Economics of the Free Market, Part 5 to blupete's Essay
"Education & The Voucher System"
Economics is a subject which most of us, all too soon, learn to hate. Little wonder! It is very easy to get thrown off by formula spouting egg heads with wizard hats on. Its definition is understandable enough: the study of how human beings allocate scarce resources to produce various commodities and how those goods are distributed for consumption among the people in society. The essence of economics lies in the fact that resources are scarce, or at least limited, and that not all human needs and desires can be met. It all boils down to how stuff gets produced and how it gets distributed.
Economics was, as a study, first established in the 18th century by Adam Smith, who founded the so-called classical school, which included other British economists such as David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. The classical school embraced the concept that economics concerned itself with the study of natural laws. The classical school believes there exists a natural law, an egocentric mechanism, which drives an extended order of collaboration. This we call a "market"; it consists of a complex of interacting individuals or groups of individuals, all working consciously to advance themselves, and by so working advance society, albeit unconsciously, as a whole.
It was John Maynard Keynes who in the 20th century developed prescriptive theories which ever since have been lovingly embraced by politicians. Economists, by and large, the handmaidens of government (in an act which in itself supports the classical school theory) were attracted to the Keynesian school. In recent years, more and more people of influence have come to see the immense social problems brought by profligate government spending, and, in returning to the classical views, have recognized the power and diversity of the free market.
Before passing on, I should observe that the running of a private school in this province (Nova Scotia) has not yet been outlawed (unlike medicine; but, that, is a different topic). One can set up a private school: all that is necessary is to comply with certain standards as is determined by government regulation (as likely it should be). On setting up a private school, however, one will be faced with competition which is 100% subsidized by the tax payers. Parents (I am told a disproportionate number of public school teachers do this) who send their children off to private schools pay twice, once through their taxes and then again to the private schools. Because of this there exists a huge damp blanket over the education market. This situation is not fair; it is inefficient and thus costly; it deprives us of choice; and it is depriving too many of our children of their right to a proper education.
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