Re: Education, business and work

Arthur L. Baron (abaron@STU.ATHABASCAU.CA)
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 11:01:00 MDT

> Jim Martin's comments here are truly valued:
> administrators worry that
> becoming dependent on industry money for research will have negative
> effects. Among the effects, at least ones I can recall are:
> 1. industry will dictate the problems researchers can pursue
> 2. industry will insist that results are proprietary property and that
> secrecy must be maintained (this affects all aspects of work, from what one
> is allowed by contract to discuss with colleagues to what one is allowed to
> publish)
> 3. industry is not interested in basic research but supports work that will
> contribute to short-term profits
> Wade Tarzia wrote about the astounding idea (it crops up all over) that
> colleges should design curriculums around what businesses say they need.
> Ron points out that colleges (many? most?) are poor and that b-schools are
> often in the cat-bird's seat.
> John McCreery sees in this an opportunity for reflexive anthropology. I
> concur. What do you say, anthropologists? Which one of you is going to
> write a best-seller about business and the academy?
> Regards,
> Jim Martin

Or how about a best-seller on the Anthropology of Wisdom. The socialization of
business and education happens early in a child's indoctrination. If the child
does not get it at home, "business" is only to happy to come into the schools
to promote the capitalist way of life, you only have to consider Junior
Achievement and 4H clubs. Junior High School teachers will set the stage for
students by listing the options available to them: 1 - inherit enough money to
survive on, 2 - win a lottery, 3 - work for some company, or 4 - start your own

This in my mind is a divide and conquer rationale, specifically because there
is no social critique, only dogma. In the absence of sustained social critique
education guided by the sometimes not so invisible hand of business
competition, and the advancing neo-conservative ideology, there is of no such
thing as society, only a collection of individuals and at most family units of
self-reliant patriarchies. This vision of current political reality ensures
harder times for the disposessed and less fortunate who have diminished access
to any kind of social support - they meet officious institute policy and loss
of self esteam bordering on self abuse; since there is no society there is no
collective responsibility.

Ron mentioned CNN's report of people living under the poverty line, I dare say
that child poverty groups would say that those numbers quoted by CNN would be
an underestimate of children living in poverty - I have heard statistics as
high as 40%. With all due respect to past threads, I don't think it is a
question of a level of consciousness, but more a question of a level of ethics
which does govern and guide our social behaviours. A question of wisdom, what
have we learned in the past 2.5 million years of social consciousness. I do
know that entitlements changed when the horticultualists started to stake out
claims of land and division of labour became an exploitable commodity.