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Economics 101 teaches that the price of a good or a service depends primarily on two factors: scarcity and demand. That is the nature of economics. If something is scarce and sought after it has a greater economic value than if it was plentiful and not wanted by anyone. That's why De Beers, for example, spends millions sifting through the debris at the mouth of the Orange River and retains just the diamonds it finds while discarding the rest. Quality tertiary education in South Africa right now is scarce and expensive. Despite the cost, demand outstrips supply as a university degree is deemed to be a passport to economic success. To prove the point, the University of the Witwatersrand this week claimed bragging rights on a survey that found its graduates to be South Africa's most employable.What if you provided tertiary education to more people at no cost to them? As enticing a prospect as it is for power-hungry politicians, its value would drop. It would lose its scarcity on the ba...

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