Why is Education so Primitive?
By Arnold Kling
Alex Tabarrok asks “Why is Medicine so Primitive?”
One reason is that medicine is the largest area of the economy still dominated by artisanal production. I will be blunt: We need assembly line medicine, medicine that is routinized, marked and measured. As I have argued before I would much prefer to be diagnosed by a computerized expert system than by a physician. The HMOs, Kaiser in particular, have done good work on measuring the effectiveness of different procedures but much more needs to be done to bring medicine into the twentieth century let alone the twenty first.
He argues that “The number of treatment regimes supported only by tradition and authority is very high.”
But isn’t this even more true of education than medicine? Could not Alex’s arguments apply even more strongly to education?
I have written on this in A Preference for Ignorance. In preference-for-ignorance fields, the practitioners insist that measurement is impossible, and the customers go along with this insistence.