Why Government Monopolies are Bad: The School Choice Example

If you thought the USA was the land of the free and the home of the brave, think again. Even the US is not free from government control. And it is going to get a lot worse. A Center for Freedom and Prosperity video explains why government monopolies are bad. “Competition promotes innovation and results in higher quality and lower costs. Government-run schools are a tragic example, by contrast, of why monopolies generate bad results. This video uses the example of school choice to explain why competition is a better approach.”

10 thoughts on “Why Government Monopolies are Bad: The School Choice Example

  1. So, how come USA with the most free healthcare market has worst healthcare system even after spending more than double than say other OECD countries where healthcare has much more govt control?

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  2. Glad that you brought this topic up again Atanu. I personally am for school-voucher-system. However I have got following doubts/concerns. I will like to know your view on the same.

    What if school is corrupt and gives money back to parents to get students?

    How do parents judge goodness of school? Gutfeel? Or should there be standard exams by third-party where participation is voluntary?

    What if parents use vouchers to send kids to schools teaching harmful/archaic-things? Should there be a standard curriculum for a school to get voucher redemption? How to ensure that school is indeed teaching the curriculum it has vouched for?

    Is the voucher system to replace government-schools altogether?

    What if schools of various religions/caste come up and students get segregated?

    Go read the questions from one Mike Joseph on this school voucher issue:
    http://www.sdst.org/shs/quest/vouchers.html

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  3. Thank God , you have consistently advocated competition in most spheres including education the crucial one.

    Because the establishment has wantonly neglected quality education accessible for all , we have a paucity of competent knowledgeable Teachers. Homeschooling in addition to the torture of going to a substandard school was a luxury a middle aged person like me enjoyed. In the form of tolerant mellow grandparents & parents well versed in lots of edifying parables , stories & Puranas.

    Lack of affluence curiously proved to be a blessing in disguise as radio , movies, cricket etc were totally fenced out. Hence parents today have to play a proactive role in moulding & educating their children. Monitoring what their five senses consume.

    As someone wisely observed ” Never let the school interfere with your education”.

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  4. Adding to my comments.

    What kind of role models we present before our children is of immense consequence. Thanks to the nation’s obsession with movies & cricket , the rot set in earlier. In the late seventies many children were named ‘Rajesh’ ( after rajesh khanna) by their parents. Then followed Sachin & so forth.

    Ludicrous to expect such parents to spawn forth children with exceptional gravitas.

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  5. When the late Tamil poet Kannadasan was extolled for his prolific , variegated & inspiring output of impromptu compositions he replied unabashedly ( in atheism promoting tamil nadu):-

    ” I owe everything to my learning of ‘Naalayira Divya Prabandham'”.

    (” The Divya Prabandham is the collective corpus of the passionate hymns of the Alvar mystics….The Divya Prabandham is in the form of adoration of the deities of 108 temples (divya desams) situated in different parts of the country, and employs every form of poetics (aNi) and prosody (chandam) available in Tamil”.)

    He has written a small booklet recording his meeting with Kaanchi Shankaracharya concluding with the following lines:-

    ” By badmouthing & maligning Him as ‘Brahmin Seer’ it is we alone who stand to lose…”.

    All the witnesses have testified they were “threatened with a gun pointed at them ” to falsely implicate our Aacharya.

    What are the arrogantly vocal n rams , pintos , jennifer aruls & the plethora of tv channels doing today ?

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  6. What Alexander Tyler said , while writing about the fall of the
    Athenian Republic sounds just perfect for India.

    “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of
    government. It can only exist until the voters
    discover that they can vote themselves money from the
    public treasure. From that moment on the majority
    always votes for the candidates promising the most
    money from the public treasury, with the result that a
    democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy
    followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the
    world’s great civilizations has been two hundred
    years. These nations have progressed through the
    following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith,
    from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to
    liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to
    selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from
    complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from
    dependency back to bondage”.

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  7. Government run schools aren’t the only monopolies that plague the US. Corporate monopolies cause as much harm. Take the mobile communications industry as an example. If you want a particular phone, you are tied to one service provider. You can’t change providers without losing some serious cash. All the carriers seem to have an implicit agreement to screw the customer. Where else would you find brain dead schemes like charging for incoming calls and SMS?

    Compare that to the mobile communications market in India. There is heavy competition amongst carriers. You are free to switch carriers at will. Calls and SMS are cheap.

    Other famous monopolists from the tech industry are IBM, Microsoft and Intel. Before Microsoft, IBM was “fondly” referred to as the 800 pound gorilla and the Big Iron. You did what they told you to do. PCs were extremely expensive. It was only when IBM PC clones with Microsoft’s DOS came into picture did PCs become affordable. By the mid nineties Windows became the default desktop OS and Microsoft tasted monopoly. Today their hunger still preys upon other good alternatives in the desktop market. Intel used its monopolistic position to strong arm hardware manufacturers from using AMD chips.

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