I have some posts in my lineup on tuition, but I'd prefer a diversion of sorts. (Sorry, it isn't a big diversion).
Rabbi Wein has published a most fantastic article titled No Free Lunch. The economics of human behavior is inescapable and for a long time I've been saying that you can't create a dependency class without experiencing the ill social consequences that come along with dependency. This is why, even if we had unlimited resources, I wouldn't fund my children's every desire, whether that desire be some gedolim card collection or the avoidance of making a living because I simply don't believe it is good for their development. Certainly our sages recognized the dangers of dependency, idleness, over consumption, entitlement, and reversing gender roles.
If I was an Orthodox economist living 30 + years ago when the community embarked upon some of the current practices that permeate the scenery today, I hope that I would have tried to sound the alarm because regardless of the economic climate, many of the practices that are commonplace, certainly aren't commonsense.
Rabbi Wein brings his own touch to the message that you can't have "a free lunch is always present and eatable without later consequences." He touches upon dependency, governmental arm twisting, fraud, dependency, kollel, (lack of) employment, begging, and dysfunction. . . basically all of the Orthonomic subjects we talk about here.
And this story is just so illustrative. Here is what happens when the only "trade" you teach your children is begging:
I am aware of a case where a man who traveled often to collect money solely on his own behalf, when he passed away, the asset that his sons fought about and actually contested in a rabbinic court was his list of donors. A generation brought up to believe that there is no
necessity for it to work in order to make a living for one’s family is doomed to a spiritual and social disaster - and eventual self-destruction. There is no free lunch for anyone in this world.
Heed these words and try to spread the wisdom. You can't escape the ills of dependency anymore than you can escape the laws of physics. Of course, there are those in the klal who think frum Jews can escape all of the above.
And, while I'm at it, I can't help but point out another article that relates directly to the subject at hand. The JPost has an article titled "Most haredim want secular higher education, survey finds." The study quoted basically shows that haredim are interested in higher education under certain conditions. Fine and well.
But the interesting part of the article to me is the disparity in desire between men and women: "63% of female respondents said they would, while only 41% of males were interested. "
Hassidim were more open to secular learning, with 59% answering in the affirmative, while only 42% of the Lithuanian respondents said yes.
Note the 22 point difference between men and women answering in the affirmative. I imagine I can't make any scientific declarations as the study did not concentrate on the disparity, but I can't help but think that the men have become far too comfortable with the gender role reversal and dependency. I believe it is a very natural, masculine quality to want to work and support a family. But it seems that normal inclinations have been broken and many men have been emasculated. I can't help but think about the commentary on what the slavery in Mitzrayim entailed. One commentary, as I recall, states that the slavery consisted on having the men do women's work and having the women do men's work.
Also note the difference between Hassidim (male and female inclusive) and so called Lithuanian respondents, a 17 point difference. Here too I believe we are seeing the effects of dependency.