tuitions shows how strongly fixed costs are embedded whereby you have to have 100% paying customers to cover fixed costs and make a profit. This is obviously not happening. End result, said colleges try to survive by lowering tuitions, which won't work, due to fixed costs, forget profits forever, or vastly increase the number of students, which also won't work because of the aforementioned fixed costs must keep pace with the larger enrollment which means finding more customers to cover costs and make a profit becomes a Wicked Problem

Here's another dose of realty ...

As the global tsunami of Wave 2 sweeps away the sandcastles of denial, fantasy and magical thinking, it's worth recalling that the Covid-19 virus has four features that make it difficult to control: 

1. It is highly contagious. 

2. Carriers with no symptoms can infect others. 

3. A significant percentage of older / compromised patients develop severe symptoms that require hospitalization. 

4. Once the healthcare system is overwhelmed, the system cannot provide care to everyone who needs it. As a result, the death rate rises the moment the healthcare system is overwhelmed / breaks down. 

And this.

The global economy was teetering on the edge of recession and financial implosion long before the pandemic appeared. Ending the pandemic cannot restore an illusion of "growth" that masked a hollowed out, fragile, brittle global economy. 

The Global Depression was baked in long before the pandemic. All the pandemic did was kick out the last rotten 2X4s holding up the fading facade of "growth." 

Unfortunately, central banks can't "print" experienced doctors or nurses. When the front line of healthcare workers is depleted by illness and burnout, there are no substitutes or Big Tech robots-to-the-rescue. The healthcare system we've optimized for "creating shareholder value" (i.e. unlimited greed pathologically pursued by any means available) will break down and that will be that. 

Central banks can't "print" creditworthy borrowers, solvent companies, real-world collateral, risk-free "investing," oil, jobs, trust in failed institutions, social cohesion or anything else of importance that is now scarce. 

The belief that central banks printing currency can "buy/fix" everything that's broken, lost or scarce is the ultimate in denial, fantasy and magical thinking. All that was unsustainably fragile, corrupt and brittle is unraveling, and thinking that ending the lockdowns, approving a vaccine, etc. will stave off causality is the supreme indulgence in denial, fantasy and magical thinking.  

The bloodbath begins ...as profits disappear.

Ohio Wesleyan University is eliminating 18 majors. The University of Florida’s trustees this month took the first steps toward letting the school furlough faculty. The University of California, Berkeley, has paused admissions to its Ph.D. programs in anthropology, sociology and art history.

As it resurges across the country, the coronavirus is forcing universities large and small to make deep and possibly lasting cuts to close widening budget shortfalls. By one estimate, the pandemic has cost colleges at least $120 billion, with even Harvard University, despite its $41.9 billion endowment, reporting a $10 million deficit that has prompted belt tightening.

Lastly ... remember,  COVID-19 is just the warmup for, you guessed it. Global Warming.

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