Scenes from the Great Education Stagnation

October 2, 2015

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are 3,000 for you. First American manufacturing does more with fewer people (HT: AEI’s Mark J. Perry):

Okay good- ready for the next one? Heritage chart showing that the American education massively increases employment relative to the student count:


But it’s all fine because the kids are learning so much surrounded by so many adults compared to the past right? Er, no:



We Will We Will FRACK You!!!

July 15, 2014

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

The above gif is a 14 year time lapse, putting in tiny red dots for new oil wells (HT Mark J. Perry).  After watching this for a while, a few things spring to mind.

1. The motto of the University of Texas at Austin “We’re Texas. What Happens Here Changes the World” comes to mind.

2. Pennsylvania seems perfectly content to drill New York’s shale formation from just south of the border.  Memo to New York: fracking involves horizontal drilling, so you might want to rethink your ban.

3. Canada is just barely getting in on the action thus far, but western Canada has plenty of shale formations. So…

Hey you hosers! Don’t force us to sell our oil to China eh?

Just for the record I’d rather fill up my tank with gas refined from Canadian oil rather than line the pockets of various anti-American regimes. Pipelines please…

4. I have not heard much about Arkansas, but it looks like a boom going on in the north of the state (?)

The Desperate Need for Market Forces in Education

February 15, 2012

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Mark J. Perry provides a fantastic illustration of the tremendous power of market forces to improve the human condition. If a picture is worth a thousand words, here is three thousand for you:

So adjusted for inflation, a now obsolete piece of furniture television set that could bring in all of 12 channels and had no remote control and a terrible picture quality was going to set you back more than $5,000. What could you buy for the same amount of money today in constant dollars? Perry is glad you asked. Try this:
















Now, as a good skeptic, you quickly recovered from your shock and asked yourself if this was a phenomenon restricted to electronics. Perry, as it turns out, has anticipated your question:

We live, in short, in an age wonders, except of course for areas of the economy heavily managed and financed by the government. In those areas, instead of radically improving products provided at continually lower costs, we tend to see expanded costs for no, little or ambiguous improvements. Take for instance, American K-12 education in the era of unionized workforces (HT Andrew Coulson):

We need to be far more thoughtful about incentives in the K-12 system if we want to serve the best interests of children and taxpayers.

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