From Alchian’s and William Allen’s 1968 “What Price Zero Tuition?“
Since the fiasco in the Garden of Eden, mankind has suffered from scarcity: there cannot be enough goods and services to satisfy completely all the wants of all the people all the time.
Consequently, man has had to learn the hard way that in order to obtain more of this good he must forego some of that: most goods carry a price, and obtaining them involves the bearing of a cost.
Poets assure us that the best things in life are free. If so, education is a second-best good, for it decidedly is not free. But if education is not free, if a price must be paid, who is to pay it?
By developed instinct, the economist initially presumes it to be appropriate that payment of the price should be made by those who receive the good.
"Those who get should pay" is a strong rule of thumb; the economist will deviate from it only for profoundly compelling reasons.
via Quotation of the Day…. Cafe Hayek
Alchian and Allen wrote the best economics textbook ever.
Exchange and Production: Competition, Coordination and Control in 1977