The Clot at the Top

Doug Henwood, the economist behind the Left Business Observer, has long claimed that one of the most intractable problems in U.S. culture and economics is our loss of an upper class with some sort of long term point of view beyond next quarter profits. Capitalism, Henwood suggests, has forgotten that domestic economic inequity is self-destructive.

Any reasonable oligarch would be unconcerned by the end of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy; they don’t threaten long term profits. Any reasonable oligarch would want to shrink the gap between rich and poor, and wages to rise; if workers are poor economic growth is impossible. Any reasonable oligarch would favor the huge money saved through a single payer health care plan.

I am not sure the rich were ever really helpful but they did allow most of the New Deal to get through and Medicaire and so on. Reading this piece from a California professor, I feel the same way about university administrators. As a class they once saw their interests and the interests of the professors and students as aligned in some fundamental sense.

Now, as the writer points out, they’ve swallowed so much of the business and market Kool Aid, it seems almost impossible to imagine how they might change, short of being forced by a well organized faculty. That would provide the necessary counter-weight, but I am not sure that it would solve the more fundamental cultural problems. What is good administration?

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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