At The Atlantic, Edward Tenner notes the resurgance of Philosophy as a major on college campuses:
One of the many small surprises of the recession has been a significant growth in the number of philosophy majors, according the the Philadelphia Inquirer. It has slightly exceeded the growth of enrollments in the last ten years; many other humanities and social science fields have just kept up. At the University of California at Berkeley, despite or because of the state's economic turmoil, the number of majors has increased by 74 percent in the last decade.
Part of the reason, for this, he notes, is that philosophy offers a variety of skills that are useful beyond academia, as well as having an institutional structure (in bioethics programs, for example) that make a "job" as a philosopher more credible than for, say, a history major.
But let's not overlook the fact that philosophers can, under the right circumstances, make gobs of money:
It is true that philosophy majors' salaries aren't especially high. On the other hand, when they do set out to make money, they often make lots of it, fromGeorge Soros and Carl Icahn to Peter Thiel. In fact, the late tycoon Max Palevskyonce told a newspaper interviewer:
Many of us early workers in computers were philosophy majors. You can imagine our surprise at being able to make rather comfortable livings.
I have to admit, as a former philosophy major for whom jokes about graduating to work at McDonalds were pretty much par for the course, this is nice to hear. It reminds me of the line from Neill Simon's Max Dugan Returns, when asked by his grandson of you can make a lot of money at philosophy, Max responds, "if you've got the right one."