15 July 2010

Graduate tax

Trying to think of something that could possibly be right about the old lefty Vince Cable's plans to introduce a graduate tax to replace tuition fees.

Nope - can't think of one. Like all lefty nostrums, it assumes that the majority of the target population will stay in Britain. The possessors of soft degrees may well do so - but there is no evidence that those degrees (including all MBAs save those from the most elite business schools, none of which are in Britain) increase lifetime earnings.

Law is a uniquely special case, medicine rather less so, but otherwise those who get degrees that are valued internationally will simply emigrate, and bid the British state kiss their arse. 

So let's call it what it is: the Brain Drain Acceleration tax. What is it about the concept of supply and demand that seems so unfathomable to the lefty mind? 


  1. Why should not the British younger generations pay something back to their surviving university culture, one of the last items for sale in the UK which appeals to people across the world. For one thing, this would make it possible for the universities to continue as financially viable; for another, it would diminish their increasing reliance on foreign students who, as in the US, are the ones willing to pay the full freight for their further education.

    In Oxford, one glimpses a burgeoning 'hot bed' culture which is increasingly anxious to hire out the college dorms during the long vac to any willing customer which is able to put up a vague brochure for vacation 'education.'

    Why should any UK citizen get a totally free ride on the advantages provided by a university degree? This is a reasonable answer to the Brown Blur notion that all our citizens deserve a (third rate) free university pass.

  2. I certainly do not think anyone should get a free ride. If all university students paid the full cost of their degree courses, that would very rapidly establish the market value of those degrees. Most would take out student loans, with the lenders asking pointed questions about value added. The talented would get scholarships not for social reasons but because universities would compete to attract students likely to boost their prestige. We do not need more graduates - we need more literates and numerates, and that is the job of primary and secondary education.