Monday, November 29, 2010

Going Fishin' with Archibald and Feldman

by Andrew Gillen

The Fish fiasco is getting weirder by the minute. After Felix Salmon, among others, offered critiques, Fish invited Archibald and Feldman to respond on his blog.

They basically reiterate the points Fish made but with better support. It is still not convincing though.

My biggest issue is with the Fish/Archibald/Feldman position that adopting technology is a major driver of higher costs combined with their preferred definition of affordability. To them
Something becomes less affordable over time if you cannot buy the same amount of it without spending less on other things.
They use this definition to argue that because the income left after paying net tuition is higher, college is more affordable than in the past. So if something, say IT, declines in price, wouldn’t that mean it is more affordable? Apparently not, since they also argue that technology is a major factor driving college costs higher.

So if I’ve got this straight the Fish/Archibald/Feldman position is that
  1. Net tuition is going up, but college is more affordable.
  2. The cost of adopting technology is going down, but increasingly unaffordable technology is making college more expensive.
I guess I’ll have to wait for my copy of the book to arrive to experience the rhetorical gymnastics required to simultaneously take those two positions.

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