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Cornering the Market (And mugging it, too)

July 17, 2014

You’ll see. My school is different. They’re not the ones causing the problem, says every student ever. Before long, these students constitute a “collective acceptance”. But why is this such a prevalent problem? Why does “the inability to think outside the box” occur across all these different schools that have been thoroughly branded as nuanced and divergent? Could it be that, regardless of the aesthetics and fanfare, fundamentally, they are all still operating inside the same framework? For the purposes of discussion, let’s call it the Behaviorist Model of Education. We could summarize the Behaviorist model as follows: From the State and through the State and to the State are all things. And all the State’s robots said, Amen!

There is no mysterious “society” to blame. There is you and me. People making choices. The more choices, the better. The current system is the result of fewer choices. Fewer choices is not a voluntary arrangement.

Student loans and research grants come from the State. The funding goes to institutions that the State has accredited. This creates a tax-funded cartel, which reinforces certain standards that must be supported by a particular academic model. It does not matter if this is a good model. It is the State’s model. It does not matter if you like this model. There are men with guns who like this model. They will force you to fund it. Did I mention that accreditation was a cartel? The men with guns will keep out competitors. They will use tax incentives and regulations to distort demand for alternatives.

Rothbard teaches that real-world price competition transcends individual industries to encompass all of human action. It is not enough to regulate the Official definition of academics and scholarship. To prevent people from employing different means entirely, there must also be controls on the accepted definition of labor. Translation: No children allowed. Translation: No more upstarts, licensed members only.

Or to put it another way, Tough luck, kid. Go directly to the Statist prison culture. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

Learn about the origin and purpose of industrialized Education.

Every time a bell rings, a Pavlovian dog moves to another classroom (Or for those who have carried it to a point of true consistency: Every time a bell rings, a Chinaman leaps out of a Foxconn window).

The issue is this: risk management. The point is to negotiate uncertainty. State-sanctioned credentials are a means. The watering down effect of credentialism is part of the economic calculation. Formal education demands payment up front. It is an investment. Before committing to a means, doing research is A Good Idea. Considering alternative means is also A Good Idea. Making a major investment without any expectation of a stable return is Not A Good Idea.

If college does not dramatically reduce uncertainty for future employment, it is an extraordinary waste of someone’s inheritance.

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