ONCE UPON A TIME, a university decided to apply the principles of capitalism to the otherwise socialist, hippy-dippy environment of academia. Students would earn SCHOOLBUCKS for getting good grades on assignments. These Schoolbucks could eventually be reimbursed for tuition reductions, textbooks, or other perks.
At first, the system seemed to work well. Everyone wanted to make Schoolbucks, as tuition was very expensive and got more expensive as time went on and more classes had to be taken. This was very motivating, and got rid of the lazy people very quickly! That is the purpose of education, after all - to weed out people who don't do well and support those who play the game!
Soon, a pattern became clear. Once a student had accumulated enough Schoolbucks, they could do the following:
1) Get into a profit-maximizing class. Specifically, a class that contained a lot of painstaking but intellectually unchallenging work, with an expensive textbook requirement. If personal connections allowed a richer student to get into the class ahead of others, so much the better.
2) Get a textbook cheaply. Find someone who had already taken that class and was doing badly, then buy their textbook for a fraction of its original price.
3) Get some cheap labor. Round up a bunch of students who were desperate for Schoolbucks to pay their tuition, and could not afford to buy new textbooks or enroll in any more classes as it stood. Then, offer them the following deal:
"I'll give you all of the most boring, repetitive work for this class; I'm sure you can handle that. If you do it, I'll pay you 10% of the Schoolbucks I'm being given for these assignments. If you don't, I'll find someone who's more desperate. Remember, I can replace you, and you have no other way of getting into this class, because your previous bad decisions put it out of your reach."
(At first, the low-Schoolbucks students were offended, but it became clear that their only chance of working their way up until they could afford to enroll for their own sake was to do the tedious work. Some suggested organizing to negotiate for a better deal, but such socialistic ideas were met with fast reprisals. In the end, it was always possible to find someone to do the work.
Some argued that efficiently doing such a huge volume of "busywork" actually demanded some resourcefulness from the peons, but it was generally accepted that they were stupid and lazy. If they were so clever and industrious, why weren't they rich?)
4) Repeat. Build a labor force for multiple classes, earning a large amount of Schoolbucks by making careful decisions about whom to hire to do the work. Using the surplus of free time this generates, do even better work in more advanced classes while the peons are left working long hours doing exhausting, unrewarding assignments.
Naturally, people who started in a bad position ended up doing menial work, and were blamed for their obvious lack of ambition and know-how. Meanwhile, those who rose to the top were praised for giving their lessers so many opportunities to get Schoolbucks.
It's unclear who, if anyone, learned anything in this arrangement. But, as people grew to realize, learning was kind of a distraction, a red herring. It certainly didn't generate much in the way of Schoolbucks.
The moral of the story is: Money is a powerful motivator.
Edit: Edited to make the moral less heavy-handed and more sardonic.