Worthy of Merit

In economics lessons, we often discuss the role of merit goods within the economy; i.e. those goods and services which are inherently good for us but which would be under provided and hence under consumed if left to the free market.  Consequently, in a paternalistic role, the government or the state steps in and provides services such as healthcare and education free at the point of access.


Merit goods benefit not only those consuming the good or service but also third parties who were not involved in the initial production or consumption decision.  For example, if I were treated for a highly contagious disease, this would benefit not only me but also third parties with whom I may come into contact.  Economists refer to these third party benefits as positive externalities.  Similarly, during these unprecedented times, there are external benefits to staying at home as we not only protect ourselves, but also our family and friends, and the wider community.


No doubt many students have often longed for the government to instruct them not to go to school!  Quite ironic given both the private and external benefits which accrue from a highly educated society.  However, after three weeks of lockdown, and a fairly certain extension to the lockdown imminent, students recognise more than ever the benefits of schooling and their education.  They have come to know that we are built for action rather than lengthy periods of reflection.  With this in mind, it has been marvellous to observe first-hand how students have embraced the transition to online learning.  Data analytics on my YouTube channel tells me that students are actively seeking ways and means to enhance their talent stack.


Students are making the best possible use of their gained time.  Working from home, they recognise that their schoolwork gives them a meaning and a purpose, a routine and a structure, a sense of fulfilment, and a safe space for social interaction.  They remain engaged and gained time is being used to get ahead with planning and researching potential EPQ topics, investigating sixth form and undergraduate courses, and, in some instances, acquiring qualifications in accountancy courtesy of globalbridge’s partnership with Sage.


Ben Mason, Founder and CEO at globalbridge, has created an online platform which students can use to digitally record and evidence newly acquired skills and qualifications.  In future, whenever students are asked, ‘Tell me what you did during Covid-19’, logging into their gb profiles will bridge the gap between talent and opportunity; indeed, one might say, enable supply to meet demand!  There is a lot of merit in that.