Re: Paying for Schools (was: SOCIETY: Re: The privatization of public security)

From: Russell Blackford (
Date: Fri Aug 24 2001 - 18:05:22 MDT

Miriam said

>I have nothing against private education, but it is not the solution to all
>educational needs. Likewise free market economics can be extremely useful,
>but there are definite limits to its usefulness.

I basically agree with this.

I'm not sure just what the gripe is on the other side. Is it that government
money for schools is a violation of our "natural rights" unless it is given
voluntarily? Or is it simply that the state school system is economically

If anyone believes the former, I can't help you. We are getting into these
metaphysical doctrines that purist libertarians believe and which I reject.

However, arguments based on economics are another story. I'm as fiscally
conservative and as alert to the practical advantages of competition and
individual decision making as most people.

So, is there a way to redistribute money to the poorer people in the
community to pay for a good education for their kids, while keeping the
advantages of competition, decentralisation, etc, which Lee has extolled so

When the question is asked this way, it seems to force us towards
considering some kind of voucher system. I've never been a great fan of
voucher systems below the tertiary education level, but I'm starting to
think this was just a (mildly) left-wing prejudice of mine. So let's make it
an open question. Could the left-liberals (as the Americans call them; I
think us Aussies, and probably the Europeans, would probably call them
social democrats) and the libertarians on the list discuss in an open-minded
way, without prejudice to our ultimate views, what would be the advantages
*and* disadvantages of a voucher system? Can we reach agreement that *if*
the state is going to fund education, this would be a better way? Or are
there genuine educational and economic problems? I think I can still see
some problems, but they may be surmountable.


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