Monday, August 31, 2009

Subsidizing the Common Good II: Education (Reprise)

An astute reader reminded me that my post didn't provide an alternative to the higher education system.

Like unto the situation with pollution, the problem with the education system is subsidies. Anyone involved in mercy ministry of any kind knows that the stated needs are endless and the resources available to meet them are limited: how does one decide who is truly needy and who gets what? Voluntary philanthropic organizations have few resources and thus are on the watch for fraud and inefficiency, but they still make mistakes. How much greater are the stated needs and temptation for fraud going to be when the "benefactor" can expropriate the resources it distributes! Where fewer resources are available, needy people look for alternatives, including making do with what they have.

So, as with pollution, I don't know what would happen if the government got entirely out of the education business. But it's reasonable to assume that there would be fewer teachers and students in the kinds of situations currently subsidized, i.e., brick-and-mortar schools, and more people learning in apprenticeships and, more importantly, ways I'd never think of. Again, eight billion people would be working on the problem and treating each other as equals in the process; a smaller number of politicians and tenured bureaucrats would not be using other people's money.

Most importantly, we would be free of the end-justifies-the-means morality that undergirds the present system.

1 comment:

  1. We need more Hillsdale College's. That would be a start, for sure.