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The economic value comes from creativity. I'm not saying, of course, that non-humanities majors are not creative. However, an undergraduate degree in the humanities reflects a broader-based education than any other field. Generally, one could likely also argue that someone with a humanities background places a high value on a broad-based education.

Creativity generates economic stimulus. Creativity requires ideas. An idea is the synthesis of disparite elements. An education in the humanities emphasizes the act of synthesizing disparite elements. Therefore, college graduates with a background in the humanities have economic value, especially for entrepreneurial ventures.


One point that I have not seen raised here with regards to students in the humanities is that they pay the same tuition as students in technical fields, even though the costs of their education to the university are considerably lower. In other words, we have some sort of distortion going on here, some sort of cross subsidy, something that I think should be dealt with before discussing if such careers should be subsidized or not. Personally, I am currently teaching a economic sociology class here in the US, and my students pay the same tuition as students in biology or chemistry. Offering sociology classes (for example) is a lot cheaper than offering Chemistry classes, with all its labs and supplies. Perhaps, then, subsidies would not be necessary if there was a difference in tuitions in accordance to their actual course.
A potential negative outcome of this would be what has been going on in my native country, Brazil: we are experiencing a boom in the number of people with college degrees, but most of these degrees are from small private colleges that only offer the cheaper courses, such as Business Administration and accounting, and that do not offer classes in more technological fields, something sorely needed in a developing country.


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