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Monday message board

April 17th, 2006

It’s time, once again for the Monday Message Board. As usual, civilised discussion and absolutely no coarse language, please.

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  1. April 19th, 2006 at 13:11 | #1

    StephenL: If international students want to dance at a multicultural fair, then they may well pay the $20 it costs them.

    It is where the other $580 of the extorted student union fee was going which will rightly concern them.

    If so little of student union fees were going into general wankery, why is it this Easter was deviod of the usual screaming hordes of lunatics at some desert detention camp/military base etc? Gee.. let me guess, no student union riches to pay people $50 a day & to bus them there.. … golly, VSU really is BAD isn’t it!

  2. Ernestine Gross
    April 19th, 2006 at 18:06 | #2

    Terje:

    Thank you for your reply on the topic ‘private competitive education market’.

    I would not be surprised if there are companies who provide training for people to behave in a way other companies want it. In this sense I can understand your statement: ” I do know that out of the formal qualifications that I have personally the one which is the most marketable is taught by multiple alternate outlets operating in a competetive market.”

    However, I do not understand what training of this kind has to do with education.

    The advantage of having formal theoretical models is that terminology is defined and this helps clarity of thought. For example, the difference between a ‘privately funded university’ as distinct from an organisation in a ‘competitive education market’ becomes quickly obvious.

    My hypothesis that a ‘competitive market for education is a beautiful (pipe) dream’ remains unchanged.

  3. April 19th, 2006 at 18:32 | #3

    Ernestine,
    It is not hard to imagine a competitive market for children’s education. It exists whereever there is a private school system and a public one in parallel, as in Australia. It is not fully competitive in Australia, as the price for one set is heavily subsidised (down to near zero), the price for the Roman Catholic system is also heavily subsidised (not to quite zero, but not too far) and one set is less subsidised (everyone else).
    I think your hypothesis has therefore been disproven. Do you want to modify it?

  4. Katz
    April 19th, 2006 at 19:11 | #4

    Yet in this so-called competitive market for education:

    1. The state holds the monopoly over accreditation of senior curricula.

    2. The state holds the monopoly over the gateways to higher education.

    3. The state holds the monopoly over accreditation of teachers.

    Thus people who think they are engaging in a free market in education are victims of an illusion.

    Of course, certain schools do promise their enrolees cache and access to contacts. These features of schooling may well be deemed by parents to be worth the money they spend on private schooling.

    But it is a stretch to say that these attributes of the private school experience amount to education, any more than the aperitif in a high-class brothel amounts to sex.

  5. Ernestine Gross
    April 19th, 2006 at 19:16 | #5

    No Andrew, I don’t want to modify my hypothesis. On the contrary, your description of the current schol system brings water to my mills.

    I

  6. Alan
    April 19th, 2006 at 20:35 | #6

    Dogz, the coalition’s tax policies are not the result of laziness. They are the result of wanting to win the next election. We have a very high taxing, high spending government because somehow enough people see taxes as inevitable but largesse as a personal benefit. So the Coalition raises lots of money in order to target spending on every demographic or geographical group it thinks it can tilt over the line.

  7. Ernestine Gross
    April 19th, 2006 at 20:43 | #7

    “How do we know that Larry didn’t merely correct a long standing oversupply of bananas?”

    Good one.

    Would love to hear what the ‘in the long run-economists’ have to say on this one.

  8. April 19th, 2006 at 21:58 | #8

    Dogz,
    In response to your earlier post on revealed preferences, you are entirely correct. You can have a preference fuction defined in such a way that revealed preference may yield an ambiguous result.

    What you’ve left out, though, is who you finally pick. Imagine a situation where all three are available and you pick Jill, then (um) a hurricane comes along and whisks Jill away and I observe you pick Mary. Thus, you prefer Jill to Mary. Thus you prefer Height&Attractiveness over Height&Intelligence, thus you prefer attractiveness over intelligence.

  9. Terje Petersen
    April 19th, 2006 at 22:41 | #9

    However, I do not understand what training of this kind has to do with education.

    Ernestine,

    This leads me to conclude that either you are ignorant about the nature of the types of private sector education I am refering to or else you use the word education in a manner quite different to my understanding of the term.

    Wikipedia offers the following introduction to the term “education”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education

    Education is a social science that encompasses teaching and learning specific knowledge, beliefs, and skills.

    Is it that you don’t think these course entail education? Or is it that you don’t think it is a competitive market?

    From your vantage point are you able to cast any more light on the nature of our divergence?

    Regards,
    Terje.

  10. Ernestine Gross
    April 19th, 2006 at 22:43 | #10

    ” Alpaca, having not encountered the term before, I looked up your reference to Revealed Preferences
    From the article:

    ‘Further theory states that preferences are transitive’
    Hmm, really? I prefer tall, attractive, and intelligent women, with equal weight on each trait. So I’ll prefer Jill over Mary since she is both taller and more attractive than Mary. And I’ll prefer Mary over Jane since Mary is both taller and more intelligent than Jane. But while Jane is clearly rather short, she is in fact more attractive and intelligent than Jill.
    So I prefer Jill over Mary, Mary over Jane, and Jane over Jill. Legitimate non-transitive preferences, no? ”

    Nice way to illustrate the flaws in the cited reference.

    The stated preferences are ‘lexicographic’, which is sufficient to render the ‘revealed preference theorems’ irrelevant (strictly convex preferences are assumed).

  11. Terje Petersen
    April 19th, 2006 at 22:56 | #11

    So I’ll prefer Jill over Mary since she is both taller and more attractive than Mary. And I’ll prefer Mary over Jane since Mary is both taller and more intelligent than Jane. But while Jane is clearly rather short, she is in fact more attractive and intelligent than Jill.

    So let me try and put some example numbers on that one:-

    Jill is 7ft, IQ=120, 9/10.
    Mary is 6ft, IQ=140, 8/10.
    Jane is 5ft, IQ=130, 10/10.

    Hey presto it actually works. I love the apparent paradox thrown up by that example.

  12. Ernestine Gross
    April 19th, 2006 at 23:09 | #12

    Terje,

    1. “This leads me to conclude that either you are ignorant about the nature of the types of private sector education I am refering to or else you use the word education in a manner quite different to my understanding of the term. “

    Please provide the names of the ‘types of private sector education’.

    2. “Wikipedia offers the following introduction to the term “education�.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education
    Education is a social science that encompasses teaching and learning specific knowledge, beliefs, and skills.
    Is it that you don’t think these course entail education? Or is it that you don’t think it is a competitive market?
    From your vantage point are you able to cast any more light on the nature of our divergence? “

    Please provide your understanding of the term ‘education’.

  13. Terje Petersen
    April 19th, 2006 at 23:16 | #13

    Hey presto it actually works.

    Actually a part of the paradox stems from the way comparisons are made. If you merely compare pairs of women and then count the attributes that are superior in the case of each comparison then you get the paradoxical outcome.

    However if you attribute some type of normalised value to each attribute and then add these up and compare the final “score” you don’t have any such paradox. With the weightings given in the table below the three women are all equally appealing.

    3 1 2 => average 2
    2 3 1 => average 2
    1 2 3 => average 2

    Given a series of facial pictures people can typically order them from most to least beautiful (although the order might be unique to each observer). This is in spite of the fact that there are a vast multitude of factors that go together to create what me might regards as beauty. It would appear that in such an exampe we probably use a “weighted average” approach rather than a “number of superior attributes” approach.

  14. Terje Petersen
    April 19th, 2006 at 23:29 | #14

    Please provide the names of the ‘types of private sector education’.

    Let me start with one. If it does not qualify then please tell me the reasons why it does not qualify and if appropriate I will seek another example.

    Example 1. CompTIA A+ Certification

    For a summary see: http://www.comptia.org/certification/a/

    Please provide your understanding of the term ‘education’.

    My wife is currently finalising a Phd on Knowledge acquisition (at your uni actually) and from exposer to that as well as my own prior experience of the topic I know that “knowledge” can be a very slippery concept. However leaving that to one side and being bold I would define education as any process that fascilitates or causes a person to acquire new knowledge, skills, insights, terminology, ways of thinking etc.

  15. April 19th, 2006 at 23:31 | #15

    It would appear that in such an exampe we probably use a “weighted average� approach rather than a “number of superior attributes� approach.

    And what you have defined is the utility function which you are trying to determine, using revealed preferences.

  16. Ernestine Gross
    April 19th, 2006 at 23:51 | #16

    It is interesting to watch what happens when people start off with a Wikipedia ‘article’ on revealed preferences. Its also a worry.

  17. April 20th, 2006 at 00:30 | #17

    Katz,
    A market does not have to be free to be competitive. I did not say free – neither did Ernestine. My position stands.
    .
    As for my position – a fully unsubsidised market in children’s education is not desirable as the “sins” of the parents should not be visited on the children. However, just because a society believes that children need to be properly educated does not mean that the State needs to own schools, set cirriculum and support a huge bureaucracy. There are better ways.

  18. Ernestine Gross
    April 20th, 2006 at 00:34 | #18

    Terje,

    I’d like to preface my comments by saying that I don’t think we are going to resolve much with this conversation but lets see how far one can go. I am writing on the condition that it is understand that whatever I am writing in the following is part of a process rather than statements that can be quoted, either in full or in part, anywhere.

    1. CompTIA A+ Certification. This is a good example of the formalisation of technical training, the success of which can be measured, at least partially, by observing changes on physical objects as a result of applying skills acquired. I’d say a forerunner of this development was training provided by Siemens and Mercedes Benz many years ago. Technicians with good references (rather than a certificate) from these companies were ‘valued’ in ‘the market’.

    2. “However leaving that to one side and being bold I would define education as any process that fascilitates or causes a person to acquire new knowledge, skills, insights, terminology, ways of thinking etc. ”

    Your description of your notion of ‘education’ makes more sense to me than the ‘stuff’ found on the wiki-site.

    I’d like to make one ‘etc’ specific, namely to inspire people to be inquisitive, to ask questions and to reason. Another ‘etc’ is to inspire people to create new knowledge, develop new skills. Another ‘etc’. is to inspire people to gain insights by anlysing whatever material they are concerned with.

    I would agree with you that the term ‘knowledge’ can be a slippery one. One way to get a little bit of a handle on it is to say that some knowledge is concerned with the question WHY and some knowledge is concerned with the question HOW to do something.

    In my opinion and, given space and time constraints, generalising a bit more than what I would like to, ‘education’ involves both questions but ‘training’ involves primarily only one, namely ‘how to do something’.

  19. Terje Petersen
    April 20th, 2006 at 08:39 | #19

    I am happy to explore this as a process. In other words I am happy for either of us to change our minds or expand our interpretation of the issue or concede that we only have a partial answer.

    I am not entirely sure I agree with your distinction between education and training but lets play with it a little.

    What you seem to be saying is that Education may incorporate training (ie training is a subset of education) but that education in its broadest sence has an added element. A component concerned with asking “why” or as you put it to “inspire people to be inquisitive, to ask questions and to reason”.

    If this is correct then what you would really seem to be saying is that some types of education (ie vocational technical skills training) can be delivered through a competitive market place but other types of education (ie the sort concerned with questions of why and the type that inspire people to be inquisitive and to ask questions and to reason) would not be provided if it was all left to a competitive market place. In other words a competitive market place can deliver education but it would not be sufficient to ensure that the entire enterprise of education was fufilled.

    Is this a fair characterisation? Where does it need refinement?

  20. Dogz
    April 20th, 2006 at 09:46 | #20

    Alan,

    Dogz, the coalition’s tax policies are not the result of laziness. They are the result of wanting to win the next election.

    I’d agree with you except how do you explain the IR laws? They are likely to lose the Coalition votes – so the Coalition are capable of doing something unpopular that they believe is good long-term for the country. I agree with them on the IR laws, but if that’s their one-shot at pushing through unpopular policy this term then it would have been vastly preferable had they chosen tax reform over IR reform.

    Besides, they’ve got such an enormous surplus, this is one time they can reform taxes whilst creating the fewest possible losers.

  21. Dogz
    April 20th, 2006 at 10:43 | #21

    EG, to be fair, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the wiki article on revealed preferences – my guess is you have to assume transitivity to get anywhere at all with the theory.

    Fundamentally the “paradox” arises because the things for which you’re expressing preferences have incomparable traits. You can get around that as Terje did by assigning scores and hence forcing the different trait’s to be comparable, but that seems artificial to me.

    I think the fundamental weakness is in assuming all information about preferences is contained in pair-wise comparisons. I can imagine many circumstances in which I might choose A over B, B over C, and C over A, if I am only presented with those choices. But if I am presented with A, B, and C simultaneously, I’ll make different choice.

    The reason is that when you compare two things you do so via their common traits. But most things have a large number of traits, and a comparison between A and B will not necessarily involve the same traits as a comparison between A and C. The only way you can make a decision on all relevant traits is to compare the three things simultaneously, which means to “reveal my preferences” you need to inspect more than just my pairwise choices.

    Of course, as IANAE (I Am Not An Economist), this may all be a load of baloney.

  22. Ernestine Gross
    April 20th, 2006 at 11:04 | #22

    The term ‘competitive markets’ has meaning to me. The term ‘competitive market place’ does not (where is the location where internet trade takes place?)

    I am saying that markets work reasonably well for a subset of ‘commodities’ (physical objects) which can be consumed by individuals or used by enterprises as inputs, causing ‘negligible’ externalities.

    ‘Vocational technical training’ consisting of skills that can be acquired quickly (say at most 1 year) and applied by an individual to physical objects in a ‘standardised’ manner (at least for a period of time) would seem to me to be ‘marketable’. To be ‘marketable’ is not quite the same thing as saying vocational technical training can be provided by a ‘competitive market’. But this kind of ‘vocational technical training’ is typically offered to people who are already ‘educated’ to some extent.

    It is not easy to draw a line in the sand. For example, ‘accounting’ consists of skills that are not directly related to physical objects but, up to a point, the skills are so standardised that the term ‘vocational technical training’ seems quite suitable and as such training in accounting could be said to be ‘marketable’.

    In some circles, it was the fashion during the past 10 years to talk about ‘commodification of education’. ‘Standardisation’ became an aim, whether it made sense or not. This is where things get tricky because the mind of teachers and students get ‘boxed in’. Creativity is stifled, questions are suppressed, etc, etc. In a sense ‘learning’ stops. I call this ‘uneducation’ or ‘dumbing down’. The opposite to an ‘open society’, if you like.

    I don’t believe we get much further with our discussion because there is more involved than refinements. However, isn’t it good to have gone some way in terms of ‘free exchange’ of some thoughts on some very complex matter rather than allowing ourselves to be ‘boxed in’ by the wiki-site?

  23. Ernestine Gross
    April 20th, 2006 at 15:58 | #23

    Dogz,

    The wiki article on revealed preferences doesn’t state the theorem(s) on revealed preferences. IMO, this is not helpful. One of theorem might be enough for readers to understand what is going on. I am restricting my comment here to economics (to be on the safe side).

    The methodology is: Under conditions (i) to (n) preferences of indidividuals can be deduced from market prices. Furthermore, the objects over which preferences are defined are characterised (eg pair-wise comparable, measurable).

    If the conditions in the theorem are not ‘good approximation’ to reality then one can’t “use” (apply) empirical methods which rely on the revealed preference theory. So Terje’s approach makes no sense in this framework because he is trying to specify what is to be deduced.

    I thought your example was clever because you picked a choice set of ‘characteristica’, which was not completely spanned by the set of available combinations. Initially I wanted to write on this but decided against it – potentially too difficult for a blog-spot. So, I picked on one condition, which I know is violated by the information you made available.

    You are correct, one of the conditions involves the notion of ‘transitivity’. But this is only one of a list.

  24. StephenL
    April 20th, 2006 at 16:20 | #24

    Steve at the Pub,

    It’s a simple thing called efficiency. It is much more efficient to collect $393 from students once (the fee at this campus, and a fairly typical one, in contrast to your figure of $600) than to have to have set up fencing around an open area every time you hold an event and pay someone to take $20 off everyone who attends. If you run three events a week during term time the costs of putting up and taking down all those barriers, plus paying people to collect add up. The same goes for having to have someone collect a payment everytime someone uses the computer centre or the running track.

    Some of the fees go to places you don’t like. Fair enough. But the fact stands that the overwhelming bulk of those fees go on things that are not controversial in themselves, although one can off course argue if they are value for money. In some cases it is relatively easy to shift to people paying at the time of use (eg the gym, which on most campuses is subsidised but not free – they’ll simply up the charge). In other cases it is highly inefficient or impractical to charge people other than through an upfront payment at the start of the year.

    Supporters of VSU consider the aspects they are opposed to, such as funding of rallies, far more important than the negative consequences of loss of other services. That’s a legitimate position. But it is simply dishonest to pretend that rallies and student politicians’ salaries represent the majority of the fee. Anywhere other than tiny campuses they represent between 2 and 10%, usually less than 5%.

    And BTW, in case you didn’t notice, there was a refugee protest this year. It was intended to be held at Villawood, but the government shut the place down because they were concerned the protesters would disturb nearby asbestos.

  25. Terje Petersen
    April 20th, 2006 at 20:00 | #25

    Ernestine,

    Thanks for the response.

    I don’t think there was ever much risk of us getting boxed in by the wiki article. None the less I am also glad we did not get boxed in.

    You still have not clarified for me whether you regard “Vocational technical training” as a subset of education or if you are implying that such training is somehow a different beast entirely. I am still guessing that it is the former.

    I can understand your concerns about commodification of education. Your point about creativity is I believe a very key issue. However from what I have seen of competitive markets they not only commodify things but they also frequently lead to a lot of differentiation. I would think that the sort of creativity smothering commodification of education that you are refering to was more likely to come from a government education bureaucracy rather than from an education market. It appears to me (although I can’t prove it) that state based primary and secondary education system has worked hard to try and commodify teachers. Across the state we have a uniform curriculum that leaves little scope for innovation or creative education.

    On the issue of creativity I remember in the first year of my engineering degree we did an introductory course that explained how engineering was all about synthesis (ie creativity). They then went on to say that teaching synthesis (ie creativity) was too difficult so they would instead spend the next four years teaching us all about engineering analysis. That seemed like a cop out, but I suppose they were at least being honest about it.

  26. Ernestine Gross
    April 20th, 2006 at 23:15 | #26

    “You still have not clarified for me whether you regard “Vocational technical trainingâ€? as a subset of education or if you are implying that such training is somehow a different beast entirely. I am still guessing that it is the former. ”

    There is a Department of and a Minister for Education and Training and not a Department of and a Minister for Education including Training. This name seems to indicate to a sufficient extent that ‘education’ and ‘training’ are not totally unrelated but are not the same either. I can’t see any benefit of introducing superficial formalism.

  27. steve munn
    April 21st, 2006 at 00:38 | #27

    StephenL says: “International students make little use of some of these, but are over-represented in their use of others. I was passing through one campus recently when the night markets were on – there were several thousand students there, overwhelmingly from overseas, enjoying the music and dance from their home countries. For many students experiencing extreeme culture shock such events are a vital lifeline to home. All paid for out of the Amenities and Services fee which will be abolished next semester.”

    This is tripe, StephenL. Most o/s students are from places like China or Indonesia and there is bugger all “culture shock” because we already have substantial communities from these countries. Also private enterprise services cater to most of their needs. For instance in Melbourne you have several halal Indonesian food restaurants that provide cheap meals to Indonesian students. It costs next to nothing to arrange a gathering and listen to recorded music if you pine for the sounds of your home country. New voluntary groups will arise organically and cater for other needs.

    The student tax is a flat tax, or in other words a regressive tax, on education. I never used student services when I was a poor tertiary student. I would have been much better off if I could have spent the student tax on things like text books.

    Compulsory student taxes are dead. Stop flogging a dead horse.

  28. Ernestine Gross
    April 21st, 2006 at 11:07 | #28

    “If demand and supply for a specific time period is related to the previous time period(s), then its logical that there is some level of uncertainty in the producer’s mind about the amount of goods he can sell and at what price in future time periods. If this is true: Then there should be some form of insurance market present for it. ”

    Exactly. If there would be ‘complete future (not futures) markets for commodities and all physical things which are of interest to humans would be marketable’ then producers would make decisions in a complete insurance market and one could say that resources are allocated by prices. It is the absence of such markets which is observable and it is the non-marketability of some physical things which is empirically observable.

    A related question is whether financial securities markets contain the information. This question has been investigated too. The theoretical conditions are known as ‘spanning conditions’. In the absence of ‘spanning’ (ie if this assumption is empirically not true) then ‘the value of excess supply’ is minimised (Radner, 1972). Empirical examples of excess supply of office space (eg in Sydney not all too long ago), is inconsistent with the ‘spanning condition’. Unless it can be shown that all business failures are due to significant incompetence, business failures are evidence that the insurance market is incomplete. And, where can a student who is facing student fees in the range of $[40,000 to 100,000], depending on his or her choice of course insure (ie get a contract today for employment in the future)?

    The following reference books contain theoretical results and references to the mile-stone literature in this area:
    D. Duffie, Security Markets: Stochastic Models, Boston: Academic Press, 1988.
    D. Duffie, Futures Markets, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1989. Japanese translation, Kinzai Publishing Company, 1994.

    Incidentally, the corporate phrase ‘maximise shareholders’ wealth’ (ie share market value) entails that corporations are not ‘competitive’ (price takers) in the financial markets.

    In practice it has become the fashion for publicly listed corporations to maximise ‘earnings per share’ (as calculated by accountants). But, consider what happens if corporate managers’ focus on ‘earnings per share’ and they have debt on their books. Further, the technology of many corporations entails ‘fixed’ investments (and multi-period contracts with managers). The ‘price flexibility’ left in a company are wages – no?

  29. Stephen L
    April 21st, 2006 at 17:11 | #29

    Steve Munn. Strange that your position is not endorsed by a single one of Australia’s Vice Chancellors or any of the representative bodies for overseas students. Granted the latter have a conflict of interest, as they get a share of the funds, but I have yet to hear of a single overseas student endorsing the VSU legislation, and know plenty who are opposed, even from the right.

    Some of the universities are so worried about the loss of services for overseas students they are taking millions of dollars out of other things and putting them into the student organisations.

    I’m not aware of a single country that does not have guaranteed funding for its student organisations – either from the taxpayer or through a compulsory fee. No doubt some universities in the US do not charge a compulsory fee for student services, but the major ones, with which Australia competes for overseas students, do.

    VSU will certainly remain in force for a while, and in that sense I am flogging a dead horse, but I’m willing to bet that within ten years it will either be repealed or (more likely) will be drastically amended so that some of the services are funded again. I’ll back that up with cash if we can agree on a suitable person to hold the money (perhaps our host would like to volunteer).

  30. steve munn
    April 22nd, 2006 at 00:15 | #30

    StephenL, if universities want to introduce a service fee for o/s students that is not my problem.

    My problem is poorer working class students having to pay a prohibitive tax which is largely frittered away on things like political grandstanding, the womyn’s room, student radio, a crap newspaper that hardly anyone reads and silly clubs like the “chocolate club”. At least that was the impression I gained during my undergraduate days, when I had to account for every single dollar in order to make it through. I doubt things got any better over the succeeding 10 years.

    Ending compulsory anti-working class regressive taxes on students is one of the few things the Howard Government has got right.

  31. Terje Petersen
    April 22nd, 2006 at 01:08 | #31

    At least that was the impression I gained during my undergraduate days, when I had to account for every single dollar in order to make it through. I doubt things got any better over the succeeding 10 years.

    My own views on VSU were formed when at university for pretty much exactly the same reasons that Steve Munn outlines above.

  32. Stephen L
    April 23rd, 2006 at 13:58 | #32

    There’s no question there is waste in all student organisations, and a lot of waste in some – I spent a fair amount of my time at university trying to get rid of some of this waste, and saved my student organisation tens of thousands of dollars in the process. (Whether all the things you refer to are waste is a matter for another time).

    However, my initial point was this: Most of the money collected in student fees do not go on these things. Most universities would spend more on student health than all the things you refer to combined.

    A flat tax is certainly regressive, and there are many better ways to fund facilities like student health. I believe that dental and mental health services should be available under medicare, but the fact is that they are not (at least not in an adequate form) and the government has absolutely no intention of rectifying this.

    Some universities will keep funding for these things going, but others won’t, and the consequences will be disasterous – if it is a problem for poorer students to be forced to pay $400, what do you think of poorer students being unable to get their teeth fixed or get psychiatric counselling?

    As to having overseas students pay – universities will do this (indeed a seriously bizarre piece of legislation appears to require them to do so, passed shortly before the government forced them NOT to make local students pay). The problem is that many of these facilities rely on economies of scale. For example a health service available only to 10% of the student body can’t be run full time.

    There will also be outrage if a student counselling service – now only open to overseas students – turns away a local student who then kills themselves. This debate is far from over.

  33. steve munn
    April 23rd, 2006 at 20:28 | #33

    StephenL says: “I believe that dental and mental health services should be available under medicare, but the fact is that they are not (at least not in an adequate form) and the government has absolutely no intention of rectifying this.”

    The fact that dental and psychiatric services are not adequately provided under Medicare is a travesty. It is certainly an issue that I feel very strongly about. However I do not support piecemeal social programs when there is a better alternative, which in this case is to have psychiatric care and at least basic dental services funded under Medicare. This is considerd affordable in other equally affluent western nations, such as Sweden, so there is no reason why it should be dismissed as unaffordable here.

    As an aside, some psychiatrists do charge the Medicare rebate fee. Students could be referred to such psychiatrists, or a deal could be struck with other psychiatrists who are willing to be altruistic and reduce their usual fee. There is no reason for stand alone service providers at each tertiary insitution, so the “economies of scale” argument is bunk.

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