July 24, 2010
No kidding! The Star Telegram reports that there will some changes in the law regarding textbooks. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires that publishers provide professors with detailed information about pricing and any alternatives in formats. Students will no longer have to buy CD’s and other materials formerly bundled with textbooks so you would have to buy them. Now they will all be separate items.
The changes are good but they don’t go far enough. Textbooks can run on average $800 to $1200 per student per semester. Are the almost mathematical predictable (two to three years and 12% on the average more expensive) upgrades to textbooks necessary? What are the profit margins? Are there any cozy deals between professors and book companies?
There is a lot more that can be done. We should as a nation be more supportive of education and those willing to take the time and effort to improve themselves rather than offering them up as casual sacrifices to publisher profits.
See this video on overpriced textbooks -
Stephanie Lewis commented on your post:
“James, I firmly believe in rental programs at schools. My undergrad college had one such program. My books were $12 a book with an option to buy. To get your grades, you had to turn your books in or be charged full price. They were on 1 year rotations for subjects in which the information changes frequently. Others were on two-year rotations and the bulk were on 3 year rotations. At the end of every semester, there would be a book sale to get rid of retired inventory ($1 a book). Of course, that meant the school had to run its own bookstore and not outsource it to another company and have the storage and staff for its inventory and maintenance, but it was a bargain for me and saved me a boat load in student loan money. Trust me, next to medical books, art history books are some of the most expensive. California is currently transitioning all of its state schools to rental programs and has been for a few years. I firmly believe in rental programs. BTW, I went to my undergrad college from 1990-1994 and that rental price didn’t change. Currently, they still only charge $17.50 a book.”
July 24, 2010
President Obama faces a choice and this choice will tell us a lot about the administration. Does this administration intend serious oversight of the finance industry. The choices are simple, Elizabeth Warren, a long time defender of the public interest or someone acceptable to Geithner and the Department of the Treasury. Who counts in this country, the millions of individuals who suffer from the fees and often the cruelty of these institutions or the institutions and their political muscle? We’ll know soon. In the meantime, read this fine analysis from Simon Johnson!
via The Baseline Scenario
This is one of Elizabeth Warren’s appearances before Congress:
July 24, 2010
This a news analysis of the July 20th, drop in Goldman Sachs’ shares. Forgive the commercial that opens it. I can’t get around it.
This is a PBS two part series on how Goldman Sachs’ profit. If you want to understand our economy’s problems and what is likely to continue to go wrong, this is a good place to start.
This is the second part.
July 24, 2010
David Gebler writing on the blog, Business Ethics, discusses safety violations, codes of silence and what not to do when advancing safety practices.
Shel Horowitz begins his latest blog post (Principled Profit) with these words: As my Boomer generation ages, and as our parents move well into the elder category, I reflect often on something I learned as a young organizer with the Gray Panthers (1979-80): the idea that society had best learn how to incorporate people with disabilities into active daily life, because most of us were going to grow into that category sooner or later.
Horowitz writes that today, his entry is part of an event, Worldwide BloggersUnite, Empowering People with Disabilities. I’d give it a read and take a look at the idea behind the event.
I would like to call attention to two Chris MacDonald postings. A few days ago, Professor MacDonald posted an interview with the author of the “The Authenticity Hoax.” Since then the posting has had some comments (skip past mine) and they have been interesting. Chris gets pretty tough there in that last one. So, I recommend a read of the comments section.
The second MacDonald posting concerns British Petroleum’s faked photographs. MacDonald implies that he has been willing to give BP the benefit of the doubt in the past (I firmly believe this is true. I thought he was too fair) but he is increasingly doubtful of their motives and honesty.
A new business ethics blog has appeared. I give it a warm welcome and a hope of many postings!