Why Private isn't Palatable

I think the prospect of personal gain is a more powerful driver of co-operation than the idea of the general good... Exchange, though motivated by self-regard, spreads benefit far and fast across the planet...

Despite the fact that self regard 's our best chance at fair exchanges, it isn't easy convincing the average citizenry. Especially in countries trying to shrug off their socialist past. Take India for example. It isn't easy convincing people that their best bet for quality education is if private parties deliver it at a price of their choosing in exchange for a quality commensurate to that price. This is so, as when it comes education, its difficult to convince a citizenry used to governmentalised education that private parties can do it even better. Again, education as a service when tied to the prospect of profit making, renders it unpalatable. Its as if, how can education be sold at profits? Shouldn't it be given out of the goodness of a party's heart?

The unequivocal answer to goodness driving education is, its a pipe dream. To understand this better, look at the state of healthcare. That people today are convinced about healthcare doing better in private hands is because they've been able to see outcomes in a manner that's stark and clear. I can't believe anyone goes to a government hospital thinking the quality of health care is top notch. They do so solely due to the fact that its affordable, which in turn is thanks to subsidies. Now I am not saying that private healthcare providers aren't fallible. Of course, they mess up too, but to a far lesser degree. And so the average citizen who can afford healthcare in India prefers a private provider, because he knows his chances of getting cured are far higher.

Now such an apparent comparison of outcomes isn't possible when it comes to education. At least not to the extent of healthcare. Most 'top' educational institutions, especially in business are government run. Note, they've been around for years selling their services at subsidised rates. It is but natural they would be preferred. Private providers are recent. This is the transition period for business education, in India. Quality business providers will have to sell their education services at premium rates because the quality they deliver rakes in costs. For a while this may mean that its out of reach for the common man. But over time prices will rationalise, and a range of education services at different prices will be offered. The waiting won't be easy for buyers and so in the meanwhile private players will bear the brunt of the learner's angst.

But just like the way it is in other industries (when was the last time you trusted a consumer good that came out of a government factory?), private players will prevail. Because like Dr. Eamonn Butler said, 'The prospect of personal gain is a more powerful driver of co-operation than the idea of the general good.'


nikhil said…
i studied in kendriya vidyalaya(govt school), there teacher's don't even come to class to teach.
and they were getting more salary than a private school teacher.

govt is actually dangerous for consumer's.
because consumer bought their product or service due to their credibility but result is always lousy .

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