Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thought for the day ...

Universities exist to transmit knowledge and understanding of ideas and values to students not to provide entertainment for spectators or employment for athletes.
- Milton Friedman, born on this date in 1912


  1. True, but because our culture is so oriented around entertainment and employment, even universities get caught up in those. So do public schools, where whenever there's a budget cut it's the arts that get cut, not the athletics. That speaks to cultural values. So although I agree with Firedman, and think he speaks wisely here, I also think it's naive to expect the system to change any time soon, because in fact, the universities when they behave in the way Friedman is criticizing are in fact simply reflecting the culture in which they are embedded, and which they serve.

    The problem with most educational reform is that it often theorizes in a vacuum, about the way things "should" be, and doesn't take into account the cultural context. So we get a lot of idealized prescriptions that often are not very pragmatic in the end.

  2. One might have expected an economist to pay more attention to the way the worlds works.