A guilty pleasure of mine is the pessimistic rhetoric -- occasionally bordering on the apocalyptic or revolutionary -- surrounding the famously dismal academic job market. Once on the right wavelength, it can be as fun to read as any pulp novel. Here is a choice quote from the Chronicle of Higher Education this week:
Essentially, as Bousquet explained, the "job market" is a fiction that coerces us into competition with each other instead of asking questions about the constructed nature of the academic workplace. The primary purpose of graduate programs, he argued, was not to produce degree-holders but to provide cheap, non-degreed teaching labor for the universities. The predicted job crisis had been solved by an influx of graduate students encouraged by the prospect of future job opportunities. That was the new job system, and it was working perfectly well. As a result, the completion of a doctorate in the humanities now marked the logical end of one's academic career rather than the beginning of it. We were waste products who needed to be flushed from the system to make way for the next serving of exploited "apprentices." Higher education -- which I had always assumed to have my best interests at heart -- had become a kind of pyramid scheme with us at the bottom, the new academic proletariat.