Mike Rowe succeeded because his grandfather the handyman lived in a world that offered Mike the chance to do either the pipefitting or the communication studies at Towson University and still sing opera (seriously, go look up his background).
... consider the panic over "downsizing" that gripped America in 1996. As economists quickly pointed out, the rate at which Americans were losing jobs in the 90s was not especially high by historical standards. Why, then, did downsizing suddenly become news? Because for the first time white-collar, college-educated workers were being fired in large numbers, even while skilled machinists and other blue-collar workers were in high demand. This should have been a clear signal that the days of ever-rising wage premia for people with higher education were over, but somehow nobody noticed.
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