Why we subsidise arts majors


General Culture

“Is it really so surprising that, as we grow wealthier as a society, more and more of our young people, when the amazing resources of the modern university are put at their disposal, choose to use them learning something satisfying and enriching and not for anything except cherishing the rest of their lives? Is it really so surprising that taxpayers are not in revolt over the existence of poetry professors? […] I spent last evening reading a fine Pulitzer prize-winning novel by a graduate of a state-university creative-writing program. I appreciate everything math majors do for us. I really do. But, as far as I know, a math major has never made me cry.” - W.W. at The Economist’s Democracy in America

Update (3 Nov 2011): Via Twitter, Richard Bram aptly observes: “Some math majors became financial products gurus & came up with things that crashed the system in ‘08. Many people cried.”