Competition and freedom of choice are the institutions necessary to make us prosperous. They do so by compelling each of us to make decisions individually that result in coordination of our actions in a way that leads to improvements in our lives. In fact, the improvements resulting from the process of competition and choice are far superior to those resulting from the alternative institution of government control. We at RGF call it “liberty, opportunity, prosperity.”
Of course, this goes for education as well. The endless “reforms” that always manage to maintain government control of education will never result in improvement. Writing in today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Professor Boudreaux predicts that government run K-12 schools will continue to fail; and he explains why by contrast to the process of competition and choice:
Government K-12 schools, as now run everywhere in the U.S., will never excel at educating students. The reason is that each school gets its students and its budget without having to compete for them.
Imagine if, say, supermarkets were run the same way we run schools. Everyone in my county would pay taxes to fund the county supermarket system; each one of us would then be assigned one specific county supermarket at which we are allowed to shop.
Of course, once in our assigned store, all the groceries that each of us gets are “free” — meaning, we don’t have to pay for them on the spot. If the products and services supplied by the supermarket are of poor quality, we’re not allowed to switch to other county markets; we must, instead, complain to politicians.
The managers of the supermarkets will agree that their stores offer abysmal service and undesirable products; they will assert that this sad fact is caused by underfunding. We will be warned that only by paying higher taxes will we have any possibility of getting better supermarkets.
So our taxes will rise and funding for supermarkets will increase. But quality will remain poor — and the excuses offered by the government-employed managers of the supermarkets will remain that they need yet more funding.
Wake up, New Mexico!