Monday, 30 April 2012

Education, Unemployment, and Minds: Views by Krugman and from Quebec

This morning Paul Krugman writes about what terrible things economic bad times are doing to young people around the world, and the high cost of education. His major concern in the US, where even public institutions cost thousands of dollars per year. (Compare the fees at the University of California at Berkeley which now runs $7205.25 to what I paid as an undergraduate: about $250 or in today's dollars, less than $3,000)

Going back to school is something that young people have done in the past when times are bad and tuition is low.  It has been a case of making lemonade from lemons since what the students learn will make them more productive in the future.  But the door has been slamming shut in the US, and it looks like the Neo-Liberals in Quebec want to do the same.

A sizeable percentage of post-secondary students here have been on strike or boycott (take your pick) for the last 11 weeks.  The government is being intransigent, figuring, it seems, that eventually the movement will fall apart.  There have been hundreds of arrests, but in the last few days, students and police have begun to work together to isolate trouble-makers  (agents provacateurs?. )  Today one group plans on giving roses to the cops.  It's worth noting that all young policemen in Quebec have been trained in publicly-funded institutions whose fees will be going up too.

The photo above is the famous shot of soldiers in Portugal during the amazing Carnation Revolution, when a military-led revolt brought about peaceful regime change when almost the entire population  responded joyfully.  I'm not saying that kind of thing will happen here, but there is something to be said for solidarity when your interests are similar.

BTW, note that music students from Montreal several music schools (not all of which are on strike) joined together  Sunday play Stravinski's Rite of Spring.  A nice bit of solidarity there too, as well as play on words:  the title in French is Le sacre du printemps and sacré is one of the harsher swear words here.

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