If you wonder what is a good use of money, investors do have a straightforward answer/question: which of the available options has the greatest expected return on investment?

return on investment
Moses Pava, an ethicist and a dean of the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University, at the Aspen Ideas Festival, said: "Return on investment has become a very, very powerful tool for decision making, not only in business, but in our culture as a whole."

He sees this kind of thinking dominating the world of education, both on the part of students in choosing schools and majors, and on the part of school in how they market themselves to potential enrollees.

He says that, a lot of liberal arts schools are trying to make that same case for their value as undergraduate business schools, saying they too provide a high return on investment.

"But the bad news for the liberal arts people, is that once they’ve entered that conversation with [business schools] and started comparing themselves to us, they’ve lost the game, because they’re using our metaphor and they’re using our way of framing the question and they’ve kind of lost their soul", Pava argued.

The fundamental problem is that it reduces the value of an experience to some sort of quantifiable, short-term outcome.

Pava added: “The reality is, that the most important thing I ever learned—I went to Brandeis—I remember vividly sitting on the grass studying Martin Buber’s I and Thou. I had no idea what I was reading! But the seed was planted, and I’ve gone back to it every five years, and it’s become one of the ways that I look at the world.”


Petros Stathis