The ends of education

Charlie Stross:

What evolved was essentially a Ponzi scheme. Workers needed a certificate of obedience to show they were suitable employees. The universities that issued such certificates were private institutions: the more certificates they could issue, the more money they could make. At the same time, the finance sector boomed—not so much through student loans at first (the Student Loan Company was thoroughly regulated initially) but through side-projects like the highly profitable student housing construction boom. Also, once a worker-unit was certified and in employment, paying off their student debt, they could be trained to accept other debts. Credit card debt, mortgage debt, anything at all that could be monetized. And the universities that could recruit and certify the most students made the most money.