Elites And Population Growth

Following up my Taki`s column on how slowly elite communities and institutions are allowed to grow in numbers of residents or participants, I want to mention how hard it is even to Google this topic for colleges. I tried a variety of phrases plausibly referring to expansion of undergraduate numbers, but couldn`t find any combination that referred to more than a trickle of examples. It`s just not a topic that`s broadly discussed, so we lack a general term for it.

I came upon the following article about Pomona College in Claremont, CA, east of Los Angeles. USNWR ranks it #4 among liberal arts colleges in the U.S. It is said to be the richest liberal arts college in the country in terms of endowment per student. Here`s a 2012 article from the student newspaper on the faculty debate over increasing the student body by a total of 3% over the next ten years.

Pomona Faculty Debates Increasing Size of Student Body

By TIM REYNOLDS

Pomona College faculty weighed in on whether or not to increase the size of the student body at a forum in Frank Dining Hall`s Blue Room Tuesday. …

“It is a natural time to ask the question, because the College has to be looking about ten years down the road [for land use regulatory reasons] and considering all of the possible directions it might go,” he wrote.

The college is considering an increase of approximately 50 total students, or 12-15 in each year, Lindholm wrote. Pomona currently has an enrollment of approximately 1,560 students. …

According to data provided by Fass, Pomona has a larger endowment per student than other liberal arts colleges. Pomona’s $954,201 endowment per student is almost 16 percent higher than second place Swarthmore College`s $824,590 per student.

Some professors, however, are not so confident the college can handle the additional students, especially given current over-enrollment in popular departments.

“I don’t find the argument that we have a moral imperative to share the Pomona experience with 50 more students convincing,” Mathematics Professor Erica Flapan wrote in an e-mail to TSL. Flapan opposes increasing the student body.

“Increasing the student body by 50 students could have a negative impact on departments that are already heavily enrolled,” Flapan wrote. “It’s hard to predict the exact impact that 50 more students would have, so why risk it?”

Having looked at a lot of data over the last week, my overall impression is that the “revealed preference” of American elites is for their own personal communities to grow, but at a barely perceptible rate, not more than 0.5% per year and often well under that. There are exceptions — e.g., periods of early growth in numbers — but there is little evidence that elites tolerate rapid growth in numbers for long in their own daily lives.

Shrinkage is rarer, but not unknown. For example, Mayor Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, Henry Kravis, Sean Connery, and Tom Brokaw belong to Deepdale Golf Club in New York`s suburbs. But the surviving members have generally preferred to not replace old members as they died off, so by the 1990s, Deepdale was down to about ten rounds of golf per day.

That didn`t stop Mayor Bloomberg for citing golf courses as needing illegal immigrants. From 2006:

Bloomberg: Illegal immigrants help golfers

NEW YORK, April 1 (UPI) — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says golf fairways would suffer if illegal immigrants were returned to their native country.

“You and I are beneficiaries of these jobs,” Bloomberg told his WABC-AM radio co-host, John Gambling. “You and I both play golf; who takes care of the greens and the fairways in your golf course?”

However, Robert Heaney, general manager of Deepdale Golf Club — a Long Island course where Bloomberg often plays — told The New York Daily News that no illegal immigrants work at the club.

Here`s something interesting:

In 2001, when he first ran for mayor, Mr. Bloomberg quit the Century Country Club in Purchase, which is predominately white. He maintains memberships at the Deepdale Golf Club in Manhasset, the Atlantic Golf Club in Bridgehampton, the Saint Andrews Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson and the Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda.

The Century Country Club is Jewish. I was under the impression that Century is the club Bill Clinton joined after his Presidency when he found out that Winged Foot and Westchester would force him to wait the usual decade or so on their waiting lists. But, I don`t see evidence for that now, just a notation that Clinton now belongs to Trump National (owned by you know who).