Polly\’s been toking today too

I can\’t think of anything which would explain this lot today other than ingestion of a goodly quantity of happy pills.

In what Ucas calls \”the most competitive year ever\”, remember how 20 years ago anyone who could scrape together a couple of passes found a place on some university course somewhere, with little to pay. Once students pay the whole cost, the value of that degree needs to be cashable. Creeping credentialism means anyone without a degree competes at a disadvantage with graduates for jobs that never needed a degree before.

Yes, quite. This is the point about making students aware of the cost of their education.

When everyone can get a degree at no direct personal cost then we\’ll see that credentialism as everyones\’ got a degree. Make people realise the true cost of a degree and we\’ll see that degrees are demanded only for those times and places when a degree is necessary.

More simply, supply and demand really do work you know? If 50% of the age cohort have degrees then 50% of the jobs will demand degrees. It\’s a simple filter for people doing the hiring.

It\’s an odd irony, and no doubt one he feels himself, that David Willetts, author of the best book on the broken intergenerational social contract, is now responsible for making university so much harder to access. The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Stole Their Children\’s Future, is a devastating critique of our \”selfish giant\” of a postwar generation, where 45-65s hold 52% of the wealth, and the under 45s only 13%.

Dear God Above. This is simple maths Polly.

To examine how much inequality you would get even in a perfectly equal society, I whipped up a simple Python script to compute wealth distribution in a society where every person works for the exact same salary (this should be enough equality for anybody, yes?) of which he saves the exact same amount. For a 5% annual interest rate, the five wealth quintiles controlled 2, 7, 15, 28, and 47 percent of total wealth, respectively. For 10%, these quintiles controlled 0, 4, 10, 25 and 60 percent of wealth.

Lifetime savings hypothesis and all that. People don\’t start saving until they start work. They the keep saving while they work. Thus, obviously, wealth will be concentrated in the hands of those who have been saving for decades, not those who have been saving for the last 5 minutes since they first got a job.

What\’s more, their children now marry into their own class more than before, due to \”assortative mating\”,

Indeed, but what are we going to do about it? State distribution of marriage partners next?

Since private schools spend around three times more per pupil, that\’s no surprise.

You what?

The State spends, umm, £6k, £7 k per pupil, something like that isn\’t it? Boarding schools might spend three times that but no day school does. That\’s over the edge of the damned lies part of the statistics continuum isn\’t it?

The young pay for the financiers\’ calamity while my generation keeps its bus pass, winter fuel allowance and hefty state subsidy to pension contributions.

Err, no. Winter fuel and bus passes come when you retire. By definition, when you retire, you\’re not making pension contributions nor enjoying tax relief on them, are you?

But I\’ll agree with you there, abolish the bus passes and the winter fuel allowance. Finally Polly agrees with Christopher Fildes on something…..

6 thoughts on “Polly\’s been toking today too”

  1. Whoa, Polly wrote a Python script?

    Tim adds: No, that’s Illkka (sp?) this blog’s Finnish Canadian correspondent.

  2. Even though I’d rather have the money in my pocket without the transfer costs of government taking off me to give it back, I like the winter fuel allowance, because it enables me to stick an invisible two fingers up at them. I do this by conscientiously spending the money on fuel, which I define as anything that can be converted into energy: so good claret, smoked salmon and chocolate feature heavily.

  3. Unimportant Quibbler

    I think Tim’s assertion “no day school does” is too strong, as William M. Connolley points out there are some, although not very many.

    But Polly’s assertion is also very strong – that private schools spend around three times as much on education as state schools. But the average figure for day schools (and boarding schools are a dumb comparison) seems to be about £9000/year. And there are low-price providers such as Cognita who offer prices roughly on a par with state school costs.

    (There are also some very low-price private schools run as Islamic schools – something in the region of a hundred throughout England, so about 5% of all private schools. I recall some had prices of just a couple of thousand pounds a year, which may skew the overall figures – the schools don’t necessarily offer a full curriculum or as many hours per week tuition as a standard school, and such institutions also have a negative effect on the private sector’s overall results. Moral of the story: don’t treat the private sector, even the day schools, as a homogenous mass.)

    I’m pretty sure Polly is wrong – the private sector isn’t succeeding because it is stuffed full of gold, and while there may be schools that spend roughly 3x as much on “education” as state schools (i.e. excluding boarding costs) that’s very unusual.

  4. I suffered both private and state schooling, and it always seemed to me that the only significant benefit of private schooling is the sort of people you’re at school with, that is it’s a basis for future networking. There was nothing that remarkable about the teaching itself.

    But, due to state schooling being “free”, private schools have to provide bells and whistles to make them seem worth paying for, you know, “set in a zillion acres of beautiful English countryside, here’s the Georgian music room” kind of thing, because if they offered the same standard as state schools, it wouldn’t be worth paying for. So they’re forced into the luxury market, which obviously forces their costs up.

    Even though really, the only real advantage is that the rest of your class are the sons of wealthy accountants and PR executives and quangocrats, rather than being from council estates like they are at Gasworks Street Comprehensive.

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