A Textbook Case of Price-gouging

Go Lean Commentary

Its déjà-vu all over again.

Didn’t we see this before? Yes, just recently as the cause of the Great Recession, where the global economy was brought to the precipice (2008) due to a defective eco-system with American home mortgage financing and servicing. Now, the foregoing VIDEO alludes to a similar “fox in charge of the hen house” scenario – this time with college education textbooks.

Why university books in America are so expensive? (Click ad-supported VIDEO here)

The Economist Magazine (Posted 08-20-2014) –

Textbook Price 1The issue in this VIDEO reflects American Capitalism 101 – not free market economics – where public policy is set to benefit private parties. (This is defined by some as Crony Capitalism). Since many college expenses are subsidized by governments (federal and state) by means of grants or low-interest, deferred student loans, the marketplace knows that governmental entities will pay…unconditionally, so of course prices go up … and up.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean asserts that the Caribbean region must not allow the US to take the lead for our own nation-building, that American capitalistic interest tends to highjack policies intended for the Greater Good.

This assessment applies to the mortgage bubble/crisis of the 2000’s, foreign policy in the Latin America and now to college education textbooks. When will we learn?

The Go Lean book, and accompanying blog commentaries, go even deeper and hypothesize that the traditional American college educated career paths has led to disastrous policies for the Caribbean in whole, and for each specific country in particular. This is a conclusion based on a macro focus, not the micro.

From a micro perspective, college education is great for the individual, enabling them to increase their earning potential in society – every additional year of schooling increases their earnings by about 10%. But on the macro, the Caribbean assimilation of an American college education strategy has been one disaster after another – an incontrovertible brain drain, capital flight of unpaid student loans and illegal immigration.

Now we are learning from this VIDEO, that the American Textbook Publishing schema is designed to take even more of the treasuries from the parents of Caribbean students that are paying tuition, plus room-and-board.

This broken system in America does not have to be tolerated in the Caribbean, anymore. Change has now come. The driver of this change is technology and globalization. The Go Lean book posits that the governmental administrations and educational institutions of the region should invest in alternative higher education options and as much technological educational advances (e-Learning) as possible, for its citizens.

This book Go Lean… Caribbean, serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), which represents change for the region. The CU/Go Lean roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The Go Lean roadmap provides turn-by-turn directions on how to forge this change in the region for a reboot of the Caribbean tertiary education systems, economy, governance and Caribbean society as a whole. This roadmap is presented as a planning tool, pronouncing this point early in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12 & 14) with these statements:

xix.      Whereas our legacy in recent times is one of societal abandonment, it is imperative that incentives and encouragement be put in place to first dissuade the human flight, and then entice and welcome the return of our Diaspora back to our shores

xxi.      Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xxvii.      Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

The Go Lean book posits that even though education is a vital ingredient for Caribbean economic empowerment, there has been a lot of flawed decision-making in the past, both individually and community-wise. The vision of the CU is a confederation of the 30 member-states of the Caribbean to do the heavy-lifting of optimizing educational policies. The Go Lean book details those policies; and other ethos to adopt, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to impact the tertiary education in the region:

Community Ethos – Deferred Gratification Page 21
Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives Page 21
Community Ethos – Job Multiplier Page 22
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments (ROI) Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius Page 27
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Ways to Close the Digital Divide Page 31
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing – Purchasing Cooperatives Page 35
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Education Department Page 85
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Labor Department – On Job Training Page 89
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 Page 136
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Education Page 159
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Student Loans Page 160
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 169
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Libraries Page 187
Appendix – Education and Economic Growth Page 258
Appendix – Measuring Education Page 266
Appendix – New Student Loan Scandal – Rolling Stone Magazine Page 286

The foregoing video relates to topics that are of serious concern for Caribbean planners. While the US is the world’s largest Single Market economy, we want to only model some of the American example. We want to foster an education agenda that propels the Caribbean’s best interest, not some American special interest group. There are many Go Lean blog commentaries that have echoed this point, addressing the subject of Caribbean education decision-making and ramifications. See sample here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2126 Where the Jobs Are – Computers Reshaping   Global Job Market
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1698 STEM Jobs Are Filling Slowly
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1596 Book Review: ‘Prosper Where You Are   Planted’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1470 College of the Bahamas Master Plan 2025 – Reach   for the Lamp-Post
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1433 Caribbean   loses more than 70 percent of tertiary educated to brain drain
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1256 Traditional 4-year Colleges – Terrible   Investment for Region and Jobs
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=459 CXC and UK   textbook publisher hosting CCSLC workshops in Barbados
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=398 Self-employment on the rise in the Caribbean
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=273 10 Things We Don’t Want from the US – American   Self-Interest Policies

The book Go Lean…Caribbean posits that many problems of the region are too big for any one member-state to solve alone, that there is the need for the technocracy of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. The purpose of this Go Lean/CU roadmap is to make the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work, learn and play. This effort is more than academic, this involves some alleviation of the pain and suffering back in the homeland.

We need jobs, and we need an educated labor-force to facilitate the demands of a competitive world. The roadmap posits that to succeed in the global marketplace, the Caribbean region must not only consume but rather also create, produce, and distribute intellectual property. So subjects like prices of textbooks and e-books are germane for our consideration, (see Appendix below). Plus with tactics like Group Purchasing (GPO), there are effective ways to minimize the associated costs of educating the general population, and specific learning needs.

Textbook Price 2

There is the need for specific skills training – we need more STEM enthusiasts (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). So the issue, as expressed in the foregoing video, and the remediation as expressed in Go Lean…Caribbean is an important reflection of technocratic problem solving being advocated for the CU.

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governing institutions, to lean-in for the changes described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean.

Download the book Go Lean…Caribbean now!



High Textbook Prices Anecdote #1: (http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_25464834/throwing-book-at-high-costs-college-textbooks)

Former Napa College student Jena Goodman of Vallejo said student higher education leaders from across California are working to find ways to lighten the financial load of buying textbooks.

“For me, I’ve spent up to $150 for a textbook and as much as $500 to $600 per semester on books,” said Goodman.

High Textbook Prices Anecdote #2: (http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/01/why-are-college-textbooks-so-absurdly-expensive/266801/)

According to the National Association of College Stores, the average college student reports paying about $655 for textbooks and supplies annually, down a bit from $702 four years ago. The NACS credits that fall to its efforts to promote used books along with programs that let students rent rather than buy their texts.

Proposed Solution: (http://www.vox.com/2014/8/25/6058017/why-are-college-textbooks-so-expensive)

One [option] is to treat college textbooks more like high school textbooks — a college would purchase the textbooks, then rent them out to students for a fee. That spreads out the cost of materials over multiple years and for multiple students, and makes textbooks cheaper. But to be effective, it also has to work in bulk, which means faculty have to agree on texts to use for their classes.

Another alternative is open educational resources, which are open-source materials available for free that can take the place of textbooks. Peter Thorsness, a University of Wyoming professor [and a father of a first time college student], said upper-level science classes are now more likely to use such materials from the National Institutes of Health. And some researchers think that open educational resources and other online materials are poised to disrupt the textbook market.

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