[FoRK] The Decline of Empires..

Mark Day mark_s_day at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 4 06:29:27 PST 2005


I appreciate your willingness to nitpick, but I am a little concerned that
we continue to shift yardsticks depending on context.  That's the core of
what I'm objecting to.

For example, it's true that Federal spending is only a small fraction of
total education spending.  And it's true that military spending is only "a
few percent of GDP".  But by that standard (considering as a fraction of
GDP), the U.S. is no longer in the obviously-leading category of educational
spending.  For example, consider this summary of data from 1999 (presumably
at or near the peak of Democratic waste in government spending ;-)).

http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/international/IntlIndicators/index.asp?SectionNum
ber=1&SubSectionNumber=3&IndicatorNumber=43

As a fraction of GDP spent, U.S. education shows up as just barely ahead of
the OECD mean for K-12, behind countries like Sweden, Switzerland,
Australia, and France.  The U.S. clearly spends a lot more money on
postsecondary education, which bumps up the total educational spending
figure a lot.  But I haven't noticed much sentiment in this thread that says
colleges are money pits.  

It's still true that there's no correlation between money spent and results
achieved.  But let's at least drop the idea that the U.S. is some uniquely
wasteful educational spender if we're going to use percentage of GDP to
judge our military expenditures.

--Mark




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