Invisible hand is empty

March 3, 2011

Tim Leunig's claim in "Quit the quotas: only competitive tension will keep fees down" (17 February) that more competition almost always brings prices down is contradicted by the history of mis-selling scandals in the financial services. Does he really suppose that 18-year-olds taking out student loans that, they are promised, will have to be repaid only if the "investment" pays off will exert any more market pressure to improve costs and quality than those people mis-sold pensions and endowment mortgages in the past?

Even if we accept this premise, let us consider the corollary. There are far more students wishing to join the universities of Oxford and Cambridge than there are places available, while many other institutions struggle to recruit. Therefore, Oxford and Cambridge should expand and take over most of the higher education provision in the country. This would provide Oxbridge-quality education to all who desire it.

Matthew Huntbach, Queen Mary, University of London

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns