What is education worth?

September 18, 2007

Interesting piece in the Guardian about a new (but already out of date) British Council report (PDF link) on what education is worth to the UK. I’ve always wondered where the philosophy that universities or education should be profitable in the most basic, business sense comes from - it makes little sense with something so crucial to the fabric of society. That is, one would hope, what taxes are for.

It’s the same narrow economic thinking that asks hospitals to make a profit too. Nobody, however, seems to ask the military to make a profit (“Please make sure that $1.9m missile gives us a decent ROI when you blow up that desert village. Don’t miss.“)

The answer to the title question in the UK, by the way, is £27,771.50 million. More than financial services or the automotive industry.