Universities in the UK have traditionally operated under a common system which institutionalises important restrictive practices. They have operated in a cartel whose output had been regulated by government. The individual firms (ie universities) are allocated quotas of students by government, and fees and salaries are set in ways that are typical of a classic cartel. The university cartel is underpinned by a further monopoly, granted as of right to each university. In the UK nobody can award degrees unless empowered to do so by royal charter.
Professor Douglas Hague takes this argument a stage further by stating that current stage of economic development is strongly based on the acquisition, analysis and transmission of information and on its application. Universities will therefore be forced to share, or even give up, part of their role as repositories of information and as power bases for ideas transmitted through teaching and writing.
In this richly original Hobart Paper, Professor Hague identifies the challenges which universities will have to meet and argues that, if these can be overcome, universities should be able to survive both as competitors and complements of the knowledge industries over the coming decades. First published in 1991, with a second impression in 1996, this book has stood the test of time and is remarkably prescient given technical change over the last ten years.
1991, Hobart Papers 115, ISBN 978 0 255 36244 3, 86pp, PB
Orginally published 1991
The IEA thanks the Oxford Praxis Forum, Green Templeton College, Oxford University for helping to bring this edition back into print.