The Problem with Universities

Extract from personal correspondence with PDM.


The inflection of Univ education to techno-bureaucracy is built on top of an institution which is and has always been elitist in its structure and ethos. What has gone wrong, IMHO, is not that there is a coterie of right-minded administrators and their lackeys now running the show, rather that this the meritocratic and elitist nature of the thing has been twisted and captured by a group alien in spirit and mind to the foundations of the academy itself.

 Education (and, yes, science), is anti-democratic and it is the “democratization” (commodification, adulteration etc etc) of it which is reducing the noble calling of this grand feudal institution to mush.

 The vast expansion of public higher education after WW2 may be looked at part of the brief period of social democracy which followed upon the depredations of the war. It was also clearly a desire of the electorate to provide the benefits of education to their children (even in my little lower middle class and working class East End of Houston). But they were sold a bill  of goods. Whatever learning acquired had to be recaptured in the interests of the technocratic and … the neo-liberals. The cost of such being passed over onto the students and their parents themselves, as the State withdrew its support. The banks, which are printing money (what else is debt to a bank?) on the backs of all this, jumped in to capture this “market”.

 The University needs more, not less elitism, and should cost a hell of a lot less than it does. Which should mean less for professors as well as far fewer administrators.

On this point I recently twat: As usual, whistling in the wind.

 I don’t know what I’d do if I were young again but I was always dubious about the expressed goals of universities and ended up there only by chance, I can see in retrospect. Not that I don’t consider myself as part of the natural ruling intellectual elite. Just that I think I belonged to it through my own efforts and starting at an early age, when, for ex, I used to read encyclopedias. For fun.