Weekend Reading, Protests Edition

Quebec has been the site of a lot of student protests lately. Quebec has historically had very low tuition rates for in-province students:

1 year of medical school 1 year of social sciences
Québec  $1,968.00 $1,968.00
Ontario $16,878.00 $5,001.00
California $26,200.00 $8,373.00

However, this is set to change. Rates are going to increase by about 40%, under the plans of the current government. Students have been protesting as a result:

And then things get violent…

What are your thoughts? Is higher education a right? Yes or no?

If you answered yes, then do you believe that students are entitled to use the force of government to force income earners to pay higher taxes, so that their direct tuition costs can be lower?

If you answered no, then do you believe that the government has the right to restrict universities from legitimate competition, that could be used to save untold costs and expenses?

I think that what we are seeing here is the manifestion of the progression of entitlement. It happened in Greece, and in a few more years scenes like this could be very commonplace across North America, too.

To be clear, I support the right of the students to protest non-violently, and I think they make a few good points. Why are taxes so high? Why is so much money being spent on new buildings and high salaries for administrators? There is a lot of funky crap going on that needs to be set straight.

Here are some recent posts that you may have missed:

On to the weekend reading :)

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Have a good weekend, all :)
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21 Responses to Weekend Reading, Protests Edition

  1. PK March 31, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    “If you answered no, then do you believe that the government has the right to restrict universities from legitimate competition, that could be used to save untold costs and expenses?”

    I’m going to go with neither has a right – no one has a ‘right’ to free post-secondary education and conversely Government doesn’t have a right to restrict educational competition. Open the market! (But what do I know, I’m in America…)

    Thanks for the include!

    • admin March 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

      Excellent reply, PK, and I completely agree. :)

  2. Earth and Money March 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    As an Ontarian, where our tuition fees are much higher, I have a hard time sympathizing but I believe that access to post-secondary education is something that everyone should have. I’m not informed enough about what’s going on in Quebec to comment more…to be honest, until reading this post, I didn’t even know this was an issue in Quebec. Guess I should step out of my bubble… Thanks for the link love!

    • admin March 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

      I agree! I believe the best way to reach that access is through the voluntary means of the market. Coercion has its drawbacks, as we are now seeing.

  3. BeatingTheIndex April 1, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    While students do have the right to express their opinion, I do not sympathize with them at all because the system cannot afford to increase funding to more than what it is right now.

    • admin April 1, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

      Agreed, Mich! Where I might find agreement with the students is on the government side of things, where there is corruption in the allocation of existing funds.

  4. Wealth Artisan April 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Hey FG.

    Thanks for the include among all of these great blogs! When the government interferes with the market, it creates an imbalance that will eventually need to be corrected. Unfortunately, what government tries to do is put off any corrections by injecting more and more and more.

    All this does is compound the future correction. Corrections can manifest themselves in any number of ways including austerity measures (Greece), hyperinflation (Germany), unemployment, riots, protests, and so forth. The market demands balance, and that is most likely what this is.

    For instance: let’s say this tuition subsidy could have continued going indefinitely, eventually there would have been riots in the streets because there would be a massive oversupply of skilled students, no jobs, and low pay for those who did get jobs. If everyone gets a degree.

    That’s also assuming riots wouldn’t be in the streets because of high taxes because the government was paying ever increasing tuition.


    • admin April 1, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

      Hi Timothy,

      Another excellent reply! :) I don’t have anything to add, because this one is a gem by itself. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Geoff April 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi Kevin, thanks for the mention!

    • admin April 2, 2012 at 7:09 am #


  6. Shilpan April 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    My take on the tuition cost is to allow free market principles to work. Students should not expect wealthy to pay for their tuition cost; and government should not force universities to offer education at certain rate. Rather, government should allow more competition.

    Thank you for mentioning my article. I really appreciate it.

    • admin April 2, 2012 at 7:09 am #

      Agreed! There’s nothing very free-market about giving out loans in a free-for-all and inflating costs sky-high, and worse, the debt can’t even be discharged.

  7. Shaun @ Smart Family Finance April 1, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Imagine if all businessmen did this every time transportation costs increased because of rising gasoline prices? Life’s full of potentially unfair conflict. People that can productively deal with those challenges, will be successful in life.

    • admin April 2, 2012 at 7:11 am #

      Haha, that would be funny to see. Gas station owners definitely get the worst of it. Whenever prices start to go up then all the accusations of price fixing and what not come out ;)

  8. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter April 2, 2012 at 8:59 am #

    I agree with PK. Neither answer is right but exploring options is definitely needed.

    Thanks so much for the inclusion. Much appreciated. Hope you had a great weekend.

    • admin April 3, 2012 at 9:36 am #

      Thanks, Miss T, you too :)

  9. My Own Advisor April 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    Thanks for the link FG :)

    I agree with many of the previous comments.

    This progression of entitlement is scary. I have a feeling we’re going to see more of this in our future, in North America. Austerity might be coming our way in another 10 years, when there’s only 2 workers in Canada for every 1 retiree. That’s a bad recipe for growing a economy.

    Students certainly have every right to freedom of expression but the educational system as a whole is flawed.

    • admin April 3, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      I think we’re going to see more of it for sure. Oh man, can you imagine south of the border? The U.S. debt situation is out of control, and the stance of the government seems to be to prepare for war against its own citizens, rather than return to a sound economic order. It’s messed up!

  10. Forest April 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    I don’t think the picture is black or white here so it isn’t one way or another. However I really would like to see higher standards to get into uni but free education. Of course the uni’s would theoretically make less money this way so we won’t see it.

    There is an increasingly growing concern of mine where it seems that you NEED certain qualifications to do menial things. SO, you are practically forced into uni, then you are forced into paying high fees to get on the bottom rung of a low paying job in the name of so called career progression…. What happens then? You spend the first 5 years of your so called career paying far too much back for a degree that you never really needed (but would not have been hired without it) to do your job. The cycle of education is seriously screwed and geared to making money, not human progression.

    We need a switch here to bring Uni back as a genuine place where humans advance knowledge and we grow as civilisations.

    Just my two cents.

    Violence is never an answer but to be fair it happened in small small pockets in these protests but media loves to spotlight it. I bet I could find more incidents on a standard Saturday night up St Laurent street.

    • admin April 3, 2012 at 9:41 am #

      Hey Forest,

      I agree that the cycle of education is seriously screwed. I’d like to see the government to get OUT of the business of creating artificial scarcity through crony capitalism, licensing, and other restrictionist measures that drive up the price of education, increase costs, and deliver excessive compensation to those that build new schools or administer them, rather than delivering more value directly to the students. It would also help if they stopped driving up costs via free-for-all massive student loans, encouraging people to get into massive debt.

      If we had open competition, a free and level playing field, and an end to monopolistic practices, I’m sure we would see a great fall in the cost of education as many more players would enter the field, and players would be more innovative, like Khan’s University or the Mises University have been to date.

      I don’t condone violence on either the part of the students or the police, to be clear. I think both were culpable here!

      Thanks for the great comment!


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