Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Universities

How ISAs Allow Rich People to Exploit College Students

A friend of mine at Purdue University recently informed me that under the leadership of former Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN), Purdue has become the first major American university to offer Income Sharing Agreements (ISAs) to students as a new alternative to traditional student loans. ISAs are exploitative and morally disgusting. Here’s why.

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Democracy Discriminates Against the Young

Young people overwhelmingly support Bernie Sanders in this election, but many of them are not showing up. He crushed the demographic in Massachusetts, but still lost the state narrowly:

Young voters are just not keeping up with older folks:

This has been true for a long time–Millennials did not invent low youth voter turnout:

Many people see figures like this and their knee-jerk response is to scold young people for failing to show up, often attributing it to the laziness or lack of civic virtue of the current crop of young people. But as we see above, young people have been less active in politics since long before Millennials came on the scene. There are larger reasons why young people tend to feel disenfranchised by democratic politics–it’s because the system discriminates against them.

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The Democratic Party Debate: 5 Reasons Why Sanders Won and Clinton Lost

I watched the first Democratic Party debate, hosted by CNN. CNN also hosted the second Republican Party debate, and in both debates it tried to get the candidates to fight each other on camera for the entertainment of the viewing public, repeatedly asking questions designed to get candidates to criticize or attack one another. In the republican debate, this tactic worked perhaps too well–the debate deteriorated into a series of personal attacks, with little relevant policy content. For that reason, I didn’t bother to write up an analysis of the second republican debate–there was little of substance to analyze. The democratic candidates did a better job of resisting their baser instincts, and we did manage to get some interesting exchanges on serious policy issues, particularly between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. In these exchanges, it was quite clear that Sanders was the winner–his arguments were significantly stronger and more convincing than Clinton’s.

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The Oklahoma Racism Scandal: Why It’s Wrong to Punish the Students

The University of Oklahoma was recently scandalized when footage emerged in which members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon sang a revoltingly racist song:

This should make us think long and hard–how are young people acquiring racist beliefs? What are the social, economic, and environmental factors that lead young people to think negatively of other people based on their racial background? To what extent is wider society influenced by these same factors? How can we mitigate them and create a more fair and just society? But we’re not asking any of these questions. Instead, we’re going after the students and patting ourselves on the back for not being racist. That’s a mistake–here’s why.

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Robot Doctors and Internet Professors

A few days ago, I wrote a piece on the American healthcare and higher education systems, noting that they both suffer from rising costs because the consequences of failing to obtain these services are very dire. I argued that while it is quite unfair to deny healthcare or education to people on the basis of their economic background, there are limits to the supply of these services available–limited numbers of hospital beds, doctors, professors, and university places. Consequently, I claimed it made sense for the state to ration access to these services, ensuring that poor people who can make splendid use of them have access by denying access to those who cannot derive the same benefits. It makes little sense to give a university place to a 95-year old over a poor 20-year old, or to attempt to prolong the poor-quality life of a 95-year old at the expense of saving a poor 5-year old. However, it was suggested to me that this argument might rest on a false assumption–namely, that the supply of college education and healthcare might not be supply constrained, or, at the very least, might soon cease to be. I’d like to consider this objection in further detail.

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