Saturday, September 23, 2006

How does Walmart compare to public schooling?

Here's an idea I had, and thought I'd toss out. Partly I'd like to see if my 3 readers (a guess) are paying attention, and partly I'd like to explore this idea: I haven't decided if I like it or not.

Public schools are a bit like Walmart. Pretty much anybody can be served: you don't need specialty schools except perhaps for some very special students (such as the deaf.) There are economies of scale and combinatorial choice in (for example) a comprehensive high school.

If libertarians want to demand school choice as public policy, why shouldn't we demand shopping choice as public policy?

3 comments:

David Fetter said...

The reason they won't is simple and fundamental: making such a demand would violate several articles of libertarian faith, and of course, you don't get True Believers per Eric Hoffer to do anything of the kind.

Among the beliefs libertarians hold which this would violate are:

* The non-existence of economic coercercion
* The lack of a public good
* Blind worship of large accumulations of wealth

John said...

I'm not sure what premise I am missing in this hypothetical. I can't imagine it is as simplistic as they appear; operating on the presumtion that it is, I'll offer an obvious countervailing response and we can all go from there:

On the way home from work today, I passed Albertsons, Randalls, Safeway, HEB, Sams, Lowes, Kroger, Winn-Dixie, Central Market, Ralphs, Food Lion, A&P, Ingles, Hoovers, and about 2 dozen stop-and-shops I can't even name.

??

Glen said...

How do we not already have shopping choice? You incur a huge financial penalty (in addition to any extra transportation costs) if you choose to attend any school other than the specific public school to which you were assigned and if you want to go to a different public school, that's usually not even allowed. How is Walmart like that? When Walmart comes in, you are still free to shop at any other store and also free to shop at a different Walmart. Nobody assigns you to a specific store in your "shopping district" and pays for your groceries there whether you like that store or not; stores stay competitive.

So I don't really see the comparison.

Oh, and for what it's worth, you have a whopping *5* bloglines subscribers. :-)