The Concept of Public Goods, the State, and Higher Education Finance - Paper Example

Paper Type:  Article review
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1216 Words
Date:  2022-06-16


Scholars who assert that advanced education is a public service are regularly focused on equity. They make a normative case that as other levels of education, higher education ought to be accessible and available for everyone. Others underscore the external economies, stressing that the society with a vast amount of highly educated people is better in numerous ways and highly efficient economically (Menashy, 2011). Ultimately, there is the perspective that knowledge is a non-competitive commodity, because once it is discovered, it is available to all in principle at low cost. On the other hand, opponents contend that advanced education requires resources, and someone must meet the cost, and it is more equitable for the beneficiaries to borne the costs (Marginson, 2007). Carnoy et al. (2014) argue that knowledge may characteristically be free after its discovery, but the production or acquisition of new knowledge is hugely costly and the individuals who procure or make it should be compensated. They likewise contended that competition between purveyors and independent creators of knowledge is innately critical for knowledge expansion than imposing business models of any sort, private or public. He paper is a critical review of the work by Carnoy, M., Froumin, I., Loyalka, P.K. et al. (2014), who claim that the arguments on the two points of view above fundamentally concern finance and neither unlimited market competition nor public monopoly are offering the best-advanced education for all.

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Carnoy et al. (2014) argue that since advanced education serves both private and public interests, the manner it is financed and conceived is challenged politically, depicted in various forms among societies. What is private and public in education is a social-political construct, subject to different political forces, essentially translated through the state prism. Mediated through the lens of the state, the construct can change with time as the social and economic context of advanced education changes. The paper dissects through state's financing of advanced education and how it has evolved as a public/private good, as well as the forces that encroach on agencies to impact such changes. Education has presented challenges for the individuals who advocate a straightforward individualistic liberal perspective of society, in that its motivation is to result in the transformation in the thinking, knowledge and the capacities of the seekers of those endeavors, regardless of the domain. The person who goes through an educational experience turns into a different person, with comprehension of, and regularly a capacity to do, something they were not to do before such an experience. John Stuart Mill, the prominent advocate of liberty during the 19th century, freedom, agreed that it is smarter to be a dissatisfied human being than a satisfied pig or a dissatisfied Socrates than a happy fool because on only know one side of the question (Marginson & Ordorika, 2010). Education is the instrument by which the educated and enlightened generations use to transfer their wisdom to the successors. The teachers choose what the students should know and comprehend. It has for quite some time been perceived that the education of the youth to complete members of the economy and society ought to be a collective responsibility, although the relative impact of knowledgeable members of the broader community and parents has likewise experienced considerable changes over the recent past.

According to Carnoy et al. (2014), political and religious movements have long comprehended that control of education is the best approach to shaping the future of the society and have looked to control the systems of national schools and to establish their institutions of higher learning. It has been contended that since education broadens knowledge and expands horizons, decisions made by those who are utterly mindful of the choices and their implications are more grounding than the persons who are ignorant of different possibilities not within their immediate surroundings. It is valid to state that well-learned individuals have to assist the rest in achieving their optimum potential because their education grants them a higher level of awareness of the scope of possibilities present. It can be considered elitist by libertarians although it is at the core of the case for the reason it does not leave education solely at the mercy of the market forces.

As claimed by Carnoy et al. (2014), there have always been issues in the application of the reasoning as mentioned earlier for advanced education. To begin with, by definition its beneficiaries are grown-ups and well-positioned to appreciate the benefits of learning. The scope of knowledge that must be accessible for individuals already with sound basic education is extremely wide, and the choice is inevitable. The concept of advanced education infers a capacity and desire to profit from higher education while primarily depends on prior achievements and individual interest. The cost associated with the provision of higher education, particularly with regards to income renounced by participants can make extremely significant claims on public funds. In the ideological atmosphere of the mid-twentieth century, it was perceived in many nations that an individualistic approach to the provision of advanced education brought about significant unfairness, in that numerous people with the inability to pursue such due to limited financial resources or inadequate basic education (Menashy, 2011). It became conceivable to extend the case to the widely accepted rationales for juvenile education to the progressive education of the youth.

Through their insightful view, Carnoy et al. (2014) believe that public provision is the norm globally although it varies across countries regarding the extent of financing. However, because the dominant part of society started to embracing advanced education and institutions of advanced education, it increasingly became more challenging to justify the provision of comprehensive publicly financed education due to both diversity and cost grounds. The financing agencies wondered that which of the relatively endless number of conceivable advanced education activities ought to be provided publicly and those to be excluded. For instance, there have been significant differences of perspective on whether education about complementary and alternative medicine ought to be funded publicly alongside the more conventional medical education. It was additionally confident that even though numerous types of advanced education have been successful in bringing about considerable benefits, a significant proportion of such benefits spill over to the broader community.


In summary, higher lifetime incomes are the most evident benefits to people although non-financial benefits have become more evident. Non-monetary benefits realizable in higher education include lengthened life expectancy, better health, satisfaction, tolerance and less criminality. These benefits are the roots of a more functional society, and members of the broader community should champion their effort towards their achievement. Therefore, education ought to be publicly financed with market forces used to leverage its costs. It is critical that the disadvantaged members are taken into account in the provision of comprehensive public funded education.


Carnoy, M., Froumin, I., Loyalka, P.K. et al. (2014) The concept of public goods, the state, and higher education finance: a view from the BRICs. Higher Education 68: 359.

Marginson, S. (2007). The public/private divide in higher education: A global revision. Higher Education, 53, 307-333.

Marginson, S., & Ordorika, I. (2010). Global hegemony in higher education and research. New York: Social Science Research Council.

Menashy, F. S. (2011). Education as a private or a global public good: Competing conceptual frameworks and their power at the world bank. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Toronto.

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