Friday, September 11, 2009

Change of guards and in search of ideas!

Two things I wanted to put down in this post- what Amartya Sen’s take of F A Hayek idea in his new book "The Idea of Justice" and the Sen’s one of PhD student Professor Kaushik Basu who is now preparing to become Chief Economic Adviser in the Ministry of Finance.

First the latter one Mr Basu seems to be changed his mind somehow but I’m certainly not sure because his past writings are not that different from our mainstream economists.

His views has been changed I mean his dissent note the Yashpal Committee on Higher Education is really worth to muse.

He said:

"If a private company wants to start a university to make profit why shouldn’t "t it be allowed to do so?"


  • “Third, we should allow private sector money to come into higher education. Surreptitious privatization is already a fact of life. It will be better to let this happen openly; there can then also be open monitoring. The purely-private colleges should of course not be subsidized by the state. They should be allowed to set college fees as high as they choose (as long as this is made transparent). It is true that such private colleges will end up teaching mainly commercially-viable subjects and cater to relatively rich students. There is no harm in this and some advantages, since the state will now be able to allocate more money to the colleges and universities under its charge and provide good education to the remainder at a lower cost.
  • There is an additional question: Should we allow these private colleges to be profit-making organizations, that is, allow the owners or the shareholders to openly keep the profit to themselves? A common presumption is that,if someone is interested in profit, that person will not be interested in providing good education. This is a fallacy. It is like assuming that, if Tata Motors is interested in making profit, it will not be interested in producing a good small car. However, in reality, its interest in producing a good small car could be because it is interested in making profits. Likewise, in education. If a profit-making company wants to start a university, there is no reason why we should not allow this. This is an idea that should at least be on the table. There are not too many examples of such universities in the world. This can be a pioneering effort on the part of India and, if successful, can cause a huge infusion of funds into our higher education system.

On the first Professor Sen has mentioned F A Hayek in pages 77 and 442 in his book but it seems to me that he is well known to Hayek’s ideas but its not clear because one has go through the book. So after reading the book i will post what is his sense on Hayek!

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