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The half-privatization of public higher education

May 28, 2014 7 comments

from Robert Locke

Privatization is a big topic, but it is, since the enclosure moment in 18th century Britain, hardly a new one.  Usually people think of privatization since then in terms of how common ownership of physical capital, has been eliminated to the benefit of the rich investor.  Here the subject is approached from the viewpoint of human capital embodied in public education, especially higher education.

Economic theory has ignored and then de-emphasized this focus.  David Levi Faur explained in “Friedrich List and the political economy of the nation-state. (article in the Review of International Political Economy 4:1 Spring 1997: 154–178) that “in modern terminology we may say that Friedrich List emphasized the importance of human capital in economic development, which has been neglected in mainstream economic theory.”  Even when it was finally introduced into UK & US economics and their establishment followers,

“in the 1960s it received an individualistic interpretation that hardly did justice to the important role of the state and nationalist movements in building a mass system of education – not as a response to individuals, or to a market-driven demand for education, but as an elite effort to educate (and mobilize) the masses.” Read more…

Categories: education

Business schools and inequailty

September 21, 2013 3 comments

from Peter Radford

You may not be aware of the article that has created quite a storm on the New York Times website. It is about inequality at Harvard Business School and the insidious consequences of the emergence of a “class” system there.

Don’t laugh.

If HBS is now afflicted by class issues and the social disaster of inequality, then we can assume the rest of the country is in worse shape. HBS is, of course, partly responsible for the inequality we now suffer from through its relentless production of clever people with great connections who exploit finance and consulting without adding on offsetting social value.

Disclaimer: I graduated from HBS in 1979. Things seem to have changed enormously since I was there. Sure we had our contingent of super privileged kids, but the bulk of our class seemed to me to be from pretty ordinary backgrounds. The obnoxious oppression of class was largely absent. At least we could ignore the super wealthy and the quasi aristocrats because they were too few to have much impact.

Since then things have changed. Read more…

Elsevier’s “licence to print money” is “absurd and unjust”.

April 23, 2012 2 comments

from Edward Fullbrook

Few large circulation periodicals are more rightwing and committed to defending corporate interests   than The Economist.  But below is the opening paragraph from an editorial in their print edition. 

PUBLISHING obscure academic journals is that rare thing in the media industry: a licence to print money. An annual subscription to Tetrahedron, a chemistry journal, will cost your university library $20,269; a year of the Journal of Mathematical Sciences will set you back $20,100. In 2011 Elsevier, the biggest academic-journal publisher, made a profit of £768m ($1.2 billion) on revenues of £2.1 billion. Such margins (37%, up from 36% in 2010) are possible because the journals’ content is largely provided free by researchers, and the academics who peer-review their papers are usually unpaid volunteers. The journals are then sold to the very universities that provide the free content and labour. For publicly funded research, the result is that the academics and taxpayers who were responsible for its creation have to pay to read it. This is not merely absurd and unjust; it also hampers education and research. Read more…

International College Comparisons

April 13, 2012 4 comments

from John Schmitt

Paul Krugman has reproduced an OECD chart that was featured in a recent post by Jared Bernstein. The graph of interest (below) contrasts the share of older and younger people in OECD countries that have the equivalent of a four-year college degree or more.

Tertiary education, by age and country, OECD

Source: OECD via Jared Bernstein. Read more…

Categories: education
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