Friday, September 15, 2006

The Race to the Top

Those who study global politics know all about the race to the bottom. In an effort to attract foreign investment countries compete with eachother to tear down barriers to trade... barriers like environmental regulations, labor rights, taxes. You know, laws.

Well, the race to the bottom is usually fueled by an equal and opposite race to the top. Foreign investors looking to make the next quick million dollars... and what do the spend that that hard earned ROI on, you might ask? Well, apparently sending their children to college where they can live like kings.

Behold, the future of residential life in American colleges.

When I lived in the dorms (from 1999 - 2003), I lived in either a double or a triple, usually bunk beds, and always a twin size bed. According to the AP, many colleges are competing with eachother not on academics or opportunity, but with full size beds and luxury rooms. The article makes reference to maid service, professional movers, even limo rides to campus.

During my Junior year the UW upgraded a great deal of its food outlets, brought on a fancy four-star chef to plan the menus, the whole nine-yards. It was outrageous. The cost of food almost doubled, and while the quality got better, it's freaking college. You're not there to eat food.

With college tuition breaking $40,000 a year in some places and college professors making significantly less then their peers in industry, you would think we could refocus that money to more wortheir aims.

1 comment:

srcastic said...

While I think there is some room for improvement in dorms, including some of the changes made at UW, I do agree that the trend as a whole is troubling. Unfortunately, I think it is part of our broader cultural trends, which are increasingly materialistic, individualistic, and self-indulgent.