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<nettime> Education costs; was How a Library Saved My Life.
Michael H Goldhaber on Wed, 2 Mar 2011 05:18:18 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Education costs; was How a Library Saved My Life.

Ted, Margaret and others, 

While education should be free, it's important to remember why education costs, like health care costs, are so high. To be sure, the full reasons are many, but two stand out. First, eduction that is worth anything, like good medical care, is hands on and requires personal attention. Much of it simply cannot be automated, while productivity for many kinds of goods and services keeps increasing. Thus, per unit, education and health care costs go up relative to most things. Even low-cost, un-tenured lecturers, paid working-class salaries at best, still have high piece work rates.

Incidentally, among the recent causes of lowered employment,  suspect the Internet plays an increasing role. Not only book, record and video stores are disappearing, but all kinds of stores that sell things more easily accessed by net. And of course printers, book binders, and other related workers in many fields are beginning to disappear as well. That's when the net doesn't simply aid the off-shroign of jobs. All that adds to the relative up-pricing of education.

Second, and relatedly, while it's not quite Hollywood, or even Maj0r League Baseball, education does depend on a star system. In a true attention economy Henry Louis Gates, Gayatri Spivack or Steven Hawking and thousands of others can command very high prices. True, they're not obliged to, but then why hang out at elite institutions? Why accept much lower salaries than say the administrators at such places? 

Given the fact that routine work of most kinds is disappearing, in favor of attention -getting work, the only full answer would require a new kind of re-oredering of priorities, putting equality of results much higher among priorities. We need a national or international movement that does that.


On Feb 25, 2011, at 10:30 AM, t byfield wrote:

> memorse {AT} comcast.net (Thu 02/24/11 at 04:02 PM +0100):

>> Now, to repeat your question, what is being or can be done in regard 
>> to an unsustainable system of student loans?
> I'd be very curious to hear what faculty have to say about this, but
> they seem to be awfully silent on the subject, don't they?

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