This final chapter considers what lessons may be taken from this account of the marketisation of UK, and especially English, higher education since 1979.

First, it should be acknowledged, yet again, that even after the present Government’s reforms, higher education in England will still lack many of the features of a true economic market. Marginson (submitted for review) indeed argues that it never can, partly because of higher education’s intrinsic features (the fact that most knowledge is a pure public good and the prevalence of positional competition) and partly because of political constraints.