27.5.10

NOW YOU ARE BEGINNING TO CATCH ON. The dean at Anonymous Community recognizes a useful feature of economics not necessarily well known among economists.
Economists teach us that institutions exist to lower transaction costs. Yes, they're prone to all manner of pathology; longtime readers may have seen me refer to some. But if you're looking for a place that combines geographic propinquity of teachers and students, the availability of financial aid, lab and studio facilities, philanthropic support, tax support, and some level of quality control, you're looking for...a college.
The context: a reaction to a not-well-thought-out proposal that people bypass the formal higher education sector and design their own education. The greatest weakness of that proposal is in the lack of self-discipline among people that the colleges don't necessarily serve well, which would doom their efforts to bypass college and serve themselves.
If you're serious about education for the non-elite, you need institutions. The institutions need to be accountable, and open to creativity, and efficient, and changed in a host of ways that I spend most of my waking hours obsessing over and probably more that I've never even thought of. But you need them. Every serious social movement of the past two centuries has understood this. The internet has changed a lot of things, but it hasn't changed that. The rich kids may experience unbundling as liberation, and to some degree, it can be. But for the vast majority, the issue isn't that their individuality is being squelched by The Man and his distribution requirements. It's that without effective educational institutions from preschool on up, they will never get the chance to develop their skills in the first place.
The rich kids actually experience the unbundling as Brown.

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