The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Arnold Kling makes a good point about charter schools

that is usually overlooked by charter school opponents:

The economic argument for private schools, including charter schools, is that consumers will be able to close down those that fail. The test of the charter school system is not whether it produces bad schools, but whether the bad ones get winnowed out by the market.

It will be a great day when someone from a teacher's college writes an op-ed saying that government should support the high-achieving public schools and close down the rest, and when it is recognized that government schools generally do not serve poor children well.

Markets do not create value through magic. They create bad products as well as good products, a fact often overlooked by market proponents as well as market detractors. The difference between free markets and planned economies is that free markets kill bad products, whereas central planners tend to subsidize them. This is perhaps the most fundamental differences between statist systems and free systems. Both systems will create good and bad products, but only the free market can tell you which is which.

Update: More here.


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