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I parked my car a few blocks from the UC Berkeley Campus and Sproul Plaza this morning about 8:05 AM and walked onto campus, interested to see what the place looked like after last night's melee, thousand-person strong protest and General Assembly.

Thousands of people Perhaps twenty intrepid #Occupiers were there, surrounded by an equal number of media. One of the media started to interview me, but when she found out she was, in essence, interviewing someone there to see what was going on himself, she lost interest.  I did manage to get in  comment to the effect that the viral video of police brutality from yesterday was appalling!

The #Occupiers had been there overnight, camping out in a few sleeping bags and tents that, as I understand it, the UC Chancellor finally conceded late last night could remain.  All but one of the tents, which still remained pitched as I was leaving, was in the process of being stored away as I arrived.

Along with the #Occupiers and the media were six or seven UC Police standing off to the side of the steps. They didn't seem overly concerned; neither did they seem relaxed. I thought of going up to them and saying something like "You know, you guys are famous now!" but discretion became the better part of valor... I was a bit surprised to see that they didn't have any donuts.

But then an interesting thing happened. Four groups of about twenty students each and four very youngish-looking professor-types came and sat on the steps or in the plaza to hold their classes.  At least two of the groups were discussing the #Occupation, budget cuts, Proposition 13 and social justice issues.

The professor who's group I listened to for a bit was discussing various philosophies of how education should be paid for.  While discussing the "privatization" philosophy of the right, he asked of his students the semi-rhetorical question

Should Paying for Education Be Like Buying A Cupcake?

Then and there I decided that was going to be the title of this diary.  So here's to you, unknown Berkeley Professor type person.  First, for coming out and tacitly supporting the movement by holding your class or discussion group right next to the #Occupiers.  And second, for the cupcake analogy.  I think your students got the point.

As I left, the Plaza was heating up, both literally, thanks to solar power, and figuratively.  I expect there will be a decent-sized #Occupy group there by noon, and someone mentioned something about an event at 6:00 PM.

I may go and take another look. Stay tuned.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 10:21 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, California politics, SFKossacks, and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  "professor who's" = Doctor Who (sic) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, palantir

    "Should Paying for Education Be Like Buying A Cupcake?"
    not a yes or no question nor perhaps the best metaphor for the 99%/1%, but there is at least one university affiliated with a religion whose tithes come from cupcakes and paying for education is never like buying a cupcake. It is rather like buying a toaster oven or microwave.

    Ms. Lovely’s overview of cupcake economics provides a fine illustration of three main points in the economics of competition, which I taught my students a few weeks ago:
    If you want to stay in business in a competitive market, you’ve got to keep a close eye on costs. You absolutely have to cover your costs to stay in business. (And eventually one of those costs should be a real salary for you, the entrepreneur.)
    Rivals will eat into your profits. If cupcakes are a good idea, other bakers will follow.
    To have any chance of making profits in the long run, you’ve got to differentiate yourself. Build a brand and maybe, just maybe, customers will keep coming despite all your rivals.
    The profit margins on popcorn are enormous ... but in terms of sales per customer, are cinemas likely to sell more at off-peak rather than peak-times? Tyler Cowen cites research from two economists Hartman and Gil about concession sales for low and high movie attendances which suggests that hard-core movie goes - the people who go to movies to watch unpopular films as well as the blockbusters - are those who consume a lot more popcorn. Casual customers have a lower per capita demand.
    I find that a bit hard to swallow. I take my tutorial groups out the cinema pretty regularly .... and it is interesting to observe the behaviour of a group of talented students most of whom are economists. For the first few visits, they are happy just to queue up at the concession stall inside the cinema, pile up the pop corn and cokes before heading into Screen 6. Nowadays, we stop at the local supermarket along the way and fill up with much cheaper food and drink (some of it sneaked into the movie theatre). But that doesn’t extend to the pop corn! No matter what they have bought en route during their stop at the supermarket, their default position is to buy huge tubs of pop corn, almost totally insensitive to the price, at 3pm, 6pm or 9pm.
    Maybe it is because they know that their parents will ultimately foot the bill!

    I am off my metas! Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03)

    by annieli on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 10:40:10 AM PST

  •  You can audit those classes, by the way. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    H'mm. I'm not terribly into this, anymore.

    by Knarfc on Thu Nov 10, 2011 at 12:02:37 PM PST

  •  Please do take another look (0+ / 0-)

    I look for you and for catilinus a couple of times a day just in case I can get a local update!

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