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22 June 2012


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Paul Deavereaux

The Corporate State only needs worker-drones, not people capable of critical thought. Work 'em until they drop dead then bring in the next freight-car load.

Hank Foresman

Pat, it is also happening at our alma mater; I had written a long post which got lost, will do so later.


Hank Foresman

Yes. I wrote of U.Va. but you know where my real concern is. pl

The Moar You Know

"Are American universities destined to become enablers of wealthy barbarians?"

Why yes.

The next move is going to be forcing cash-strapped states to sell off their university systems to the private sector. Pretty sure realization of this goal is the reason that Mitch Daniels has landed his new job as president of Purdue.

More than a passing knowledge of literature, history, and philosophy is a requirement for those who would consider themselves freemen. One would hope our citizenry would understand this and vote accordingly.

I am not hopeful this will be the case.


"Corporatization" is often spoken of and rationalized under the rubric of "privatization".
Today in the NYTimes Paul Krugman uses the corporate take over of prisons in NJ as an example to argue that there is a broad "pattern in which essential functions of government are being both privatized and degraded."
His headline is "Prisons, Privatization, Patronage" and the link is http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/opinion/krugman-prisons-privatization-patronage.html?ref=global-home

The beaver


Have experienced that in the Telecomm Industry - to move ahead one needs to have an MBA even though one does not know why V=IR or why a faulty piece of H/W may take more than 24 hours to resolve because the MBA dude sees only $$$$$ and knows how to cut corners and then we asked ourselves why the Chinese companies are taking over from US OEMs?

Now the new kids graduating from Humanities who do not know why there was a WWI and WWII.

I believe that we are getting back to the "have" and "have not" The minority of the "have" want us to return back to the 19th and 20th centuries . Only a few of the "new elites" will be allowed to be decision makers and govern.


Hi Pat,
TJ would not be pleased. I don't think my daughter, who graduated from there, would be either. Having lived in Germany for 10 years I encountered many graduates of German vocational schools. It is a system worthy of emulation here but not at the cost of liberal arts institutions and the humanities generally.


Ever have one of those nightmares where the train is bearing down on you? You try to run, but somehow your legs just don't work. Between the rails instead of ties there is quicksand.

The creeping "businessization" of our higher education brings thoughts of these nightmares.

"For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?"

I always thought a good liberal arts degree was the foundation for anything and everything. Skipping a real education and going straight for the gold may be tactically effective, but in the end, we have only ashes in the mouth.

Please, Hank P, find what you lost.

Babak Makkinejad

You are not looking at it the right way.

Only a small number of human beings - regardless of sex, race, national origin, religion, etc. - can benefit from an intellectual education(the Liberal Arts).

My guess is about 4% (at the most).

The vast majority of other students are sucked (suckered) into Liberal Arts, kept in a penn for 4 years, and issued a Diploma that can be turned into a meal-ticket.

It is a dis-service to such students, their families, and their communities indeed to spend these vast sums of money without adequate return on investment.

In my opinion, the majority of students could benefit from a 2-year or a 3-year course of study in a technical or professional field or a trade.

The businessmen are not completely wrong, they are just not expressing themselves correctly.

As for intellectual education; the 4 years of high-school is supposed to be delivering that. If they are not, then there is a problem in high-schools.


I'm not surprised, but very saddened, at this tendency. I fondly remember even in my senior year at VMI a class on Plato which has had influence on my thinking over the years and add Confucius and other historical Chinese figures in my graduate studies. Shoving students into a mold of producing business related thinking will clearly help in the dumbing down of a once great country that is already scratching the bottom economically and in international affairs. I'm sad to see the negative trends my grand-daughter will be forced to live with.



I agree with you.

21st Century Life has come down to if you have a job. If not, too bad. “Greed is good. Government is evil.” We, the people, have no protection from wealthy thieves. The Oligarchs sell their drones and missiles and we get kill lists.

The Dark Ages have returned.



I'd say a lot of it has to do with the minority studies programs that only exist to create more minority studies professors.

505th PIR

Yes indeed. Without perspective conversation is narrowed and confined. Insert some strategic images and national myths to support the narrative. Some helpful distractions such as pop-culture and the sports industry...far more comprehensive than the Roman "violence as entertainment" in the forum/coliseum; opiates for the the great unwashed as they go cradle to grave seeking the national dream.

Universities are subject to the same forces as everything else...they are regretfully, not islands of perspective removed from the river of barbarism. There is some hope however, as universities are very much empty shells without the people within them. The ones that "get it" will shine like beacons amongst the cogs.


Only a small number of human beings can benefit from intellectual education? How did you arrive at that conclusion?


This is the ALEC approach to education. There's a big pool of money, the Board members have political power, and they are going to get their share (of the total education spending). Results? They get their share, what else matters? Certainly not the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia:

ALEC story on education http://mediamatters.org/blog/201206190013


The hedge fund manager seems to be cutting costs already. Just think, now they can hire an adjunct with a low salary and benefits package - surely the same quality output results!

The internet will solve the 'cost' problem (professors actually want to get paid, shocking!). Of course Goldman Sachs has a 'for profit' education arm. Surely Goldman Sachs knows how to teach.

A similar thing happened at the University of Florida, where the Governor succeeded in eliminating the computer science department.At least the greed was transparent as there is going to be a new 'school' focused on computer science run by one or more of his campaign donors. The fact that Governor Scott cut the best university in the state's budget by 30%, no problem - the football program gets funded by a different!

It reminds one of Ancient Rome, where the only people that mattered were the mega rich one's who picked the Consuls, and then the emporers, - until the Praetorian Guard starting picking emperors. (I know, condensed and inaccurate ancient history).

Babak Makkinejad

empirical observations and confirmation from others.

Be advised that intellect is not a social good and neither is intellectual education.

That education is for people for whom ideas are alive.

Douglass Schumacher

Partly my fault. I was one of Babak's students at the University of Michigan. I once wrote "Hz" when the units should have been "rad/s". He never recovered.


if you google-search
us news highly skilled barbarians
you will find a Col. Ulin who agrees with you. The original US News article by Steven Muller from 1980 was a classic.

This is happening at UVA relatively late, it sounds. It happened elsewhere already. One problem with STEM funding is that it gets plowed into STEM departments with too many professors that don't really care about teaching anyway. So you wind up with more and more utterly careerist professors and still mediocre STEM education. The universities need the heavy duty $$ / researchers for US News rankings.


In this society, money talks

What are the closest historical analogs to the "businessization" of society where the monied interests rather than "one man, one vote" dominates?

scott s.

"...the moneys so invested shall constitute a perpetual fund, the capital of which shall remain forever undiminished, (except so far as may be provided in section fifth of this act,) and the interest of which shall be inviolably appropriated, by each State which may take and claim the benefit of this act, to the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts..."

Morrill Act of 1862

My school, UW-Madison being designated as Wisconsin's land grant college (as is I guess Va Tech) is subject to this requirement.

As a contrast, there is also something that has been termed the "Wisconsin Idea" generally credited to progressive Robert La Follette who looked on the University as his personal fiefdom to advance progressive causes, in particular through legislation.

Buzz Meeks

These business types remaking/ marginalizing higher educational liberal arts/humanities programs will screw themselves in the end because their approach to vocational training programs. Loss of critical thinking, creative problem solving, making artistic and aesthetic decisions and perhaps most importantly as we have all seen and are paying dearly for, ethics and morality will leave these new wonder grads at a huge loss when an unexpected problem bites them and their scum overseers in the ass.

I was a long time part time faculty in Fine Arts who was forced out of a state college last year after 19 1/2 years.
Don't even ask about the problem of tenure as a glorified welfare check to washed up nest liners. I dearly miss teaching but not the environment.


The process aptly described by the Colonel is further advanced in Texas - as always in the vanguard of reaction. The main difference is a weak president, a supine faculty,passive student body, and a general attitude of conformism and deference to the powers that be. (The well cultivated image of the Texan as quintessential rugged individualist is about 145 degreees off). Interestingly, the University of Texas this year was saved from evisceration only by the initiative of alumni whose devotion to the Longhorns admirably went beyond rooting for the football team. A fortunate, unforeseen stroke of luck


To be honest, I agree almost entirely with Babak.

A sizable fraction of college students today are barely literate, sometimes literally. Many are lured into colleges with the silly propaganda that college grads supposedly make a lot more money than non-college grads, not because of any serious interest in academic exercise. And we in universities engage in this propaganda because we need bodies to fill universities, in part because we need bodies for money--either in form of tuition or through grants and (increasingly) loans that each student gets to pay for their (alleged) education, now that state funding just for education's sake has largely dried up. Because too many students are neither capable of or willing to engage in rigorous intellectual exercise, trade-school-ization of universities necessarily follows. The whole thing stinks of de facto fraud perpetrated on the students, to be honest.

I don't know if the percentage of the population who could benefit from an intellectual exercise is as small as Babak's suggestion. I'd figure maybe 5-10%, with another 10% who could gain from part-time forays, even if not as full time students. But, for vast majority of students, "mechanical arts," rather than "liberal arts" is probably more suitable--it is what they really want, after all, and possibly, what they "need" as well.

Babak Makkinejad


Salaries & Degrees

(Liberal Arts is not paying too well, is it?)


rjj du Nord

A larger number could benefit if it were delayed until they were out of puberty - say age 30?

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