Education and Public Choice: A Critical Account of the Invisible Hand in Education

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Academic, Dec 30, 2004 - Education - 189 pages

The single most important educational theory in schools and universities today is not derived from Dewey, Piaget, R. S. Peters, or an other significant researcher or theorist in education. It is public choice theory, which is derived from neo-classical economics. This work describes public choice theory in its component parts and as a coherent and potent contemporary factor influencing education today. It is this theory that licenses talk of accountability; provider capture; outcomes; and delivery as the most significant aspects of education, and thereby sets aside the discourses of responsibility; professionalism; social justice; and learning.

Public choice theory is defined by its proponents as the application of economics to politics. It is based on the assumption that economics is the paradigmatic social science that can provide answers to all social questions. By reducing all political and social questions of a particular form of economics it reduces society to a market that is subject to the forces of supply and demand. Citizens become consumers rather than members of a civil society entitled to certain rights. This work describes public choice theory in its component parts and as a coherent and potent contemporary factor influencing education today.

About the author (2004)

NESTA DEVINE lectures in the School of Education of the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She specializes in secondary education educational policy and educational theory.

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