Education – a faux crisis, an erroneous ‘solution’ and capital wins again

One of the ways in which the neoliberal era has entrenched itself and, in this case, will perpetuate its negative legacy for years to come is to infiltrate the educational system. This has occurred in various ways over the decades as the corporate sector has sought to have more influence over what is taught and researched in universities. The benefits of this influence to capital are obvious. They create a stream of compliant recruits who have learned to jump through hoops to get delayed rewards. In the period after full employment was abandoned firms also realised they no longer had to offer training to their staff in the same way they did when vacancies outstripped available workers. As a result they have increasingly sought to impose their ‘job specific’ training requirements onto universities, who under pressure from government funding constraints have, erroneously, seen this as a way to stay afloat. So traditional liberal arts programs have come under attack – they don’t have a ‘product’ to sell – as the market paradigm has become increasingly entrenched. There has also been an attack on ‘basic’ research as the corporate sector demands universities innovate more. That is code for doing the privatising public research to advance profit. But capital still can see more rewards coming if they can further dictate curriculum and research agendas. So how to proceed. Invent a crisis. If you can claim that universities will become irrelevant in the next decade unless they do what capital desires of them then the policy debate becomes further skewed away from where it should be. That ‘crisis invention’ happened this week in Australia.

This is a case of a vested interest starting with a series of false assumptions and a non-problem and then creating a series of ‘solutions’ to that problem which have no meaning if the actual situation is correctly understood and appraised.

It is just assumed that education has to be provided on a competitive basis in a market for profit. It is never questioned whether that is an applicable paradigm in which to operate.

Then it is just assumed that within that ‘market’ some ‘firms’ (universities) will go out of ‘business’. Why? Because it is just assumed that governments will not be able to fund them any longer because it has limited ‘money’.

See the trend. One myth creates a construction that leads to further deductions that are equally false and so it goes.

That is public policy formation neoliberal style.

The so-called ‘professional services’ firm Ernst and Young, which began life as an accounting firm and morphed into something much more comprehensive and neoliberal.

Its recent history is littered with a plethora of scandals involving accounting and audit fraud, including being associated with the collapse of the Akai Holdings (2009), Sons of Gwalia (2009), Moulin Global Eyecare (2010), Lehman Brothers in 2010, along with many other incidents, where EY (as it is now known) were forced into paying settlements.

It was eviscerated by the US government for its part in “criminal tax avoidance” schemes in 2013 (Source).

In 2010, it paid “$10 million to settle a New York lawsuit accusing the accounting firm of helping Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc deceive investors in the years leading up to its 2008 collapse” and facilitating a “massive accounting fraud” (Source).

This unsavoury firm has established a long list of ‘deals’ with various authorities to avoid criminal prosecution (Source).

The question is why its executives have not served time for their part in these scandals.

The 2017 book by Jesse Eisinger – The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives – is worth a read in that regard. He says that the outcomes of increased political lobbying, a decline in culture at the US Department of Justice and the networking of defense lawyers resulted in a “blunting and removal of prosecutorial tools in white-collar corporate investigations.”

He wrote that there was a ‘revolving door’ between government justice officials and the major law firms representing these banksters and financial fraudsters which meant that the Justice Department was skewed to producing outcomes that were “ultimately to the benefit of corporations”.

As the Slate review noted (July 18, 2017), “government lawyers have too often decided they’re satisfied shaking down companies for settlement money paid for by shareholders, instead of taking on the much harder task of bringing charges against individual executives”.

We are facing a similar situation to that outlined in his book in Australia at present with the Royal Commission on Banking. Whether the criminal behaviour being revealed almost on a daily basis as the hearings continue will result in jail time is yet to be seen.

In 2015, though, Australian authorities did lock up a former EY executive for 14 years for his part in “a tax fraud and money-laundering” racket (Source).

So there is hope.

So, overall, I would assess this firm has been an entrenched part of the neoliberal machine by providing services to all manner of questionable and criminal behaviour all around the World.

Anyway, as we have seen in history, these characters have no shame and re-emerge from scandal with new names (EY rather than Ernst and Young), new logos, flash new WWW sites and mountains of bluster and push.

In the last week (May 1, 2018), its Oceania office has released a Report – The university of the future – which outlines how insidious these types of outfits really are.

The main claims made by company in this report are:

1. “the dominant university model in Australia — a broad-based teaching and research institution, supported by a large asset base and a large, predominantly in-house back office — will prove unviable in all but a few cases over the next 10-15 years.”

Why?

Because universities will have to “merge parts of the education sector with other sectors … venture capital” etc.

Why?

Increased “Contestability of markets and funding” – “governments face tight budgetary environments” – mean that “Universities will need to compete for students and government fund as never before”.

The globalisation argument is wheeled out. Why not? It has worked as a smokescreen for some decades now.

So, “global mobility will grow for students, academics, and university brands. This will not only intensify competition, but also create opportunities for much deeper global partnerships and broader access to student and academic talent.”

And then the actual agenda is unveiled:

Universities will need to build significantly deeper relationships with industry in the decade ahead — to differentiate teaching and learning programs, support the funding and application of research, and reinforce the role of universities as drivers of innovation and growth.

Instrumentalism to the fore.

A spokesperson for the Report told the press (Source) that:

We should not underestimate the challenge – it’s not clear that all institutions will be able to make the leap. Universities are faculty-focused and prioritise the needs of teaching and research staff over students.

And was quoted as saying:

A lot of the content of degrees no longer matches the actual work that students will be doing.

The neoliberal era has attempted to define every aspect of society in terms of the stylised free market paradigm.

Imposing a mainstream economics textbook model of the market as the exemplar of how we should value things is deeply flawed.

Even within its own logic the model succumbs to “market failure”. The existence of external effects (to the transaction) means that the private market over-allocates resources when social costs exceed social benefits and under-allocates resources to this activity when social costs are less than social benefits.

But they persist in championing the concept and primacy of ‘consumer sovereignty’, which in textbooks is held out as being the force that delivers the optimal allocation of resources because competitive firms provide goods and services at the lowest cost to satisfy the desires of the consumers.

Even in these simplistic textbook stories the dominance of the ‘supply-side’ is ignored (advertising, collusion, etc).

If ever we needed a reminder of how the firms can monopolise information, break laws (consumer protections etc), we just have to think about the behaviour of the banksters in the lead up to the GFC and beyond.

While the demand-side sovereignty story is compromised by supply-side dominance, in the area of education, it is totally inapplicable, given the nature of the process.

Education cannot be reduced to being a ‘product’ that consumers choose. Education is a process of transferring knowledge that the ‘Master’ possesses to the ‘Apprentice’ who has no knowledge (in the area).

By definition, the Apprentice doesn’t know what they do not know and cannot be in a position to ‘choose’ optimal outcomes.

That has to be the prerogative of the ‘Master’, who has spent years amassing knowledge and craft.

In the case of education, how can the child know what is best? How can they meaningfully appraise what is a good quality education and what is a poor quality education?

The fact that the funding cuts have led to a stream of fly-by-night education providers in Australia who have left thousands of students stranded when they have gone broke is evidence of the failure of a market model.

The reality is that children do not demand programs. The universities are increasingly pressured by politicians (via funding) and corporations (via grants etc) to tailor the programs to the “market” agenda.

Higher education can only ever be a supply-determined activity and at that point the “market model” breaks down irretrievably.

Please read my blog – Defunct but still dominant and dangerous – where I discuss the Theory of Second Best, which undermines the legitimacy of applying the perfectly competitive textbook model is practical situations.

But notwithstanding all this, the neo-liberal era has imposed a very narrow conception of value in relation to our consideration of human activity and endeavour has been imposed.

We have been hectored and bullied into thinking that value equals private profit and that public life has to fit this conception.

In doing so we severely diminish the quality of life.

In the education sphere, the bean-counters have no way of knowing what these social costs or benefits are and so the decision-making systems become more crude – how much money will an academic program make relative to how much it costs in dollars?

In some cases, this is drilled down to how much money an individual academic makes relative to his/her cost? This is a crude application of the private market calculus.

It is a totally unsuitable way of thinking about education provision. It has little relevance to deeper meaning and the sort of qualities which bind us as humans – to ourselves, into families, into communities, and as nations.

It imposes a poverty on all of us by diminishing our concept of knowledge and forcing us to appraise everything as if it should be “profitable”.

So constructing educational activity in terms of “what students will be doing” is a fundamentally flawed way of thinking about it.

This is really what the agenda is.

The Ernst and Young spokesperson claimed that:

There will most likely be much more work-integrated learning in tertiary courses, which is not necessarily students doing work experience but firms co-developing the curriculum and actually getting students to work through complex real-life problems under the mentorship of academic and industry leaders.

So the firms want to set what students are exposed to.

Education becomes training and specific, profit-oriented training at that.

This is the anathema of a progressive future.

It is the exemplar of the complete infiltration of neoliberal values into our core social institutions.

The neoliberal era has created a conflict in the schooling and higher education sector between traditional liberal approaches and the so-called instrumentalist paradigm.

The assault on public education is one of the neoliberal battlefronts – along with labour and product market regulations, public ownership, trade rules, etc

This conflict has come from three sources.

I have previously written about this (including):

1. I feel good knowing there are libraries full of books (October 29, 2010).

2. Education – a vehicle for class division (November 23, 2010).

3. Technocrats move over, we need to read some books
(June 13, 2012).

4. Strong public benefit from tertiary education in Australia (September 29, 2014).

5. Parents are advance secret agents for the class society (June 25, 2015).

First, governments have become infested with the neoliberal myths and have imposed various cutbacks to school and higher education spending in the misguided attempt to ‘save’ money and cut fiscal deficits.

Second, this fiscal attack has been accompanied by an elevation in the view that education should be more market oriented and models of ‘consumer-driven’ structures have been imposed on educational institutions.

Schooling system administrators and a new breed of university managers took up the neo-liberal agenda with relish, not the least because their own pay sky-rocketed and the previous relativities within the academic hierarchy between the staff who taught and researched and those that took management roles lost all sense of proportion.

Instead of rebelling and making the funding cuts and the increased demand for STEM type activity (and a disregard for liberal arts/humanities curricula) a political issue – which in Australia at least would have seen the government back down – the higher education managers embraced the new agenda without fail.

Come in, the bean-counters! The over-paid managers then created a phalanx of managerial bean-counters who have become obsessed with KPIs and ‘busy work’ – harassing staff with ever expanding lists of requirements and measurements.

The bean-counters (for example, Finance divisions with Universities) are largely unproductive drains on institutional revenue and are increasingly drawn from the corporate sector with little experience in education.

This trend has then dovetailed with the third source of conflict between liberal and instrumentalist views on education.

Third, capitalists has always tried to embrace the educational system as a tool for their own own advancement but social democratic movements have, in varying ways, resisted the sheer instrumentalism that the business sector seeks.

The education system is continually pressured by the dominant elites to act as a breeder for ‘capitalist values’ and to reproduce the hierarchical and undemocratic social relationships that are required to keep the workers at bay and expand the interests of capital.

So there is an overlap between the way education is organised and the way the workplace is organised.

Capital also sees education as being primarily involved in the development of job-specific skills (vocational, instrumental) rather than serving any broader goals.

The neo-liberal era has seen this type of corporate instrumentalism within education advanced to new heights.

The revolving door between profit-seeking corporations and senior management positions within the educational sector is testimony of how corporate values are being elevated above traditional educational aspirations.

You only have to considered Ernst and Young’s “Framework for Assessing and Designing a University Future Model”, which they summarise in this graphic:

Consider the language: “Customers” (not students), “Products” (not knowledge creation), “Role within Value Chain” (not pure knowledge), “Brand and market position”, etc.

I don’t consider this graphic to be remotely relevant to the educational process where knowledge is imparted in a heterodox environment and critical reasoning capacities are developed.

The idea that education is a product sold in a market is as far from a progressive ideal as you can get..

From an MMT perspective, there are no financial limits on the support governments can provide public education.

There is also no sense to the notion that public education should “make profits” in a competitive market.

The only way that these sorts of debates will progress, however, is to take them out of the fiscal policy realm where they are largely inapplicable and start talking about rights and higher human values and what different interpretations of these rights and value concepts have for real resources allocations and redistribution.

Conclusion

Apart from their scandalous history, Ernst and Young are, in my view disqualified from being taking seriously as a result of their inputs to the public macroeconomics debate.

In their Feeding the animal spirits
Budget 2018
– report, the spokesperson claims that:

There are good reasons to worry about persistent budget deficits and the national finances do need to be fixed.

And that summarises how stupid and venal the company is.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2018 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    16 Responses to Education – a faux crisis, an erroneous ‘solution’ and capital wins again

    1. larry says:

      I agree with Bill completely here and know that what he describes is taking place everywhere albeit to differing degrees. When we are having to console ourselves by telling ourselves that where we are isn’t as bad as some other place, I despair. Should we consider diazepam as a cognitive/emotional numbing agent? Diazepam isn’t a solution, but good god!!!

    2. Mark Kinnear says:

      Great read ….
      Keep up the good fight Bill.

    3. Chris Herbert says:

      “The whole conduct of life was made into a sort of parody of an accountant’s nightmare. Instead of using their vastly increased material and technical resources to build a wonder city, the men of the nineteenth century built slums; and they thought it right and advisable to build slums because slums, on the test of private enterprise, “paid,” whereas the wonder city would, they thought, have been an act of foolish extravagance, which would, in the imbecile idiom of the financial fashion, have “mortgaged the future”–though how the construction to-day of great and glorious works can impoverish the future, no man can see until his mind is beset by false analogies from an irrelevant accountancy. Even to-day I spend my time–half vainly, but also, I must admit, half successfully–in trying to persuade my countrymen that the nation as a whole will assuredly be richer if unemployed men and machines are used to build much needed houses than if they are supported in idleness. For the minds of this generation are still so beclouded by bogus calculations that they distrust conclusions which should be obvious, out of a reliance on a system of financial accounting which casts doubt on whether such an operation will “pay.” We have to remain poor because it does not “pay” to be rich. We have to live in hovels, not because we cannot build palaces but because we cannot “afford” them.

      The same rule of self-destructive financial calculation governs every walk of life. We destroy the beauty of the countryside because the unappropriated splendors of nature have no economic value. We are capable of shutting off the sun and the stars because they do not pay a dividend. London is one of the richest cities in the history of civilization, but it cannot “afford” the highest standards of achievement of which its own living citizens are capable, because they do not “pay.”

      If I had the power to-day, I should most deliberately set out to endow our capital cities with all the appurtenances of art and civilization on the highest standards of which the citizens of each were individually capable, convinced that what I could create, I could afford–and believing that money thus spent not only would be better than any dole but would make unnecessary any dole. For with what we have spent on the dole in England since the war we could have made our cities the greatest works of man in the world.

      Or again, we have until recently conceived it a moral duty to ruin the tillers of the soil and destroy the age-long human traditions attendant on husbandry, if we could get a loaf of bread thereby a tenth of a penny cheaper. There was nothing which it was not our duty to sacrifice to this Moloch and Mammon in one; for we faithfully believed that the worship of these monsters would overcome the evil of poverty and lead the next generation safely and comfortably, on the back of compound interest, into economic peace.”

      https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/interwar/keynes.htm

    4. Willy says:

      And yet EY ‘executives’ have gotten air time on Bloomberg tv almost every other day, while people like yourself and Bill Black never are heard from. The depraved and craven msm of the US loves the dumb them down scheme, which they tell millions daily. I have a kid and have struggled with the degradation of education his whole childhood. Long ago I would have given in to despair but for beacons in the fog like yourself, Black and others. Thanks! I don’t know how you do it.

    5. Curt Kastens says:

      This was interesting. But I wonder what Bill would think of an educational system like that here in Germany. After Hauptschule (8 years) or Realschule (10 years) the students go on to learn a trade with a local firm, often but not always getting a job with that firm when they finish their training. I guess roughly 40% of the students, those with the best grades, get another 3 years of education to finish a Gymnasium. Then some students who have graduated from Gymnasium go for job training to a company and some to a college or university. I have not attended school in Germany let alone a college. But my perception is that the colleges and universities are not liberal arts colleges. They are training people for a profession. My perception is that it is the Gymnasiums that are deemed to place where one learns to think and get a classical education.
      I know that a lot of criticism has been leveled at the German system because those who usually end up in the Gymnasiums are the children of people who went to at least Gymnasium not the children of immigrants or working class people who went to work when they were 16.
      Here is my opinion of the system overall. It is pretty good. We have to be honest, all parents who have achieved a good LEVEL of education want the same for thier children. AND the children of parents who have achieved such high levels of education will have unavoidable advantages over those children whose parents have a lack of experience in these higher educational institutions.
      Theoretically everyone could get 17 years of free schooling, IF They could maintain a B average.
      Then compared to Anglo speaking countries, well at least the USA, it gets even better. If you get selected to study for even further education YOU WILL BE PAID. OK you will not be paid much but that is a hell of lot better than the USA, or I imagine Australia.
      So I strayed off course there a bit. I had mentioned that native born children of high levels of education parents will automatically have key advantages over the children of low levels of education
      and immigrant parents. Furthermore a country can not function is everyone wants to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer or college professor. Some people have to be the cashiers, janitors, farmers, plumbers, truck drivers, life guards, unexploded bomb disposal experts, and prison guards.
      Yet I can not imagine that the child of say an accountant and lawyer will be encouraged for the sake of class solidarity to seek work as dock worker. Therefore it seems to me that the results of the German educational system are almost inevitable.
      This is one reason that I support progressive taxation. That would not nullify the effects of the luck of who ones parents are but it would reduce the disparity. Sadly even achieving progressive taxation seems to be a very difficult challenge now. In addition here is an idea that I picked up from a Parecon website that seem like a reasonable recommendation to me, where it is possible, say in a large company, everyone should have to split their working time between two jobs. NO not evenly split their working time. The benefits of specialization of labor are to great for that. But an uneven split say 80% 20% would seem reasonable. For the white collar workers to work along side the blue collar workers in the blue collar environment one day a week and likewise for the blue collar workers to be able to work one day a week in an office would seem to me to be a way of dulling the class divide. The name of this policy could be called, Cross dressing one day a week. Think about that carefully.

    6. J Christensen says:

      At what ratio of bean counters to educators does a university cease to be a university?

    7. Nigel Hargreaves says:

      The Bank of England last week launched an economics course free for schools to download which is catchily (?) called “econoME”.

      I have been able to obtain a copy and am evaluating it to see if it accurately describes the way the monetary system works in a fiat currency-issuing state such as the UK. I must say that at first sight it doesn’t look promising, but maybe I’m approaching it with deep suspicion?

    8. DZ says:

      I’m probably misconstruing this article, but it seems like you’re walking a thin line between fighting vested interests and encouraging an expansion of useless degrees. If education is completely detached from future employment, then education is an end in itself. However I don’t think you would agree that education is meant only as an end in itself, but instead as a means to productive future employment. If Universities are tailoring their programs to match the training they provide to the training required by employers, this certainly isn’t a bad thing in itself. It seems more like you have a problem with _specific_ companies or industries exerting undue influence over education. Even then, a solution to this type of problem is likely to be highly arbitrary and potentially harmful. I’m not really sure what to make of this whole argument.

    9. Brendanm says:

      Regarding controlling the language, is the term “capital” doing the job of describing the exploitative classes? Sounds a bit like a force of nature and a depersonalisation mechanism.

      Maybe masters has some unfortunate connotations as well.

    10. Brendanm says:

      Obviously DZ didn’t read the Keynes quote.

      Thanks so much for that Chris.

      Truly the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

    11. cs says:

      I remembering witnessing the gradual decline in student life and culture over the early 1990s and 2000s. In the early days there were still the vestiges of a progressive culture. But as soon as the high fees and loans kicked in, students developed a purely instrumental view of the education as a business investment. No more sitting in the coffee shop talking and debating or running the student newspaper. Quick in and out to lectures and then off to the part-time job. Semesterisation occurred. Course content and lecture time were cut while most money seemed to go into mirror glass building projects. Even the coffee shops were privatised and started selling lattes and foccaccia instead of instant and budget meals. The lattes and foccaccia didn’t replace the conversations that had once been the mainstay of the student cafes. Neoliberalism successfully eviscerated the progressive politics of students. I remember feeling like an anachronism through those years….. one of the few left who thought Marx was worth knowing about. Born too late. Now leftist activist friends tell me they wonder if signing up students to the electoral roll is really worth it because they are instinctive conservatives.

    12. xenji says:

      @cs says:
      Friday, May 4, 2018 at 9:05

      Your experience is similar to my education. (2008-2012)
      Lectures were rushed, tutorials were run by underemployed PhD students and there was no way you could commit time to a subject because I had to work to support myself.

      By the end of my Arts degree I found myself exhausted, burnt out and felt like I had not accomplished a damn thing. It reinforced everything I’d been told ‘Arts degrees aren’t worth it’

      I ended up unemployed and forced to move cities in order to find work. I ended up driving a garbage truck and cleaning public toilets. Though I had this great sense of freedom. I wasn’t struggling. I was working part time, with set hours and a regular income. I spent my days off reading my readings from university and being able to analyse and critique them. Agreeing or disagreeing and answering why. I had time to go on and find other journal articles and actually read them! I no longer was ‘short’ of time. After extensive reading and travel, I had worked out what I wanted to do, only to find I could not financially afford to do so.

      There are many ‘progressive’ activists who see the class debate as ‘old’. They don’t bother to analyse what is achievable by first understanding I monetary sovereign government is not financially constrained. They seem trapped analysing every issue through a neoliberal framework of ‘profit’

      85 years on Keynes’ words still hold relevance.

      “For the minds of this generation are still so beclouded by bogus calculations that they distrust conclusions which should be obvious, out of a reliance on a system of financial accounting which casts doubt on whether such an operation will “pay.””

    13. Tom says:

      I went to a climate change talk today at my university. It was about whether we really need to know the movement of Atlantic ocean water to yield a model that can explain (maybe predict in the future) the climate. This AOS scientist say that we simply need the atmospheric data to explain what we see.

      “There has also been an attack on ‘basic’ research as the corporate sector demands universities innovate more. That is code for doing the privatizing public research to advance profit.”

      There was a poster stand with a 200k bounty for people who win an innovation contest. The poster says that they want to facilitate quick innovation from research to market. Isn’t science funding supposed to be on whatever a scientific proposal was submitted by a researcher to the government? Why on earth are the people who posted the poster asking for people to work on things that can make someone profits with grant money that is supposed to go into the researchers’ own research? Its sneaky and smells fishy.

      “the networking of defense lawyers resulted in a “blunting and removal of prosecutorial tools in white-collar corporate investigations.”

      I didn’t know this networking was a thing. I am still reluctant to do it because I don’t like to gang up or beg. My parents have been out of work for decades, so they didn’t know about networking. My mother got some good jobs because she has like 30 yrs experience in her field. In the US, you are told to network network network, know people so they can have doors open for you in your career. Fine, but we see the problem above, which is people are can’t do any reform because they are all part of a club. You can’t prosecute a former friend or future employer who is going to give you big bucks and boost to your career!

      The common complaint that when phD’s can’t find jobs in the market is because their skills are useless in the jobs market. Then, you get this nasty attitude towards academics who have done hard work on research. All those hours put in, you get yourself called a pampered academic who hide in the university to do research with no knowledge of the real world. This is part of the reasons why I don’t like to get more education beyond my BS, you work hard only to get spat on because you are not making anyone some profit. To be fair, everyone gets spat on by the rentiers and their brainwashed minions.

      “It imposes a poverty on all of us by diminishing our concept of knowledge and forcing us to appraise everything as if it should be “profitable”.”

      Its sometimes very hard for me to not think like that because the brainwashing is so deep. I am in the STEM field. Its hard for me to not see education as mainly the development of employable skills. I feel bad quite often because its almost like everything is waste of time if I am not acquiring more skills or competing.

      There is so many things to this though in the backdrop other than education itself. We see that workers are not trained by employers, unpaid internships, massive unemployment. How can one claim that it is any one individual’s fault for not getting a job or earning a high wage when we have systemic market failure that ensures somebody WILL lose out. 15 percent NEET young people everywhere. phD’s right across my lab who can’t find so-called “real jobs.” Its sad that people live in shame even though they have worked hard.

      Finally, you have got to appreciate futility and silliness of telling people to get a job when there are more people looking for work than there are jobs. Now that I am writing about it, it’s just pure brainwash irrational thinking but even scientists (who are regular people too, to be fair) get brainwashed into thinking that you can tackle systemic failure with more hard work and more degrees.

      Still, there are plenty of people, even though they are victims of the dysfunctional system, continue to blame themselves or others as individuals for failure of selling oneself to private market that discards workers whenever it’s not profitable (I have seen brilliant scientists laid off by companies, just thrown out). When you think about it, its only going to get worse. You may be able to struggle and compete through it and be the winner, but your children won’t be as lucky. It’s a matter of time because its getting worse.

      This climate scientist remarked, on an unrelated issue than the one we are discussing here, that he is surprised at the level of unpreparedness human beings have towards the future. Its apt description for the employment system we have.

      Oh yeah, the same scientist also said the public are idiots and we are out of money. How can you solve problems with that kind of attitude and that kind of economics?

    14. J Christensen says:

      Tom: In Canada, our past Conservative government purged decades worth of archived basic research documentation generated by scientists at our National Research Centre, and then proceeded to make it policy to alter the mission of the NRC to providing support only to commercial interests.

    15. Tom says:

      This focus on profit is the doom of humanity.

    16. Ceelly says:

      There is a rapid loss of common knowledge for technical areas and processes. Common knowledge is essential because it allows work of individuals to be pulled together for a common goal. Pattern Languages concept that describes this in computing science. It is based on the concept that there is many ways to solve a problem however the best solution is most often found by using a solution ( a pattern ) that best solved the problem in the past. There are vast online libraries of patterns available for IT professionals. Common knowledge are patterns of how problems where solved in the past and how to pull individuals work together for a common goal. These patterns for other areas are simply not being preserve by businesses or government.

      Modern business practices where goals where set by content free managers and workers simply used their logic to meet these goals only is working because a large percentage of the working population were baby boomers who have this common knowledge. It is simply not going to work when they are gone. University can’t teach how to pull individuals work together for a specific technical area that is the job of managers and it requires alot of experience. Accounts don’t get that.

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