Business model of Education and Marx's Capital
৯ ডিসেম্বর ২০২০ ২২:৪৫
৩ মার্চ ২০২১ ১৭:৫২
It is the dream of the millions of youth to get into a good university but is it really worth it when it is not affordable? Is it really worth a lifetime struggle paying student debts and having a mental crisis throughout as long as the loan is not paid. Debbie Baker, a 57 years old public school teacher shares her nightmare of not having been able to pay the loan and how to this date she is miserably paying the debt through whatever she earns to have the never ending crisis resolved. Her story was featured on CNN , CBS and Fox News .
She wrote " I returned to college in Oklahoma in 1996 to fulfill my dream of becoming a public school teacher. My husband and I decided to take out student loans to finish the degree and planned on repaying the debt within 10 years of graduation.
Even with two small children at home, we lived modestly and knew we would be able to repay the debt. My total monthly payment was close to 400 dollars. After receiving my teaching certificate, I immediately went to work in the Oklahoma public school system with a beginning salary of just over $25,000. When I graduated with approximately $35,000 in student loan debt I received a letter from Sallie Mae saying my loan was being placed in forbearance, as I still didn’t have a teaching job.
I continuously had problems with submitting income verification forms with Navient and Sallie Mae . Both institutions made errors that caused processing delays and caused my student loan debt to keep mounting in forbearance. They would do what they needed to do to cause more delays, as my debt total grew.
At this time, I had begun caring for my critically ill adult son and started teaching at a low-income school. Eventually, I applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness relief in 2017 only to discover that all 10 years of my payments were forfeited and none of them counted toward program eligibility. I had to start my payments for PSLF all over again and I had lost $36,000 in payments. After caring for my son for seven of the 10 years that I was dealing with Navient and Sallie Mae, my son passed away in the summer of 2018.
They stole precious time I could have spent with him. Meanwhile, my student loan account balance has grown to $81,000 – even as I had faithfully paid on time every month. . Today, I continue to teach in a public school system and continue to make payments of $300 per month. At 57 years-old, I hope to have the loans forgiven at some point in time before I reach retirement and I don’t see any way out of the situation." This deadly grief-stricken story of Debbie Baker present to us a new form of exploitation. Young people are left with no choice but to get a degree in order to survive in a world of competition and struggle and the cost of getting that degree is a price that some of us have to pay for a lifetime.
The question that arises at this point is why education is becoming more expensive day by day and what goal it is trying to achieve by this day?
As Marx points out that in a social structure where capitalist commodity production prevails the relations between people in societies take the shape of relations of commodities. A capitalist society presupposes commodity production at it's outset which implies that from education to healthcare everything takes the form of commodities. Commodity production is the manufacture of goods not for personal consumption but for sale and when it is produced for sale , it must bring profit. That is it must have a business model.
The only goal that a business model set is to maximize profit . Profit is the financial benefit realized when revenue generated from a business activity exceeds the expenses, costs, and taxes involved in sustaining the activity in question. Any profits earned funnel back to business owners, who choose to either pocket the cash or reinvest it back into the business. Education became a commodity with the emergence of capitalism and in order to sell education to people , the education system is constructed as a business model and profit becomes the main motive of these institutes. In his Capital , Marx quotes the words of a British trade union functionary of the middle of the last century , which strikingly characterize the insatiable greed for profit.
He wrote " With adequate profit , capital is bold. A certain ten percent will ensure it's employment anywhere; 20 percent certain will produce eagerness; 50 percent , positive audacity ; 300 percent and there is not a crime at which it will scruple , nor a risk it will run, even to the chance of it's owner being hanged " . Each educational institutes competes in it's own market with other institutes especially in the private sector to maximize it's profit which comes straight from the student's pockets. To increase profit commodity is produced in variance with the demand of that commodity otherwise the commodity doesn't realize it's social recognition in the market.
Education has a very high demand in our societies as it promises financial stability but the latter is only a prediction made through access to the former but we must take into account that the commodity must be sold which is why jobs should be provided even if to lesser degree in order for commodity survival. Dreams of getting a good education is manufactured ideologically in the minds of the people for getting a better house , a better life which is why in a capitalist society , education becomes a luxury and in attempt to buy this luxury students and parents spends millions of dollars on education, therefore education has realized it's social recognition in the market as a commodity and now comes forth the competition, expenses , cost and the root of profit.
The expenses of education production is the cost of it's property , salary of the teachers, cost of research and the cost of the books, stationaries and libraries. The educational institute must also provide facilities like a campus , cafeteria and other annual functions organized every year. Students are more likely to be drawn to universities which has a bigger campus and organizes different kinds of luxurious functions for example prom . The more investment , the more likely it is able to reach a higher number of buyers and the more that commodity survives in the market. With the selling of the commodity the institute financially recover from the investment it made and gains a financial benefit which is profit.
The competition in the market means to reduce the cost of production as much as possible and to maximize the profit. In case of workers working under capitalists, the surplus value is the unpaid wage of the laborer. The capitalist reduces the cost of production by exploiting the workers, by lowering their wages to generate a higher revenue that he sweeps away back into his pocket but the worker works cause he is left with no other option than this to earn his bread for the day. A capitalist social structure makes a degree mandatory to get a job in this society. The student is left with no other option but to go into the institute only to get a job after graduation.
The educational institute just fuels that need and robs the student under the veil of student loan and high tuition fees . As we have seen in the story of Debbie Baker, Institutions deliberately made errors which caused the processing delay and eventually made her total debt grow. She had a student loan of 35,000 dollar right after her graduation which eventually rose to 81,000 dollar even though she had made her monthly payment on time.
The insitutions on purpose consumed a great deal of money that she had already paid and instead placed her loan in forbearance. This story of Debbie Baker is a modern day story of the lifetime imprisonment of Johann Friedrich Bettger, the inventor of Saxon Porcelain. As an eighteen year old he chased the dream of discovering the "philosopher's stone". "Philosopher's stone" is what people called the wonderful material that was capable of transforming base metals into gold. Bettger was a pharmacist at the court of the Saxonian Kurfurst and of the Polish king August II. August II was a spendthrift and was constantly short of money.
Bettger undertook to create artificial gold but was unable to fulfil his promise. He paid for this with many years of imprisonment in the Messian Tower into which he was held captive by the Monarch . Throughout his whole life in confinement , he attempted to produce the gold making tincture to regain his freedom . What a tragic vicious punishment he had to go through for not being able to fulfil the promise he made to the monarch.
This is in no way different from the story of Debbie Baker. A promise that she made of repaying the loan held her captive for a lifetime. There are millions of other Debbie Baker walking on the streets of the most richest industrial cities struggling financially to fulfil their only dreams of completing a degree from a good university in order to become what they desire to be.
বিষয়: Nree Raha Adrija