The free-market is commonly presented by its supporters as the best environment for introducing innovations. This paper challenges the universality of this contention by arguing that free-market dynamics cannot provide the appropriate conditions for significant educational changes. By adopting the perspective of systems research, I claim that the degeneracy characterizing free-markets lodad educational systems with extreme resilience to changes. Based on Barabasi's network theory, I argue further that introducing change is extremely difficult due to the need to invest extensive effort in identifying specific sources of power (i.e., hubs) and removing them. Thus, this paper suggests that despite the prevalent image of public institutions as highly conservative and stagnant, it might be interesting to investigate their potential as sources of innovations that are no less radical than the alternatives proposed by free-market ideologues.
- Educational innovation
- Free markets
- Second-order change
- Systems research in education