Capitalism is an economic and political system that allows the means of production to be owned by the private sector with the purpose of generating wealth through production of commodities. Commodities are anything that can be produced and then sold for a profit. On campus there are many commodities. As pictured above, there are quite often many vending machines where snacks, drinks, and food can be purchased. Another commodity within the campus would be books. Both textbooks which must be purchased or rented and library books are commodities that are exchanged for money. The college bookstore does not only sell books but clothes, pens, pencils and other essentials that one would need for classes. In the case of the library books this money is part of the tuition that is paid by students who attend the classes on the campus.
Because we get our products on campus instead of going to another store, we pay a higher price for the materials because of the convenience. So lets say a pen normally costs $1.15 at a store, but the same pen at the College bookstore costs $2 because of the convenience of not having to leave campus to go buy a pen.
Books are a huge rip off from the Bookstore. Case in point, my Oceanography book cost $130 at the bookstore but at Barnes and Noble it only costs $68. Bookstores charge more for the convenience of having all the books in one place and having them on campus. If you change or add a course, you can get the books right away but you pay a premium for that service. Then when you don’t need the book anymore, you sell it back to the school for a little money. So, that Oceanography book that cost me $130 ends up giving me a $22 return at the end of the quarter. This is called Capitalism.
The cost of college correlates to capitalism in many ways. In this post, we’ll focus on the rising cost of college tuition and how this effects students. Public universities in the U.S. are funded by the government through tax payer money. This means that a portion of the expenses involved in running a college is subsidized by the government. These funds should translates to lower tuition for students. However, as the government continues to cut funds for universities, tuition costs for students rise. In fact, student loan debt surpasses all other debt in the U.S. combined.
Unlike other types of debt, a person can’t declare bankruptcy on student loan debt, this has caused a financial crisis for many college graduates. To compound this problem, there is a decreased number of job opportunities for college graduates which is ironically result if our free capitalist society. With issues such as corporate globalism, we are seeing a decline in he need for educated workers in the United States because the large corporations are moving their operations to other companies as “free trade” becomes more prevalent. At first glance, it may be difficult to understand what college tuition has to do with capitalism but one quickly finds that it is greatly affected by capitalism in general.
Mosbergen, Dominique. “Cost Of College Degree In U.S. Has Increased 1,120 Percent In 30 Years, Report Says.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 15 Aug. 2012. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.