Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | April 11, 2018

Education is a zero sum game, and it is rigged

In a market economy, education is a zero sum game. And it is rigged.

If banks and insurance companies were interested in having numerate customers, we would witness the golden age of school mathematics – fully funded, enjoying cross-party political support, promoted and popularised by the best advertising companies in all forms of mass and social media. But they are not; banks and insurance companies need numerate workforce – and even more so they need innumerate customers. 25 years ago in the West, the benchmark of arithmetic competence at the consumer level was the ability to balance a chequebook. Nowadays, bank customers can instantly get full information about the state of their accounts from an app on a mobile phone – together with timely and tailored to individual circumstances advice on the range of available financial products.



  1. Are you sure to distinguish between a horse and cart? The average customer tends to trust and not to double check. The problem is not about mathematical skills, but rather about knowing all small print in the rules of the game.

    Just to add personal taste: I have a pension consultant who comes to me once a while, and I am technically unable to decide myself, which is the best portfolio to opt for. There are so many regulations, exceptions and extras, that I have either to get involved in the business full time (before retirement, but still enjoying the tenure benefits), or I have to trust the agent.

    No single number could be an answer for the problems people face.

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