Friday, July 10, 2015

Higher Education For Your Ass

I think I've mentioned before that I am of the opinion that modern western universities bear a certain portion of responsibility for the mess the world finds itself in.

Highly educated chemists work for Monsanto and are actively involved in developing products that are rapidly decimating the pollinators of the planet.

Highly educated geo scientists are busily seeing to the destruction of groundwater capacities throughout the world.

Highly educated MBA graduates oversaw the near destruction of the global economy in 2008 and many of them made millions of dollars speculating on just how extreme the damage would be.

No need to get into the armaments industry which I'm fairly certain isn't a high school diploma kind of activity. 

On and on I could go.

Universities have demonstrated that they don't concern themselves with whether or not what their graduates go on to do in life enhances the life of the planet or diminishes it.

As Humanities departments have been eliminated so too have operational ethics and morality in even the most august institutions.

And now U of T is demonstrating that medical science needn't enter into the conversation when it comes to teaching about vaccination.

And that nepotism is alive and well in academic circles. 


Boris said...

Oh, you've opened a can of worms there, Dana. There's a whole question about the point of a university that underpins your argument. For many kids entering an undergrad, a BA or BSc is a ticket to a job/career/income. Curiousity or some moral goal of doing good in the world aren't always at the front of the mind when picking courses and things, nor with politicians and administrators who try to targe funding based on labour market "projections" which invariably lead to STEM focus and away from arts or humanities. I also see a difference between physical scientists and the rest of us. The former somemtiems, but not always, tend to apolitical, and are mostly just interested in doing science because it's fascinating, which means they will accept money from Monsanto or wherever both for PhD and jobs afterward.

Others really do want to save the world and pay attention to the context in which they work.

Dana said...

It isn't necessary to feel driven to save the world to choose not destroy it.

The most highly educated generations the world has ever seen are overseeing the destruction of the biosphere.

That cannot be coincidental. It cannot be accidental.

I needn't prove causality. The co-relation is clear, consistent, multi-institutional, international and multi-generational.

Kim said...

I agree Dana, in BC a university education has become a commodity itself, sold to the highest bidder.

The Mound of Sound said...

I was lucky to have a visiting Irish prof from Trinity to teach me jurisprudence, the philosophical underpinnings of law. This fellow, Liam McCaughey, discussed how jurisprudence was being rendered irrelevant as law schools steadily were being transformed into trade schools.

When I came to British Columbia I was astonished at how many of my young colleagues were functionally ignorant of the law of equity - the great, ancient unwritten law which had evolved into a matrix of principles or "maxims" that were supposed to prevail in every instance over common law. It was as though law only existed if it was printed in some volume of statutes.

As I practiced I was amazed at how many judges simply recoiled instinctively when presented with arguments grounded in equity. Some would have nothing to do with it.

This was the body of law devised to provide justice and fairness when the strict interpretation of the common law would render an unconscionable result. As it has lapsed into obscurity it has been accompanied by a sharp decline in both justice and fairness.

e.a.f. said...

Universities became so pre occupied back in the 1980s with raising money, they appealed to corporations and corporations seeing an opporuntity to influence education and young people took the opportunity. Now we have this problem.

Corporate attitudes took over universities.