Student loans perpetuate a broken financial system, it’s time for them to go

Whitehall is preparing for a major tussle over student loans, with the Treasury increasingly concerned about the growing burden and its impact on the nation’s finances. The principle of a student loan seems simple: take one out to cover the cost of your time at university and pay it back when you start to earn […]

Crisis could be a chance to change education for the better

Education

In the mid-19th century, Japan was an impoverished feudal backwater.  A fleet of American warships totally humiliated their navy, and compelled Japan to sign a highly disadvantageous treaty. Within a matter of just a few years, the Japanese completely transformed their system of government and industrialised very rapidly. This is just one of many historical examples […]

The left’s support for university students is fuelled by political self-interest

Student protest

Why do left-wing politicians want to shower money on privileged members of society? In general, university students have a higher intellectual ability than non-students, and often come from more desirable socio-economic backgrounds. But leftists can’t do enough for them. For instance, Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 promised to abolish tuition fees from 2018 onwards. He went […]

Why we should allow second-rate universities to go bankrupt

Graduation

The political spotlight remains focused on Brexit, but an important dogfight is developing in the area of higher education. The specific issue is whether universities in the UK should be allowed to go bankrupt. It is not merely a theoretical question. In the past year, a number of universities have announced deficits running well into […]

The misguided sugar tax is an ineffectual way to price the externalities of obesity

Sodas

One of George Osborne’s last acts as chancellor in 2016 was to announce the so-called sugar tax. This came into force last week, in line with the original timetable. Drinks manufacturers are taxed according to the volume of sugar-sweetened beverages they produce or import. The tax increases with the sugar content. The aim is to […]

The university pensions strike is a selfish bid to hold future generations to ransom

The Graduates

University lecturers began a strike over their pensions last week. The dispute may even run on and jeopardise the summer exams. The main issue is that the universities’ pension scheme seems to be in substantial deficit. To solve the problem, a move from defined benefits to defined contributions is proposed. With the former, the pension […]

Anti-capitalists in UK universities need a refresher course in the perils of socialism

Berlin Wall

The great Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter, writing in the 1940s, predicted the eventual demise of capitalism. He did not want this to happen. But he envisaged that the “intellectual class” would eventually develop values which were hostile to free markets and private property. Schumpeter’s definition of “intellectuals” was very wide. He meant people in a […]