I have a friend in Minsk...
I hate to display any original thinking myself, but I suspect that very few people have ever actually had original thoughts, and that the students who are apparently afraid of 'thinking' in case they accidentally plagiarise someone else are highly unlikely to be the type of people who do come up with novel ideas anyway.
The truth is that widespread intellectual creativity and independence has never been seen as a good thing by our rulers. It's simply too dangerous to have millions of people constantly calling into question the ethical basis for the 'social contract', deciding that life is essentially meaningless, or concluding that democracy is really just a dictatorship working on the behalf of people who voted largely on the basis of who has the nicest smile or who gives them the biggest bank balance.
You see, a quick look back through history shows that the typical independently minded intellectual is arrogant, self-promoting and pretty certain that they are at least as clever and original as they actually are. There will always be strong social forces applied against thinking about new ideas, but there will always be creative individuals and groups having original thoughts because the creative people who change society are those who say 'I don't give a sh*t what you think, I know that I'm right and that you're an idiot.' A mild fear of accidental plagiarism isn't going to bother them. Anyway, originality is encouraged amongst the intellectual elite,; its just that most university students in the UK no longer fall into this bracket (esp those studying political science). Those students with some element of creativity usually either opt out of the rat-race altogether or end up in jobs where creativity means finding new ways of screwing over consumers.
If there is a dearth of useful creativity in society at the moment, then it is because we are mired in this awful post-modern, neoconservative, anti-realism rut where anyone (eg Richard Dawkins) who comes along with something important to say is mocked and ridiculed for his or her failure to understand just how socially harmful voicing well-argued unilateral thoughts is. "No, Richard, don't you realise it is wrong to criticise religious people for being deluded! If people choose to be deluded we should support them, not insist that adhering to reason may actually be a good thing!" Plagiarism isn’t the problem – it’s the ruthless tolerance for all ideas irrespective of their rational or empirical merit that has us tied up in mediocrity. Genuine creativity is drowned out by the chorus of idiots repeating their favourite dogmatic ideas about the value of religion or the importance of democratic freedom (tell that one to the Iraqi PM who just used our troops to bail himself out of a disastrous military campaign against his political rivals – you know the ones… the ‘militants’ who are going to receive more votes that the PM’s candidates in the forthcoming local ‘elections’).