Jamble Magazine Green Economy – Green News


October 28, 2018

Can the Harvard Class of 2011 "See" Their Future Using a Sample of Harvard’s Class of 1975?

Category: Green Environmental – Admin – 12:49 pm

In a stationary economy, young people can ”see” their future based on what has happened to previous cohorts who are now middle aged.   So, for the Harvard Class of 2011 what can they learn about their future 35 years from now in 2045 based on the  Harvard’s Class of 1975 asks “what if” about today?

Allow me to cherry pick some quotes:

“But over half will wish they could make a major life decision again, more than three-quarters will have gained weight, and around one-fifth of the class will have had an affair.

These statistics, found in a 100-question survey conducted this year of Harvard and Radcliffe students who graduated in 1975, portray a class whose members—despite some significant regrets—are largely satisfied with the current state of their lives and are optimistic about the future.”

So based on probability theory, what is your best guess that a Harvard graduate who is age 57 will get fat and have an affair?  Do you guess .75*.2?    I love sociology.

Back to the article:

“But when alumni were asked to reveal the main personal issue they confront today, they divulged more serious answers.  “I need to become brave enough to leave my husband,” wrote one alumna. Another asked, “What do I want to do with the rest of my life?””  

I thought that a Harvard degree guaranteed being happy.  I was very happy there as a Visiting Assistant Professor from 1996 to 1998. 

Back to the article:

“On family life, 94.2 percent of men and 85.7 percent of women said they are happy in their current relationship.

About 50 percent of alumni said that they either do not believe in God or do not know, although over 90 percent said spirituality was a force for good.

Over 65 percent said that the happiest time of their lives was now or yet to come.”

I don’t know if I believe this but I am not Dennis Gilbert and I am not happy.

I can’t remember who I was at age 22.  I know that I didn’t have the zealous focus of a Zuck.  There was no one passion pushing me forward.   I had a broad array of skills and interests and I thought that economics opened the most doors and had the most option value in terms of making a choice later once I was well trained.

The one weakness of this “attitudes” survey is that it could have presented a household income histogram. How many of these graduates are members of wealthy families? How many spouses married into wealthy families? How many of the graduates made their own wealth? 

What role  has the “Harvard Network” played in this wealth creation? Did they join a firm filled with Harvard people?  Did they meet their spouse at Harvard?     

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