你好,欢迎来到经管之家 [登录] [注册]

设为首页 | 经管之家首页 | 收藏本站

转载《经济学人》的文章:为什么读博士总是浪费时间

发布时间: 来源:人大经济论坛
[Christmas Specials] [2010.12.16]The disposable academic一次性学术生涯
http://www.ecocn.org/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=44269&extra=page%3D1&page=1


The disposable academic

一次性学术生涯

Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time

为什么读博士只是浪费时间

Doctoral degrees

博士学位

http://www.ecocn.org/static/image/filetype/av.gif 090 Christmas special - Doctoral degrees.mp3 (5.58 MB, 下载次数: 50)
Dec 16th 2010 | from PRINT EDITION


http://media.economist.com/images/images-magazine/2010/12/18/xw/20101218_xwd001.jpg

ON THE evening before All Saints’ Day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg. In those days a thesis was simply a position one wanted to argue. Luther, an Augustinian friar, asserted that Christians could not buy their way to heaven. Today a doctoral thesis is both an idea and an account of a period of original research. Writing one is the aim of the hundreds of thousands of students who embark on a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) every year.

1517年万圣节的前一天晚上,马丁路德将(对赎罪券的)九十五条看法钉在了威登堡教堂的大门上。那时,论文不过是人们想论证的一个立场。身为奥古斯丁修道会修士的路德声称,天主教徒不能通过赎买进入天堂。如今,博士论文既是一种观点,也是对一段原创性研究活动的说明。写一篇这样的东西,每年都有成千上万攻读博士学位的学子以此为目标。

In most countries a PhD is a basic requirement for a career in academia. It is an introduction to the world of independent research—a kind of intellectual masterpiece, created by an apprentice in close collaboration with a supervisor. The requirements to complete one vary enormously between countries, universities and even subjects. Some students will first have to spend two years working on a master’s degree or diploma. Some will receive a stipend; others will pay their own way. Some PhDs involve only research, some require classes and examinations and some require the student to teach undergraduates. A thesis can be dozens of pages in mathematics, or many hundreds in history. As a result, newly minted PhDs can be as young as their early 20s or world-weary forty-somethings.

在大多数国家,拥有博士学位是在研究机构就职的基本条件。这是独立研究世界的序曲,是一种智力开拓,是学徒和导师紧密合作的产物。在不同的国家、大学甚至是学科,授予学位的要求迥然各异。有些学生先得花两年时间取得硕士学位或毕业证。有些学生会得到奖学金;其他人将自掏腰包。有些博士学位只要求进行研究,有些则需要上课和考试,还有些需要进行本科生教学。数学论文几十页就够了,而历史学论文要数百页。其结果是,有些新科博士二十刚出头,还有些则已经是到了玩世不恭的四十岁左右了。

One thing many PhD students have in common is dissatisfaction. Some describe their work as “slave labour”. Seven-day weeks, ten-hour days, low pay and uncertain prospects are widespread. You know you are a graduate student, goes one quip, when your office is better decorated than your home and you have a favourite flavour of instant noodle. “It isn’t graduate school itself that is discouraging,” says one student, who confesses to rather enjoying the hunt for free pizza. “What’s discouraging is realising the end point has been yanked out of reach.”

大多博士生的一个共同点是爱发牢骚。有些人说自己从事“奴役劳动”。一周七天,一天十时,薪酬低下,前途渺茫,到处都是这样。你明白自己是个研究生,来句自嘲吧,现在是“办公室比家好,方便面是最大爱好”。“研究生院本身并不让人失望”,有个学生这样说,这人也坦承乐于找寻免费匹萨,“让人泄气的是明白要延期了”。

Whining PhD students are nothing new, but there seem to be genuine problems with the system that produces research doctorates (the practical “professional doctorates” in fields such as law, business and medicine have a more obvious value). There is an oversupply of PhDs. Although a doctorate is designed as training for a job in academia, the number of PhD positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Meanwhile, business leaders complain about shortages of high-level skills, suggesting PhDs are not teaching the right things. The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes.

博士生爱发牢骚并不少见,但看起来博士培养体系确实出了问题(实用型的“专业博士”,如法律、商务和医药等含金量更高一些)。博士供过于求。虽然博士是为从事研究而培养,但是学位授予数量和岗位需求数量却是脱节的。同时,商务领导们抱怨自己缺乏高水平的技能,并认为给博士们讲授的内容不对头。激烈的批评家则把博士学位和旁氏骗局和金字塔骗局相提并论。

Rich pickings

丰裕的外快

For most of history even a first degree at a university was the privilege of a rich few, and many academic staff did not hold doctorates. But as higher education expanded after the second world war, so did the expectation that lecturers would hold advanced degrees. American universities geared up first: by 1970 America was producing just under a third of the world’s university students and half of its science and technology PhDs (at that time it had only 6% of the global population). Since then America’s annual output of PhDs has doubled, to 64,000.

历史上很长时期内,甚至获得一级学位都只是少数富人的特权,多数教职也无需博士头衔。但是从二战后,高等教育迅速扩张,因此人们也更希望教师拥有高等学位。美国大学是始作俑者:到1970年,美国培养了近全世界三分之一的大学生,50%的科学和技术博士(当时美国人口只占全球近6%)。从那时起到现在,美国年度培养的博士数量已经翻番至64000人。

Other countries are catching up. Between 1998 and 2006 the number of doctorates handed out in all OECD countries grew by 40%, compared with 22% for America. PhD production sped up most dramatically in Mexico, Portugal, Italy and Slovakia. Even Japan, where the number of young people is shrinking, churned out about 46% more PhDs. Part of that growth reflects the expansion of university education outside America. Richard Freeman, a labour economist at Harvard University, says that by 2006 America was enrolling just 12% of the world’s students.

其他国家正在迎头赶上。在1998年到2006年,OECD国家的博士数量就增长了40%,与之相比,美国是22%。在墨西哥、葡萄牙、意大利和斯洛伐克,博士培养在急剧增长。甚至日本这个年轻人口正在萎缩的国家,也大量炮制博士,其数量增长了46%。这种增长部分地反映了美国以外的大学教育的扩张。哈佛大学的劳动经济学家,理查德弗里曼说,到2006年,美国只招收了全球大学生的12%。

But universities have discovered that PhD students are cheap, highly motivated and disposable labour. With more PhD students they can do more research, and in some countries more teaching, with less money. A graduate assistant at Yale might earn $20,000 a year for nine months of teaching. The average pay of full professors in America was $109,000 in 2009—higher than the average for judges and magistrates.

但是大学已经发现,博士生是廉价的、奋发的、便于使用的劳动力。博士生越多,就可做更多研究,在有些国家就意味着,花更少的钱进行更多的教学。在耶鲁,一名助教承担9个月的教学工作,每年大概可赚2万美元。而2009年美国全职教授的平均工资是10万9千美元——高于法官和地方行政官员的收入。

Indeed, the production of PhDs has far outstripped demand for university lecturers. In a recent book, Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus, an academic and a journalist, report that America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees between 2005 and 2009. In the same period there were just 16,000 new professorships. Using PhD students to do much of the undergraduate teaching cuts the number of full-time jobs. Even in Canada, where the output of PhD graduates has grown relatively modestly, universities conferred 4,800 doctorate degrees in 2007 but hired just 2,616 new full-time professors. Only a few fast-developing countries, such as Brazil and China, now seem short of PhDs.

确实,博士的供给已经远远超出大学对教师的需求。最近在一本著作中,Andrew Hacker和Claudia Dreifus(一个是学者,一个是记者)指出,从2005到2009年,美国培养了超过10万名博士,但在同一时期,只有1万6千名教授席位。使用博士生承担更多本科教学,会削减全职工作席位。甚至在加拿大,虽然博士数量增长相对慢一些,但在2007年大学仍授予4800个博士学位,而只雇佣了2616名新的全职教授。只有一些快速发展的国家,例如巴西和中国,现在似乎还缺乏博士。


经管之家“学道会”小程序
  • 扫码加入“考研学习笔记群”
推荐阅读
经管之家精彩文章推荐