Tag Archives: free enterprise

Indonesian Educators Fear New Law On Universities

A recent law passed by the Indonesian legislature has aroused considerable controversy among educators who fear the unstated implication would be to allow commercialization of higher education in the country. The law passed by the House of Representatives upheld the principles of autonomous campus management and allowed six state universities to raise and manage public funds in exchange for reducing government subsidies. There is fear universities will gradually reduce costs at the expensive of underprivileged students. At present, Indonesia only allocates 0.24% of its GDP to higher education compared to 2.4% in the United States. Many education experts believe the government is trying to reduce its expenditures on higher education by allowing universities to manage their budgets and get in the business of raising money on their own.

A university does not receive money from the corporate world without raising the spectre of ceding control of how it allocates funds. For example, it might lead to pushing business programs at the expense of the liberal arts. It is a tricky slope and only leadership which is committed to academic freedom and creation of universities which play a role in fostering liberal arts will ensure that school is more than learning a trade.

Did Capitalism Fail The Average Citizen Of Society?

During the past fifty years, capitalism has boasted that is was superior to communist and socialist societies because its principle of free enterprise ensured that goods would be produced at the lowest cost and the entire society would benefit along with those who had wealth. Der Spiegel, raised an important issue concerning capitalism. “Their failure has become ours- and the promise of a common good has evaporated along with faith in democratic capitalism.” The editors of Der Spiegel charge the current economic crisis is a result of a few people “who have been on a big time gambling binge.” Some may argue such economic problems are cyclical in nature and within time things will return to normal — or will they?

According to Der Spiegel, “this time fundamental issues are at stake. Is a market economy nothing more than an invitation to engage in excessive gambling?…… Now the challenge is to keep people from losing all faith in the markets.” We have all been party to a system in which those with wealth and power insisted they should be trusted because they alone, not any government, knew what was best for society. To even suggest government intervention or supervision immediately received a response that such actions were examples of “socialism” and the loss of freedom and prosperity.

Perhaps, it is time to rethink fundamental ideas about capitalism and find a middle way between excessive government intervention and uncontrolled capitalists. During the New Deal in the 1930s, Franklin Roosevelt created a balance, and people like Ronald Reagan threw out the balance. Does anyone today have any respect for Ronald Reagan? He certainly wasn’t and FDR!