This is a photo of the renovation construction at California Memorial Stadium, the football arena associated with UC Berkeley. The cost for this controversial project is upwards of three hundred million dollars. Besides seismic retrofitting, the construction will add gym facilities for the near-professional athletes, a media viewing area, and—most importantly—spacious decks with all kinds of amenities for rich sponsors.
There is something very wrong with this picture. Financing is being cut for elementary education in California. The regents have no choice but to raise the tuition for University of California students so that many of them can no longer afford it.
These same regents can afford a fancy stadium, manifested right now as this expensive hole in the ground.
It is unclear to me that near-professional athletics belong at any university, but if even if it has its place this expenditure represents misplaced priorities for a public educational insitution. I know football fans won’t appreciate what I am saying, but we live in a society that somehow has swapped what should be the education budget with the defence budget. It is time to remember that our greatest asset as a society is our people. We should be investing in people and their educations, not in luxury grandstands or expensive military hardware.
The great economist John Maynard Keynes once commented regarding the gold standard that we might as well bury cash money, then pay people to dig it up. In the spirit of Lord Keynes, I suppose that the Memorial Stadium money pit does have some beneficial impact on the economy—but wouldn’t the University of California do better by fixing anything dangerous (I can see the justification for earthquake retrofitting), then spending the rest of the money on education?
What do you think about this? Am I right? Am I wrong? If so, add a comment and tell me why.