The New Limits of Education Policy
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The New Limits of Education Policy

Avoiding a Tragedy of the Commons

Roger Benjamin

Using a political economy framework to analyze the current problems facing US postsecondary education, The New Limits of Education Policy tackles the questions surrounding the future of higher education. The study provides an explanation of why improvement of teaching and learning is not a high priority for the stakeholders involved. Roger Benjamin explains why heightened recognition by the State of the importance of human capital in the knowledge economy will create the external conditions that will, in turn, create the need for an altered incentive system for these stakeholders. He goes on to make a case for additional positive incentives that would reward behavior that improves teaching and learning.
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Appendix A: The role of the university in the Knowledge Economy

Roger Benjamin


The move to the internet has major implications for the University, in particular the reduction of its monopoly on the production and consumption of knowledge. THE ROLE OF THE INTERNET Internet-based application service providers will be the basis for the development of virtual libraries, specialized databases, and virtual researcher communities. All of this has the potential for extraordinary progress in knowledge development. For example, the implications of Moore’s law suggests the social sciences are poised to make the same move from observation to the experimental that the physical and natural sciences did. One can envisage starting many research projects with the data needed for the project already present, and even organized into a variety of useful sets of meaning. Under these conditions the researcher starts the project at a much higher level of cognitive complexity and can spend much more time focusing on the implications of research results. Internet-based distance learning provided by for- and non-profit post-secondary educational institutions is poised to erode the monopoly the university has held on the production and consumption of knowledge. How should the University adjust to these major challenges over the next several decades? THE GROWTH OF EXPERTISE AS THE SOURCE OF AUTHORITY The complexities attached to issues such as whether Microsoft is a predator in the market, air transportation safety, health care regulation, child development, genetic engineering, the environment, etc. are not amenable to ballot box solutions. Increasingly, the courts act as venues for scientific 146 M2826 - BENJAMIN 9780857935946 PRINT.indd 146 16/12/2011...

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