Compass are ignorant idiots

But then we knew that:

Because this isn\’t just about fees, but about the final transformation of our education system from a public into a private good.

Whether education (or anything else for that matter) is a public or a private good has absolutely sweet fuck all to do with how it is financed.

A public good is non-excludable and non-rivalrous. It is not a good (or service) which is publicly funded, nor is it one provided to the public: it\’s not even one that the public would like to have.

It\’s probable that basic education is a public good, given that living in a society which is literate and numerate is both a good thing and non rivalrous and non excludable (and wouldn\’t it be nice to have an education system which did such?).

It\’s also highly likely that research is a public  good (although we might want to distinguish between the benefit of more Womyns\’ Studies and basic physics at CERN).

But the education of undergraduates? Both rivalrous and excludable, so not a public good, sorry, it just ain\’t.

And nor does the method of finance move it from one class to the other, whatever the original classification.

6 thoughts on “Compass are ignorant idiots”

  1. “public” is much misused. Remember how The Left liked to call government-owned businesses “public”. Ha bloody ha.

  2. “But the education of undergraduates? Both rivalrous and excludable, so not a public good, sorry, it just ain’t.”

    I don’t think most people know what a public good is. They certainly wouldn’t know what you’re talking about if you mentioned club goods.

  3. @Rob You must be a patriarchal oppressor if you don’t know that no true feminist would refer to herself as a woman

  4. @Tim: I don’t think they really understand “public good” as it is used as an economic term at all. I submit that there is a more fundamental error than making up a new definition for a public good. They fail to apprehend what economists mean by a “good”. They think it is a term equivalent to “benefit”. That’s how “positional good” is used further down, to mean a circumstantial advantage.

    Replace “good” with “benefit” throughout the text of the letter, and it makes sense, more or less — as a piece of moralistic whining. That’s consistent with their general understanding of economics as a branch of political activity, a distributive justification, rather than a means of understanding the phenomena of exchange.

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