(03-31-2012 01:39 PM)joe4psu Wrote:
(03-31-2012 11:51 AM)JRsec Wrote: My point is this. Look at the list of leading contributors to the the Romney, Obama, Bush, Gore, and McCain campaigns and who do you find? You guessed it. Throw in Microsoft (NBC), Disney (ABC/ESPN), Time Warner and Fox and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that we are no longer "a government of the people, for the people, and by the people". We are instead a government subsidized of the corporation, for the corporation, and by the corporation. Our information comes from the corporation, and very soon, now that private business is dying and incentives for individual wealth development are drying up, our schools will become indoctrination centers for the corporate way. Sports revenue may be our final revenue stream to preserve academic freedom. Who would ever have dreamed that?
I think this is the second time I've seen you write something like this. It just makes no sense to me. While I agree with a lot of what you have to say, universities are about as far from havens of capitalism as you can get. Crony capitalism may be the danger you point out but is it really infesting universities?
I understand your point of view and do not take offense at your questioning of mine. I understand because what you say now is what I once said and believed.
When I received my undergraduate education original thought was prized. Our biggest fear was inadvertent plagerism. Back in those days you not only had to cite quotations, but the idea itself. We learned the classics, they were part of Western Civilization if not literature class. We studied philosophy and logic to gain tools for critical thinking. It was a challenge, but it was fun, and liberating. I suppose the most influencial teacher I ever had taught me Rhetorical Analysis. I never knew her political leanings, nor did the other students. We never knew them because in a free society you could think what you wanted as long as you could back it up, or explain it. So she taught us how to glean the substance of an article and relate it to our paradigm and to think through its impact upon our world. So citing an idea was crucial.
Twenty plus years later I enter a prestigious school for masters work. The first thing I decide to do is to attend a free writing tutorial to catch up on MLA and the modern way of citing sources, etc. There are over 100 students in this tutorial, all of them entering Masters programs in communications fields. They were from some of the finest Universities in the East, the North, and the South. It turns out the class was not for the finer points of publishing works and the current etiquette of style, but rather for grammar, sentence structure, etc. This was the coldest pail of water ever thrown in my face as to the state of education in this country.
We were asked to write a three paragraph introduction of ourselves and to state our goals. The next session began with four of us being singled out to see the instructor. I thought I had really blundered. She wanted us to help her with the other students and to proof their work. The four of us had only one thing in common, it wasn't race, it wasn't gender, and I doubt it was politics, it was age. The rest of the class had received their degrees from those prestigious universities after the mid 1980's. When I proofed, and then graded, over two dozen of their papers I found sentence fragments, comma splices, incomplete thoughts, no concept of paragraph formation, much of the stuff I still see on post sites (Not that laziness can't produce the same errant qualities in me, just ask Bitcruncher. I was embarrased by, but glad of, his remonstrance of the same.). But in the next three months I learned how far behind the American education system had fallen. Remember, these are top candidates from large prestigious schools representing a cross section of three regions in education who are now in a Masters program in communications. They are not just employees of corporations looking for an easy MBA at a branch college. I couldn't understand why or how it had happened.
In the three years that followed I learned another change had taken place since my last academic experience. No longer were you rewarded for stating your thought and supporting it. A's were handed out to those who parroted back the lectures of the professor. A's were handed out to those who never cited an unoriginal idea and essentially plagerized their whole answer, or paper. When I started using their buzz words with my nuance of meaning the graders, seldom the professors, never noticed that I was utilizing their words with my meaning. I graduated in the top three of my class at a school where I should have been midrange. Lesson in political correctness learned. No wonder we have fallen behind so many other countries in math, science, engineering, and innovation.
Five or six years later I'm in a friendly discussion with a CEO who is providing some terrific support for a local university's computer science studies. I asked him if he was able to procure some of the best students from that program for his very large and influential international banking corporation. He said, "We don't want the best students." I naturally asked, "Why not?" He replied that they proved to be too much of a liability explaining that the more intelligent students were the more successful thieves. I had an answer. Time, and time again I found similar ideas being expressed in different companies and for slightly different reasons, but all representing essentially the same vein of thought.
Corporations want access to intellectual property from the brightest minds. Grant money gives them that access. But, they want their workers only to be bright enough to be dependable followers. They look to the Ivy's and a handful of public and private institutions for bright idea people. They seldom keep them in their structure very long. They can threaten to climb the access ladder if they know too much. Those in power above do what all people in power do, they seek to hold onto it.
The old Chinese three part curse is very applicable. 1. May you live in interesting times. (Normal is never interesting.) 2. May every desire of your heart come true. (People seldom desire what is best for them.) and 3. May those in authority take notice of you. (It never ends well.)
The result has been an environment in which no idea but the idea of the CEO, or his think tank, can be allowed to be expressed. To do so is to undermine the company. All competition affects the bottom line. (In capitalism competition always illuminates our flaws and does so by taking our business away. In capitalism competition is a good and healthy thing.) We must buy out, and break down our competition (mergers and acquisitions). Eliminate our competition (hire their brain trust, influence their labor, create a price war, use undue political and economic influence, whatever it takes). In capitalism the free market is respected and the ends do not justify the means. But in the coporate world we must pace our innovations to maximize profit (which prima facia is not a terrible concept, but it also involves planned obsolesence which is unethical and suppression of patents that represent breakthroughs in development, the latter is accomplished through frivolous suits that exhaust the inventors resources). Finally if all else fails use your undue influence over the finances of politicians to achieve your ends. Too big to fail is not free market capitalism. It is its antithesis.
Joe, we are witnessing the destruction of capitalism and the free market and our enemies are not the socialists who permeated academia in the 40's and 50's. Those guys are "the phantom menace" bolstered in our thinking for 50 years to keep us from seeing the enemy within.
Eisenhower said the greatest threat to American democracy was the rise of the military industrial complex. The corporations comprising that industry are likely part of the threat, but not because of what they produce, but how they are structured. Corporations have the same rights essentially as citizens, although that is now beginning to be challenged in some courts. But, they don't have the obligation of citizens, not to country, not to taxes, not to law, not to treaties (although they use them to circumvent constitutional issues), and certianly not to each other or us. Rights without obligation is a form of tyranny.
We have a great country. We have the right to be liberal, or conservative, and to think anyway we choose, but we have the obligation to respect those same qualities in others, and to serve if necessary to protect the rights of those who disagree with us. We don't have the right to silence them, disenfranchise them, neglect them, or destroy them. We once called that crime.
When our universities take corporate money they open themselves to all of these abuses and recent and distant history has already shown that what can happen will happen.
The problem is insidious because while the coporations are not people, people comprise the corporations. The enemy is the structure, not our neighbor who works in that structure. When the structure is then appropriated by those who either feel no, nor desire any, obligations toward others it becomes a vehicle for the avoidance of moral law, if not civil law.
The solution is to enforce the obligations individuals have in our society upon the nature of corporations. Now that the genie is out of the bottle that will be difficult to do. I've never said, or will say, destroy the corporations we need some large companies with the means of handling international trade, we just need them working for us, as well as for themselves. With moral obligations in place for corporations the free market will return.
I hope you understand my views a bit better now, and understand why I hold them. JR