The Archbishop of Canterbury (May) appears so fixated on the problems of markets that he seems unable to pin blame where it belongs. It is notable, for example, that he criticises “profit” orientated tendencies in education at a time when government control is at its zenith.
It is perfectly possible for people to obtain education, library services, books and music through markets whilst taking a completely high-minded and non-materialistic view of education. Markets provide an effective means for signalling what people really value to those who are in a position to meet their needs. Until the 1940s much education worked in that way—as do the markets in books and CDs today. Indeed, Prospect itself operates in a market for high-minded ideas! It is also possible for government to provide education whilst taking a wholly materialistic and utilitarian view, as has increasingly been the case since the 1980s. The more government has taken control of education from the market and civil society, the more utilitarian education has become.
Editorial and programme director; Institute of Economic Affairs