Wednesday, January 17, 2007


The Education Cartel

I was reflecting on my last blog entry when I realized that oligopoly isn't quite the right word to use. There are probably thousands of colleges and universities in the United States.

So what is the word representing the concept in my mind? I did a search on "education cartel" and found a lot of web pages! That was kind of exhilarating. Other people in the world have had similar thoughts! I'm not alone!

I just read through one that I thought looked interesting, called The Coming Breakdown of the Academic Cartel. Here's a quote:

In higher education, government-enforced accreditation restricts the spread of new ideas, new methodologies, and above all, new technologies that enable producers to lower prices. This is how higher education has become uniformly secular, liberal, and mediocre: raising the cost of entry.

I have a lot of reading to do!

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007



[I wrote this for another purpose and didn't want to lose it. I think this version is a little more readable.]

I have a theory that the desire of business (especially government-related business) and government (especially the military) to have an undifferentiated commodity of cheaper, plug-and-play people who do as they're told fuel much of the higher-education system.

Creating such a commodity gives employers an advantage over employees. It allows employers to carve out roles, responsibilities, qualifications, and salaries to their liking and create replaceable cogs in their machines, as it were. (Although, when a company needs innovative advantage over its competition, replaceable cogs work poorly.)

Creating such a commodity also causes tuition rates to skyrocket. The (sometimes artificial) qualification requirements create an overwhelming demand for an inefficient education oligopoly. With parents having to pay out-of-control tuition rates and with information so much more accessible than ever before in history, I'm surprised they are not demanding an alternative.

Having an alternative would give more kids a chance at a good career, which would be better for society overall and would provide companies with more access to smart, creative, and hard-working people who can contribute much-needed innovation.

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