Education in the free market

Piksmeat's picture
Submitted by Piksmeat on Tue, 2006-10-24 14:39

I've often wondered how education would work under the free market.
How would the children of families, who can't afford school fees and who also can't aford to give up work to educate their children, be educated?

Would they, who previously had their children educated by the state, need to pass on these fee's to their employers?

Those that do give up work to educate thier children at home, will the state regulate and inspect how thier children are taught?
As if, when these children mature, what their paretns have taught them as left them unfit for employment, what will soceity do with these individuals?

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"Private enterprise is more efficient

KevinOwen's picture

"Private enterprise is more efficient at providing goods and services than the government."

I agree, private enterprise is more effeicent. The current experts advising government on education have been around for 30 years or more. Governments fall but these so called experts continue to advise the next Minister of Education on what needs to be done to fix their failures of the past thirty years.

Education Pledge


We pledge to eliminate ... all
evasive psychiatric/psychologically
based programs, assessments
tests and prescribed
psychotropic drugs from our
schools and funding thereof.
We pledge to return [our]
schools to an academic
curriculum utilizing proven
educational methods for
factual knowledge and skills.
We pledge to make education
fully accountable to the

For more information contact:
Citizens Commission on
Human Rights®
Ph/Fax 09-373 -3897
P.O.Box 5257 Auckland

Contrast this with your "opt out" comment

Craig Ceely's picture

Wow, so you are a net tax recipient. You're right, you pay no taxes.

I note that, in another thread, you mention that you have "opted out" of certain union dues. That's kind of like capitalism, where you pay for what you want, and don't pay for what you don't want. Don't you think so?

Too bad actual UK taxpayers can't "opt out" of paying their welfare duties to you, eh?

welfare oh my

Marnee's picture

Good for you Piksmeat! You must be very proud of your hard work and accomplishment. Filling out those forms is tough and requires nominal reading and writing skills. You are an amazing man. Must be a product of the incredible UK state education system.

--KASS on Adam!

You've got some nerve to

Adam Buker's picture

You've got some nerve to come here of all places and basically announce that you willfully engage in legalized theft since you are taking more in tax money than you are contributing. Do you honestly think that you have a right to anybody else's money based on need, whether it's for money or your children's education?! If you were taking only what you put in or less, I would have no argument with you. You would be merely trying to recoup what you lost through governmental coercion, but coming here and stating openly and proudly that we must provide you with money, education for your children, and that the strikers have a duty to save Eddie Willers is morally obscene. Go ahead and say I'm being unfair, but it is people like you who are destroying the world.

Adam Buker

Music Composition

I don't pay any taxes! Well,

Piksmeat's picture

I don't pay any taxes!

Well, I actually receive more in welfare from the UK state than I pay on my salary.

Punctual trains

Jeff Perren's picture

And in Fascist Italy the trains ran on time.

What's your point? That the public school system is good and worth preserving because you found two good teachers and your two children enjoy attending?

While you ponder that, consider that not only do YOUR property taxes go (in part) to support your local public school system, but so do your neighbor's... who may not even have children.

I've never had children, yet I've been paying for others my entire adult life. You owe me money.

Look at your property tax

Aaron's picture

Look at your property tax bill sometime, that's the main source of public school fees now. Also, without that dominant education avenue, private schools would be subject to more true competition as well, motivating better quality, lower price, and/or niche services.

And don't forget that in a free market, your six year old can work in the factory and help earn their own keep. Smiling

Seriously, I don't see a return to that extreme type of child labor (mechanization and more capable, older, lower wage workers would displace such young children). However, society probably would have a more realistic view of even early teens being able to productively work in addition to/instead of schooling, getting them out of often stunting education and having them learn the value and satisfaction of their own labor sooner. I'd also see a big opportunity for vocational or corporate sponsored schools essentially geared to getting apprentices in certain industries; e.g. maybe after the basic 3 R's, many children would go into a few year education/work program targetted at a certain industry or individual company.

Well two of my children go

Piksmeat's picture

Well two of my children go to state schools and they both love it there.
I recently went to a parents evening and got glowing reports for both of them.
Both teachers enjoy teaching my children and my children love attending.
I'm not in any rush to take them out of school and educate them at home. Don't even talk about pirvate school fees, unfortuantely I can't afford those - so will have do without!

And in a free society

User hidden's picture

And in a free society without government schooling, we wouldn't be taxed into oblivion. Parents would have more available funds, corporations would be creating more wealth in general, and then there's this: I am already paying for those damn schools! They aren't free!



Greg Mullen's picture

Private enterprise is more efficient at providing goods and services than the government. This is precisely because there is no forced cohesion as with "public education" thus allowing parents to purchase for their children the kind of education they want them to receive instead of having severely limited options thanks to a government monopoly. There is no reason to believe that the poor will be left without any options to provide an education for their children in a free market. If the traditional argument for public education of "public good" has any merit then why do people have to be forced into providing it? If it really is a "public good" to help to pay to educate other people’s kids then shouldn’t it happen on a voluntary basis in a free market with no need for force participation? Also consider that a society that places the sole responsibility of raising children with the parents is more likely to foster an environment of individually responsible people further meaning that there would probably be a lot less people having children that they cannot afford to raise.

Many ways

Jeff Perren's picture

"Almost all schools in America were private from colonial days until the second half of the 19th century.

From 1852 through 1918, politicians enacted laws in every state to mandate government schools. They were modeled after the authoritarian Prussian schools of the 1800's, a model which remains in effect today.

Since the government takeover, literacy has declined. For example, in 1840 2% of adults in Massachusetts were illiterate. In 1995, 19% were functionally illiterate and another 25% were below the level of literacy envisioned for high school graduates by the state Department of Education."

Home Schooling

Like any good or service it has to be paid for in some form in order to be supplied. In the free market, the cost is borne, rightly so, by those who want it, who can afford it.

If they can't, and can't find another way to obtain it (voluntary charity, for example), they do without. There were, and are, many ways of obtaining the knowledge needed to have a good life: apprenticeships, self-education, etc. (Once you're taught to read, which can be done by adults at night at home after work, you can teach yourself a great many things, and often better than in formal schooling.)

If you are leading up to something like 'Oh, how will the poor children be shod in a fully free market society, if their parents can not afford shoes? We must do something to guarantee the little ones have shoes', I recommend a reading of Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson, or Sowell's more recent 'Basic Economics'.


Part II, in response to later statements:

"Those that do give up work to educate thier children at home, will the state regulate and inspect how thier children are taught?"

The State already does, though they have no right to do so. When they do, it generally turns out badly. See comments earlier in the reference given above, especially:

"According to a report published by the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) and funded by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, homeschool student achievement test scores were exceptionally high. The median scores for every subtest at every grade were well above those of public and Catholic/private-school students. On average, homeschool students in grades one to four performed one grade level above their age-level public/private school peers on achievement tests. Students who had been homeschooled their entire academic life had higher scholastic achievement test scores than students who had also attended other educational programs."

"As if, when these children mature, what their paretns have taught them as left them unfit for employment, what will soceity do with these individuals?" (post)

'Society' doesn't do things with anyone. Individuals make decisions about whether to employ other individuals, hopefully when and as they can afford to and it's in the employers self-interest. Labor, too, is a service to be paid for.

Your assumption that they are not fit for employment because of some lack of (proper?) education is contrary to historical fact and sound principles. There's no end of work to be done, even by those with much less formal, intellectual education than others.

In fact, sometimes such education is actually a discouragement from incenting people from performing certain kinds of work. Most PhD's in Engineering are not going to want to pull weeds in my garden or paint my house.

Your concern is unwarranted, on both historical grounds and sound philosophical and economic principles.

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