Reform or Revolution

I keep reading more and more bad news about the proprietary education sector– where I work– and feeling worse and worse about what I do every day or, at least, my working conditions. So far my school has not been singled out, but much of the problems that arise come from the commercial pressures of our current capitalist (“greed is good”) epoch. Real estate, banks, education, medicine: the market’s made a mess of it all.

So I don’t think that any of the for profits are going to escape untouched. This week, it’s a piece describing the unscrupulous use of incentives to drive admissions. Ironically, this has the public universities a little worried too, because it could put limits on their athletic programs (“Government Scrutinizes Incentive Payments for College Recruiters“). I have to remind myself, once again, that the public sector is equally in need of reform.

That’s one of the points made by David Hiscoe (“An Academic Rip Van Winkle“), who recently returned to academia after 20 years of working for a corporation. The common thread is short term thinking. The interesting question is whether or not the culture wars will continue to stymie the democratic impulse to creating a more humane economy. How do you create a capitalist who thinks beyond the next quarter? That’s a reform bordering on revolution.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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