One of the things that frustrate economists is that people (pundits included) constantly act like there is a fixed amount of money to be made (or just "stuff") and then fight over how it all gets distributed. But there isn't a fixed amount of stuff, wealth is created as well as distributed.
Now, I'm a little sceptical of how effective education is at actually teaching us stuff. We might learn a bit, but it's often a pretty pathetic return on 12 years of being forced to sit, bored stiff, in a classroom 9 months of the year. I think it's mostly to do with signalling. "Society" is interested in sorting the smart and conscientious from the rest. I'd guess that our system is better at doing this than real teaching but if this is true I have two questions:
- Isn't there a quicker, more painless way of doing this?
- Aren't we engaged in a zero sum model of education where we're effectively allotting good careers? And is it really doing any good to become a good teacher in this kind of system?
If 2) is true you can understand why people whine about private schools and top ups to vouchers.
I'll write another post on this, but I wanted to see if I could poke any reactions out of you.