Canadian Tuition Protests, the bottom 5%

Posted on by Kratos and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Across Canada, tuition protests, starting in Quebec, have spread across the nation in a demand for lower tuition. But why?

According to this article, a minority of York students (300 of an institution of at least 50,000) believe that; Because education is a basic right, it should be free. Of course, nothing is free, especially when it comes to hiring PHD’s to lecture, and then giving them classrooms, laboratories, and the other resources necessary to run and hold a course. The protestors are actually claiming that; because education is a basic right, it should be fully subsidized. But who’s doing the subsidizing?

Tax payers are, and who are the tax payers? Everyone, including the students. The protesting students want a giant pot collected, and divided equally amongst everyone, regardless of what they contribute, and their future potential (sounds like communism). This is in contrast to students taking loans and being responsible for themselves. There is more than these two options, however, even when narrowing it down to two options, protestors seem to choose the less efficient and less fair option, why?

As shown before, only a minority of students are protesting. The majority of students must see the excessive waste of resources going towards educating people who won’t contribute back into the pot of money collected from everyone to pay for post-secondary education. So who is protesting then? Check for yourself, do you really believe a fifth year sexuality student will be in high demand after graduation? 

No related posts.

31 Responses to Canadian Tuition Protests, the bottom 5%

  1. Jerboa says:

    Of course college students are pissed. The cost of education has been increasing at twice the rate of inflation for decades, and it isn’t going to get better. Simultaneously, enough people have gone to college that it’s becoming a requirement for a middle class job. I’d be pissed too if I had to take out a fuckload of debt for a shot at the American dream.

    I’m not informed enough to discuss Canadian politics, but I agree that in the U.S. these sorts of protests are a waste of time and won’t accomplish anything. Between social security, healthcare, and the resulting interest the gerontocracy is running off with a bit over half of the federal budget, while roughly 2% of it is spent on education. But this isn’t going to change because college students don’t vote, and old people do.

    • max says:

      Home ownership, college education. What do they have in common? Both are foundations of the “American Dream”, both are considered emblems of a successful life and cornerstones of society. As a result, they’re both monkeyed with endlessly by government and the financial class to force their particular desired ends, and are nothing like the “gerontocracy” (or as TLP calls them, “The Dumbest Generation That’s Ever Lived”) grew up with and experienced.

      The generation being born today will grow up in a world where both home ownership and college won’t make economic sense. Where will they live, and how will they earn a living? Nobody knows.

      • Kratos says:

        Tuition prices in Canada are significantly lower than in America. Depending on the province, it can range from around $2800-6600. This is significantly lower than American private colleges. $30,000 of a debt for a degree can be managed, unlike the $120,000 debt that an American student might have to face.

        Because of this, one can obtain a degree that is in demand from a university, or enter a trade, or a sales job, and still gain entry into the middle-class in Canada with relative ease.

        While when applying your argument towards Americans works, it isn’t as valid when it comes to Canadians.

      • sunshinefiasco says:

        While I get his point, if TLP actually believes that, I’d love to know if he knows any young people who aren’t on the television.

  2. claudius says:

    Our structure of students being able to take out loans individually actually causes more inflation of tuition. Student loan debt is beginning to look like the next mortgage crisis. The government directly financing education would lead to less of a bubble because they would not be able to jack up tuition as much.

    On the surface, easier loans for potential college students might seem like a noble financial policy. The problem is that there’s no controlling the prices of tuition. The federal government (in the US, at least) has virtually guaranteed students easy loans. It’s so easy to get student loans that some people get loans and they’re not even students.

    The federal government has basically decided it will give students loans whether tuition is $2,000 or $100,000. An overabundance of tuition via student loans/debt has led to pure fluff in education (e.g., college sports, useless majors, grade inflation, “college experience”) – however, this fluff is what makes college so attractive to people when they’re young (and will make them regret it when they’re older). There’s no shortage of students thanks to debt/loans, so why would colleges in the US ever lower tuition?

    • Jerboa says:

      Do you have any evidence for the proposition that the availability of federal loans is increasing the cost of college? I’ve seen this opinion put forward a lot, but it doesn’t mesh with my personal experience as a college teacher. If we were raking in massive amounts of money I should be seeing at least some of it. Instead, belt-tightening has been the norm everywhere since well before I started this profession two years ago. And I expect the hard times to continue until higher education collapses in somewhere between the next ten and fifteen years.

      My personal opinion is that the rising cost of college is due to Baumol’s cost disease. That is, if you have certain sectors of the economy that are seeing massive gains in productivity, then sectors that aren’t will see a continual increase in relative cost. That’s why I don’t have any hope for the situation getting better.

      Regarding policy, I wouldn’t mind seeing a cap on federal loans, since it would give students an incentive to choose the less expensive public institutions.

      • Tim says:

        So er, I’m gonna talk about the University of Pheonix.
        Now, UoP isn’t an ivy league school. People who go to UoP don’t get to work at Morgan Stanley, unless they need maintainance staff.
        UoP isn’t a community college either. It has University in the title, and half of it’s classes are online.
        What UoP is, is a for profit college, and that eliminates a lot of the games that make public sector / NFP schools look wasteful than they actually are.
        In the public sector, department heads are less financially incentivised to cut costs, and more incentivised to run large departments. It’s hard to justify a bigger budget next year if you did perfectly well on a smaller one last year, so hire that unneccesary receptionist.

        So, if universities were ruthelessly designed to be efficient and profitable; if they cared about money above all else, and taught only at an acceptable level (rather than caring about unchanging perpetuation above all else, and teaching at a barely acceptable level, like many departments); could they be cheaper?

        Take a look at UoP’s rather difficult to read end of year report for 2010. The P&L is at the back.
        UoP makes a profit, after tax, and interest, of 20%
        About 22% of UoP’s expenses are advertising (similar to most companies).
        Which is a coincidence, because these are expensive profits. They come at a great cost to the student. 13% of UoP students go into default within 2 years of graduation. I’m British, is this unusual? If it isn’t, why do people think it’s okay?

        Anyway, I notice that Ivy League colleges and Private Banks have three thing in common – really nice buildings, expensive art on the walls, and excessive reception staff nice suits. There is a reason for this – it shows a wealth that the customer, the student, the investor, would like to buy into.
        If you take that excessive looking advertising budget, and compare it to the grounds cost at a nice, ‘not for profit’ school, and concider that it is money spent to inflate the percieved value of the education purchased, then you can see money which is only unwasted if your objective is to increase the cost of education.
        And that money has to come from somewhere.
        To mis-use supply and demand, shall we say that the manicured lawns create demand, and the fed loans create supply?

      • claudius says:

        @Jerboa, whenever the federal government creates an easy credit policy, an asset bubble forms. I’m not arguing about ethics here (e.g., we should/should not give out federal government loans for education/houses/etc.), but explaining to you the effect of a particular policy.

        If there is an increasing supply of students with no immediate limit to expenses (because they’re backed by the federal government), why wouldn’t universities increase expenses?

        The premise of your argument is that if there’s more money going into college that the professors would be seeing more of it, but – why? Let’s talk about incentives – what incentives does the university have to pay its professors more? You do not create policy at the university/college. In the grand scheme of things, the administrators have all the control and have far better salaries than you do. They view professors as dispensable – except for maybe a few superstars. When the economy worsens, expect administrators to continue to cut your salary before they cut theirs.

        The tuition is also going to pay for the football team, or the new useless gym/dormitory. That’s what brings in more students. It’s unfortunate, but more people care about football than your class. This is not a knock on you, it’s just the truth. College is a business that administrators must grow – the education is just a side aspect.

        The money in college is no longer used for education. I wish we lived in a society where the professors had more monetary incentive to teach students properly but that is simply not the case. College has become a product that gives students what they want, not what they need. It’s just like a crappy superhero flick that has more sales than a more thoughtful movie. Panem et circenses.

        But that’s neither here nor there. It’s just the end of a cycle that will come crashing down in the next few years. People complain about downturns/economic turmoil but what it really does is only allow the parts of society that create value to exist.

        • Jerboa says:

          Regarding incentives to pay professors more, one of the big ones is accreditation. The requirements for accreditation are becoming stricter, since the government has been pushing for better assessment of learning. If a college isn’t willing to pay for decent faculty, then the uninterested or shitty ones left behind are going to have a harder time navigating the coming assessment gauntlet, putting the college’s accreditation at risk.

          On administrative growth, my understanding is the big areas that consume resources are information technology, disability services, and financial aid. IT isn’t going anywhere, we can’t cut disabilities because of the ADA, and apparently the financial aid rules are arcane enough that students need dedicated personnel to navigate them. There just aren’t a lot of options for administrative cuts.

        • BHE says:

          “People complain about downturns/economic turmoil but what it really does is only allow the parts of society that create value to exist.”

          You can’t be serious. Value to who?

          • claudius says:

            You need to elaborate on your question a little bit more, but I think I understand what you’re asking so I’ll attempt to address it:

            If your job/profession/trade/etc. produces value (meaning – it is indispensable in your society), you will never be out of work. Or, as Warren Buffett once said, “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.”

            A serious problem occurs when nature isn’t allowed to take its course, and (e.g.) governments intervene.

        • notmygoodies says:

          yeah, you’re full of shit. fuck your calvinist right-wing just-world fallacy nonsense right in its stupid ear.

          there is so much disgusting, privileged ignorance oozing from this post it’s hard to know where to begin or whether to even try.

          let’s try an exercise. if you have some kind of working mind you could probably come up with real-world examples of “valuable” people and institutions that suffer and languish in the recession and “worthless” people and institutions who prosper and flourish in the recession.

          ya know, apply a little reality and critical thinking skills to your fucktarded randian fantasy.

          sorry if i come off a bit confrontational, but you’re hurting people. stop it.

  3. philtrum says:

    The protesting students want a giant pot collected, and divided equally amongst everyone, regardless of what they contribute, and their future potential (sounds like communism). This is in contrast to students taking loans and being responsible for themselves.

    This is a very loaded way to phrase these ideas. You have not defined “contribute”, nor have you explained “being responsible for themselves”. You appear to view education as a private purchase (having a ticket to a decent job) rather than a public good (having an educated population). That’s a defensible perspective, but not the only one.

    Further, pointing out that something “sounds like communism” in this context has no meaning unless you assume everything socialist or communist is self-evidently terrible. That’s a bad assumption in Canada and an even worse assumption in Quebec.

    From my perspective, what has happened is that people used to be able to enter the workforce after a fully public education, i.e. high school, and have a decent income (or a reasonable prospect of having one later). It has become far more difficult to do that. Most of the jobs you can now do with a high school diploma only are fairly dead-end and pay poorly. You now need privately funded education to qualify for most of the entry-level middle class jobs.

    I don’t think much of the average undergraduate humanities education (and I have one). I don’t think it’s a particularly good use of resources to give everyone a free ride to the B.A. But it’s also a bad use of resources to make the B.A. the ticket to consideration for a halfway decent job, and bad public policy to make so many young people start their careers with high levels of debt.

    I should add, by the way, that all the major Canadian universities are public (more of that lousy communism). The range of tuition fees charged is significantly smaller than in the U.S.

    • DataShade says:

      Yeah, “private college” in Canada is pretty much synonymous with “vocational school.”

      There’s also the fact that with Bill 78 (now “Rule 78″ since it passed and survived a court challenge) cops are using riot gear to break up any group of students holding signs. The bill said “50 or more” students, but the people I know in Quebec are all saying groups as small as a dozen are getting guys with helmets and plastic shields. It’s … kind of ridiculous, actually. There’d been plenty of people who adopted what I consider to be the standard outlook to college students protesting – “stupid hippy kids, get out of the road, I’m gonna be late for work, I wish the cops would just come teargas you!” – but now that the cops are actually showing up with batons and teargas – even if they aren’t using them, yet – even most of those people are like “woah, that’s a bit much, don’t you think?”

    • RatB says:

      I think that high-school diplomas and university degrees should both be very much harder accomplishments. As it stands, I think that people’s feelings are: no diploma=retarded and almost certainly a criminal, and no degree=probably just retarded.

      You shouldn’t need a sixteen year long evaluation process to decide that someone is dead average.

  4. DataShade says:

    Uh … wait. You *do* know York and Quebec aren’t the same place, right? And since there’s no more than two consecutive clauses – not even really full sentences – quoted from any one person in the article, you’re not even arguing a real idea – let alone a real person.

    And where are you getting the “50,000” number from? There are like two dozen public and private colleges and universities in the GTA and probably 200,000+ students – I think UT counted 70,000 last I read an officially published figure.

    What is this I don’t even

  5. Guy Fox says:

    1. There’s a difference between communism and socialism, but admittedly not in every discourse. In terms of virulence, it amounts to the difference between the flu and pancreatic cancer. The rhetorical flourish of invoking communism is kinda disingenuous. Social democratic parties have a long history in Canada (google Tommy Douglas and SoCred), they’ve run provincial governments, and there was never a gulag, a kohlkoz or a mass famine.
    2. It would be interesting to hear what you have to say about differential tuition, which is already in place at some Canadian universities. The idea is that tuition rates are proportional to expected earning potential of the degree in question. Music historians pay a little, and commerce students pay more. You seem to be suggesting exactly the opposite system in your last paragraph. What would the purpose of such a system be? What kind of society would you get, and what kind would you want?
    3. The context is relevant and interesting. Canadians don’t protest. There was a bit leading up to the second Gulf War, but when Canadians get riled, they tend to express it with sternly worded letters – sternly worded by Canadian standards. So not only do you have Canadians actively protesting something over an extended period, you’ve got them protesting over their curtailed right to protest. Why fight for something you hardly ever use? This seems to indicate that it’s not just about privileged kids wanting other people to subsidize their thesis on postmodern motifs in Polynesian tattoos, it’s at least partly about generally equanimous people getting angry about a style of rule, about those in power not just taking their acquiescence for granted but actually commanding it.
    4. There’s a trick in the ‘education as basic right’ formula. I realize it’s not yours, but think about it for a minute. You don’t attack public schools as communism, so maybe you’re willing to accept collectivizing costs for K-12 education. But why that amount and not more or less? You and the protesters both seem to have an acceptable threshold of socialism, but yours is lower than theirs. What’s the principled argument for the right threshold? And calling anything a basic right is basically just adding an exclamation point, because it might add rhetorical force, but it doesn’t obligate anybody to do anything. Make a list of basic rights and then count the number of people in the world denied each of them, then tell me what exactly ‘basic right’ means. That formula, either as you use it or as the protesters do, is a rhetorical version of Schroedinger’s cat. It can mean anything any individual wants it to, but as soon as it’s cashed out in terms of obligatory behaviour, it falls apart and everybody finds out that nobody really meant what they wanted to mean.
    5. Forgive me for getting personal, but you provided the link to your (?) twitter account, so I assume you’re not against people reading and analyzing it. You’ve posted about your Greek heritage and pride in that fact. Consider your own argument in a different context: “The protesting studentsGreeks want a giant pot collected, and divided equally amongst everyone, regardless of what they contribute, and their future potential (sounds like communism). This is in contrast to students separate countries taking loans and being responsible for themselves.” If the Germans applied your argument to their own case, the Greeks would fall back into the financial iron age. Of course you’re not your brother’s keeper, but what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, non?

    Your analysis is kinda superficial and transparently ideological without much autocritique, but as with everything, it will improve with practice. Keep writing, thinking and posting.

    • Kratos says:

      Thank you for your critique, this is my first article, and your criticism, and everyone else who has put in some constructive criticism, will help my next pieces be better.

    • RatB says:

      Canadians don’t protest, Quebecois do.

    • Kratos says:

      My apologies for not addressing your points further. I’d really like to respond to your specific statements.

      1.) Good point, slapping on labels, especially false ones is in poor taste, and contributes nothing to a premise or conclusion.

      2.) I view it like this. If on the micro scale, people view education as an investment, and they pursue the best investment to have the highest payoffs, this will also pay off on the macro scale. If on a macro level, people are only investing in degrees which have high payoffs, any resources used to educate these people are not only fully repayed, but more resources are generated (increased tax revenue, innovations, ect).

      This is in alternative to on the micro scale people viewing education as a right, they pursue degrees in anything and everything. While some people do pursue high-payoff degrees, a lot of other people pursue degrees with low-pay offs, and with which without subsidization would be disregarded and ignored. The implications on the macro scale, is that when education is seen as a basic right, you never get a net benefit in terms of resource generation. That, or even if a net benefit if seen, the net benefit won’t be nearly as large in the education as an investment scenario.

      Why pursue the highest net benefit you may ask, the net benefits seen by society, go towards society itself of course, increasing either economic growth or development. I realize I go into a whole other argument by saying what these net benefits are, or what they lead to. To simplify more, I should probably not qualify or quantify the benefit, but only state that a larger benefit is available to individuals and society when education is viewed and treated as an investment. For some, we’re trading efficiency (higher net benefit) for equality (freedom to pursue knowledge). However with the information technology available today, people can pursue most knowledge, without the need for a degree, so no one is really being restricted in terms of equality.

      Your alternative that you proposed, is interesting. To me its trading some efficiency for equity, but perhaps more than purely subsidized education (I have a feeling you’ll want me to defend this statement further than I do). People are given the opportunity to go after degrees, and what that degree costs, is proportional to its payoff. When all education is free, those who make the high payoff investments contribute fairly to everyone, but in this scenario, it seems that those who make high payoff investments see their investments getting sent to the low payoff investors. The equality of choice in education, is countered by the inequality in people unable to choose an efficient option.

      3.) I’m not well educated on Canadian protests, but I’ll take your word on it.

      4.) I wanted to go into the basic rights part of the protesters statement, but was limited by word count. I do agree on the subjective nature on it, I guess to support my viewpoint, I would say that an education from K-12 is an essential start, and has a net benefit for society. A university education, is not in all cases a net benefit for society. I feel I may be too vague here, please tell me if I am.

      5.) No offense taken. The Greece situation I would say its not parallel to my argument on the basis of Greece’s loans not being fully subsidized (unlike the demands of the students). Furthermore, if Greece were to collapse everyone would have a negative net effect, in contrast, people not receiving a degree in a low-payoff major will not have a negative net pay-off, and it may actually have a net benefit.

      I really look forward to your response, on my response.

      • Guy Fox says:

        Re: 2,4: You seem to have some training in economics, which is good, so you’re probably familiar with economists’ habit of discussing different equilibria and, as soon as anybody asks them which is best, they say something like “That’s a distributional question!”. That answer means “That’s politics! My model doesn’t include a politics term. Go ask the political scientists downstairs.” (And the political scientists will just send you to the ethicists, and the ethicists will ask you first how you plan to overcome radical doubt, but that’s another story.) In your original post you took a strongly normative position, which was basically that protesting students suck because they’re demanding access to other people’s wealth. In your references to ‘net benefits to society’ above, you now seem to be backing off from that explicitly normative stance and trying to argue on the basis of cold, dispassionate tradeoffs. In other words, you’re doing the economist thing backwards by starting off talking like an ethicist, and then as soon as the ground starts to shake, you revert to the economic efficiency argument (“Sorry, dude. That’s a distributional question and I’m not authorized.”). Basically, you changed the language game in search of more solid/advantageous ground. That’s not a cardinal sin; it’s just an observation from an old hand who’s been playing for a while, but it is a tell that you’re sweating.

        Turning from the style to the substance of your answer, it seems that you’re making arguments about what would be good for society without really knowing for yourself what ‘good’ is. When you argue for ‘a net benefit to society’, you seem to be implying that you’re pro-status quo, you just want more of it or the relations in it to be amplified somehow. Society is good, but it should just be ‘more social’ or something. Otherwise, it’s not clear what a ‘net benefit’ would refer to because you don’t provide much in the way of values besides efficiency and equity, but those seem to refer to what individuals have what stuff, and they don’t speak to ‘society’ much at all. If you justify your views with reference to ‘a net benefit to society’, it kind of begs the question what society is and what you think it’s for. This is especially confusing since the original post argued for more self-reliance, implying that individuals’ interests trump ‘society’s’, and now you justify that position with reference to society’s interests.

        You’re playing with different ideas that you’ve encountered, but you’re ‘just’ playing, and the result is a kind of sophistry. You want to be frightfully clever, and you’re on your way, but you’re lacking wisdom. It’s not just about technical proficiency in the game, you also have to know why you’re playing and how your moves affect other players’ boards. Don’t worry. You’ll figure it out (but quitting the frat would be a good start IMHO).

  6. EricF says:

    GuyFox having already made the points I would have liked to make regarding you “Protesting students are freeloaders” argument, I would simply like to add a few facts and context regarding the Quebec situation:

    1. It is a mischaracterization to say that the protests have “spread across the nation”. In Montreal and Quebec, nightly protests went on for over 60 days before calming down for the festival season. The largest Montreal protest had around 130 000 people marching in the streets. The very few sporadic actions in Ontario hardly measure in scale.
    2. The proposed tuition fee hike represents a 63% increase over five years, or a 143% increase over the 2007-2017 period. Regardless of whether you consider the level of tuition fees in Quebec as appropriate, such a sharp increase is bound to raise some legitimate questions and concerns from students and the population at large.
    3. While you may argue that an absolute minority of students went on strike, this says nothing of the proportion of students who disapprove of the fee increase. Many can disagree without actively protesting. Furthermore, a of non-students support the student movement and joined the protest, including middle class, middle aged citizens, as well as unions and an association of jurists.

  7. Red says:

    Blah blah freeloaders blah blah. You’re missing the point. You’re not striking the root. The problem is not that people are lazy. The problem is that we live in a system where people who are lazy can lobby a group of armed men and women calling themselves “the state” to force you to pay for their laziness.

    “Oh, but we NEED the state to build roads, protect me from Muslims, etc.” Well, when you support the gun in the room, don’t be surprised if that gun gets turned around on you.

    • ExOttoyuhr says:

      How would you propose providing for collective goods — especially tragedy-of-the-commons situations in which no economically rational actor would make sacrifices himself, like collective self-defense and pollution controls — in the absence of the state? I think it can be done, but I want to put neither words nor the absence of them into your mouth.

      • Red says:

        First off, to some extent “collective goods” may not exist without a state. Let’s define the term. What is a collective good? From a certain perspective, it is an economic organization that could not exist (or exist for long) without the full and equal cooperation of every individual participant. In America, and western society in general, these organizations mandate your participation by threat of violence. Take police for example. We are forced to pay into the police department through taxation, but we are also given the right to use the police to our benefit, like if we are being assaulted, robbed, etc.

        Now, most people take for granted that a police department is a necessary element of social organization. Most people, however, are raised in a system that has a police department and a culture that showers it with praise, too. This leads them to think that a police department is a necessary element of society when, in fact, it is only a necessary element of their society. Now, from this perspective, when we speak of “collective goods” we are talking about things that can only exist in a statist society. Members of a statist society are conditioned to think that things a statist society can produce are necessarily good and proper. In this sense, a stateless society would not have to worry about producing “collective goods” if a “collective good” is something only the force of the state could produce. A stateless society would simply have to go without.

        The question “how would you propose providing collective goods in a stateless society” is, in my opinion, framed in such a way that the stateless society is necessarily trying to organize itself to be like a statist society, just without the state. A better question might be, “what kind of collective goods would appear in a society without a state?”

        Well, that depends. It goes without saying that culture plays a large role in everything. But the kind of collective goods a stateless society with similar cultural values as the modern capitalist west could produce would be different than the kind of goods a stateless society with cultural values like the Middle East, Asia, or Philippians might produce. For example, the American Indians did not have to worry about state-mandated pollution controls (or what they would look like without a state) because their culture did not really allow for the pollution of the environment (nor did their economic structure produce any large-scale capability for pollution, however). By now it probably seems like I’ve dodged the question, so I’ll quit arguing about definitions and set about answering it.

        What kind of collective goods would appear in a stateless society with similar values as the modern industrial west? (meaning; how could our collective goods be provided without the use of violence?)
        Collective defense:

        I’ll ignore all the debates and argument about whether or not national defense would be necessary in a stateless society. So, assuming a stateless society was facing threat of armed invasion or nuclear strike, of the type a modern state usually faces from other states, they would most likely have insurance.

        Theoretically, collective defense could be provided by an insurance agency. It could work much like how homeowners insurance works currently. A person with sufficient capital could offer military protection (entailing everything up to being a “hitman”) to other large-scale businesses. I see no reason why individuals would need to purchase such a plan, but if they truly wanted to, they could get together, pool their money, and buy it. “What about hold-outs and people who don’t want to pay for it?” Well, then that is just that. Like I said, only major corporations would want to buy/afford this kind of protection. Also, individuals would be greatly incentivised to pick up arms and defend their town, if need be. A large enough metropolis could also buy a nuclear missile silo for defense, having it sponsored by the major businesses of the area in exchange for the advertisement.

        Pollution control:

        Assuming pollution would take the form it does now in a statist society as it would in a stateless society, and I don’t see how any society henceforward in human advancement could NOT deal with pollution, it would have to be dealt with in arbitration and, ultimately, in the court of public opinion.
        Now, when it comes to pollution, I know I’ve entered dangerous territory. This is because, in a system of private property, it is theoretically perfectly fine for some maniac to dump all his radioactive waste on his own property, thus making it unusable for generations to come. In a stateless society, there is nothing anyone can do to stop this, unless they were willing to violate his private property (shoot him, assuming he’s a determined maniac). However, this is not a big concern of mine. Why? Because lone maniacs aren’t the ones who pollute; businesses are.

        All businesses have customers, and all customers have opinions and options. Thus it stands to reason that businesses are going to be governed by their customers’ opinions of them. This means that pollution, assuming people disapprove of it, will not be a good way to go about making a profit.
        Besides public image, which is going to become increasingly important the more technology and the internet advance, there is arbitration. Arbitration could be used to settle cut-and-dry cases of “you dumped shit in a river that ended up on my property.” But these are not the real worries people have when it comes to a stateless society. Most people are concerned about the air. And rightly so.

        Nobody owns air. And, therefore, nobody can legitimately pursue arbitration in pursuit of retribution for their damaged air. Air is at the mercy of public opinion. If people care about clean air, then businesses will not want to pollute and tarnish their image. If people don’t care, then they get dirty air.

        In any discussion about a stateless society, the main contention is about what to do with the freeloaders. Often times a stateless society will not have a perfect answer for the problem of freeloaders. But look at our own society. How do we deal with freeloaders? A better question: how have the freeloaders learned to manipulate the system so they can be lazy? As the above article points out, they found a way to legalize their laziness. There are also welfare queens and various other legally-protected forms of freeloading. The fact is that freeloaders are going to be there, and they are going to figure out how to game the system. It doesn’t matter much which system you put up.

        Well, that was probably way too long and meandering to make any sense of, but I hope it may have answered your question.

        • sunshinefiasco says:

          Wait– so it’s a stateless society with private property? Who protects that land/keeps track of who owns it/negotiates disputes?

          I assume it’s protected by the “insurance” you’re talking about (let’s be real, you mean”private security” AKA mercenaries). We used to have tons of mercenaries, y’know, and it got so out of control that we developed a state system so that more people could spend less time dying. So you want corporate legions instead of faux-nationalist, serf-based aristocratic ones.

          That’s just security of private property… you don’t think that someone with access to a personal posse of hitmen would use them to maybe rob people? Sure, maybe not on the first day, but you’re betting on that working, for like, months?

          The pollution argument is a hot mess. A corporation will hire a lone maniac to dump all of the pollution everywhere, and then will hire mercenaries/use intimidation by mercenaries to protect that madman. The same companies are so good at decieving and misdirecting the public now, in a statist society, that they most assuredly will be able to fool the public when all of the advertising regulations have been removed. Small companies, who aren’t the problem, are far more likely to be kept honest, the same way they are now.

          “The fact is that freeloaders are going to be there, and they are going to figure out how to game the system. It doesn’t matter much which system you put up.” Sounds good to me. I’d rather live somewhere that believes there’s an investment in giving a freeloader’s kid half a shot rather than letting him die in the mud.

          IV. Then again, it is the internet. I should have expected more Ron Paul people. That said, if you’re gonna unmake the world as we know it, it’d be great if you can come up with a system that isn’t the reason we have the current system.

  8. Minerva says:

    Education cost tracks grade inflation.

    • Guy Fox says:

      OMFG. Good point. I never noticed, but that has some really twisted implications. Is it better to cry now or should I get drunk first?

  9. thestage says:

    Something this reductive and thoughtless really shouldn’t be posted on this site.

    • Guy Fox says:

      Censoring a voice is almost a capitulation, isn’t it? One could just as easily argue that one of this site’s strengths is its capacity to function as a sandbox for ideas that aren’t quite ripe for other forums. At least, it seems a reasonable presumption, given that we’re pretty much all using pseudonyms (aside from Kratos, who provides an actual identity – isn’t that interesting?).
      If this kind of discourse can help people think critically, and there are people who are interested in trying, wouldn’t it be tragic to discount the will and effort?
      If this gets too elitist, people are stuck with: I can’t get a forum because I don’t have any experience, and I can’t get any experience because I don’t have a forum.

      I’m often elitist, but I don’t want to be that Guy.