Education and the Power of Monopoly

I was just listening to This Week in Tech, and they were talking about how if a person from 100 years ago suddenly was transported to our present, they’d look at all these fields, like medical, transportation, finance, and wouldn’t recognize it. Walk into a school, though, and they’d feel right at home; nothing’s really changed there. The commentator is saying that technology has been the driving force behind the changes.

I had a thought, though: what about competition? When someone has a Great Idea to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their particular area of expertise, they can challenge entrenched powers of their industry. Those entrenched powers either change or die (they usually die). To a great extent, education has been shielded from these forces. If someone tries to challenge the entrenched powers, those powers don’t have to change: they use government to shut down the challenger. So I contend that it’s the stagnating power of monopoly that ensures that someone from 100 years ago to notice very little change in education today, as opposed to other industries.

I’d be curious to know if this has even entered their minds, though: pretty much, the commentators are hard leftists on the show. I’m betting it hasn’t occurred to them that market forces may be behind these issues, or at least a serious contributor to them.

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