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Education could be a force for inequality just as well. Especially when the government chooses just to simulate public interest.

From Salon.com:

... Everyone in the age of inequality knows that the purpose of a college education isn't to benefit the nation; it's to give the private individual a shot at achieving a High Net Worth.

Agreeing upon that, everyone from state legislators to the Secretary of Education naturally began to ask, Why should I pay for someone else to get rich? Those people need to foot the bill themselves.

[...] Werth quoted an administrator from Lehigh University who put the new philosophy succinctly: "If it's going to be a world of haves and have-nots, we sure intend to be among the haves."

That is the offer our ever-more expensive colleges extend to their students as well: in a world of rich and poor, the only choice before you is whether or not you intend to purchase a place among the haves. And these days even the once-sanctimonious New York Times runs stories openly treating the most expensive colleges as brands, as class signifiers.

Economists who write about class issues usually depict higher ed as a force for solving the inequality problem, not for making it worse. Other big thinkers tell us that universities are fountainheads of innovation and creativity, the only things we really have going for us as a nation. Those attitudes, plus the amazing deference our professional and political classes feel toward the hallowed groves of academe, probably explain why this industry has been able to get away with 30 years of something close to price gouging, a practice that would never be tolerated from any other provider of life's necessities...

by das monde on Wed Jun 11th, 2014 at 05:15:10 AM EST

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