|Contents||Bulletin||Scripting in shell and Perl||Network troubleshooting||History||Humor|
|News||Neoliberalism and rising inequality||Recommended Links||Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism||Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||The value of education|
|Groupthink||Obscurantism||Multiple Choice Test Taking Strategies||Cheating as a reaction to college application stress||Toxic managers and coworkers||Health Issues|
|Unemployment after graduation||Problems of CS Education||Science, Pseudoscience and Society||Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists as Fifth Column of Financial Oligarchy||Lysenkoism||Numbers racket and "Potemkin numbers"|
|SAT||Diploma Mills||Certification||Information Technology Wonderland||How to Solve It by George Polya|
|Education Quotes||Benjamin Franklin Quotes||Einstein Quotes||John Kenneth Galbraith Quotes||Social Problems of Education||Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia|
|Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite||The Iron Law of Oligarchy||Softpanorama Bookshelf||Classic Books||Softpanorama Bookshelf / Algorithms||Best Old TCP/IP Books|
|Best Red Hat Books for Preparation to Certification||Compiler Construction||Best C language textbooks||Softpanorama bookshelf / C++ books||Best Pascal Programming Books||Best Perl Books for System Administrators|
|Information overload||Mental Overload||Sleep Deprivation||Drinking from a firehose||Humor||Etc|
In the current circumstances education is no longer the answer to rising inequality. Instead of serving as a social lift it, at least in some cases, became more of a social trap. This is connected with neoliberal transformation of education. With the collapse of post-war public funded educational model and privatization of the University education students face a pretty cruel world. World in which they are cows to milk. Now universities became institutions very similar to McDonalds ( or, in less politically correct terms, Bordellos of Higher Learning). Like McDonalds they need to price their services so that to receive nice profit and they to make themselves more attractive to industry they intentionally feed students with overspecialized curriculum instead of concentrating on fundamentals and the developing the ability to understand the world. Which was a hallmark of university education of the past.
Since 1970th Neo-Liberal University model replaced public funded university model (Dewey model). It is now collapsing as there are not that many students, who are able (and now with lower job prospects and persistent tales of graduates working as bartenders) to pay inflated tuition fees. That means that higher education again by-and-large became privilege of the rich and upper middle class.
Lower student enrollment first hit minted during dot-com boom expensive private colleges, who hunt for people with government support (such a former members of Arm forces). It remains viable only in elite universities, which traditionally serve the top 1% and rich foreigners. As David Schultz wrote in his article (Logos, 2012):
Yet the Dewey model began to collapse in middle of the 1970s. Perhaps it was the retrenchment of the SUNY and CUNY systems in New York under Governor Hugh Carey in 1976 that began the end of the democratic university. What caused its retrenchment was the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.
The fiscal crisis of the 1970s was born of numerous problems. Inflationary pressures caused by Vietnam and the energy embargoes of the 1970s, and recessionary forces from relative declines in American economic productivity produced significant economic shocks, including to the public sector where many state and local governments edged toward bankruptcy.
Efforts to relieve declining corporate profits and productivity initiated efforts to restructure the economy, including cutting back on government services. The response, first in England under Margaret Thatcher and then in the United States under Ronald Reagan, was an effort to retrench the state by a package that included decreases in government expenditures for social welfare programs, cutbacks on business regulations, resistance to labor rights, and tax cuts. Collectively these proposals are referred to as Neo-liberalism and their aim was to restore profitability and autonomy to free markets with the belief that unfettered by the government that would restore productivity.
Neo-liberalism had a major impact on higher education. First beginning under President Carter and then more so under Ronald Reagan, the federal and state governments cut taxes and public expenditures. The combination of the two meant a halt to the Dewey business model as support for public institutions decreased and federal money dried up.
From a high in the 1960s and early 70s when states and the federal government provided generous funding to expand their public systems to educate the Baby Boomers, state universities now receive only a small percentage of their money from the government. As I pointed out in my 2005 Logos “The Corporate University in American Society” article in 1991, 74% of the funding for public universities came from states, in 2004; it was down to 64%, with state systems in Illinois, Michigan and Virginia down to 25%, 18%, and 8% respectively. Since then, the percentages have shrunk even more, rendering state universities public institutions more in name than in funding.
Higher education under Neo-liberalism needed a new business model and it found it in the corporate university. The corporate university is one where colleges increasingly use corporate structures and management styles to run the university. This includes abandoning the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) shared governance model where faculty had an equal voice in the running of the school, including over curriculum, selection of department chairs, deans, and presidents, and determination of many of the other policies affecting the academy. The corporate university replaced the shared governance model with one more typical of a business corporation.
For the corporate university, many decisions, including increasingly those affecting curriculum, are determined by a top-down pyramid style of authority. University administration often composed not of typical academics but those with business or corporate backgrounds had pre-empted many of the decisions faculty used to make. Under a corporate model, the trustees, increasingly composed of more business leaders than before, select, often with minimal input from the faculty, the president who, in turn, again with minimal or no faculty voice, select the deans, department heads, and other administrative personnel.
Neoliberalism professes the idea the personal greed can serve positive society goals, which is reflected in famous neoliberal slogan "greed is good". And university presidents listen. Now presidents of neoliberal universities do not want to get $100K per year salary, they want one, or better several, million dollar salary of the CEO of major corporation (Student Debt Grows Faster at Universities With Highest-Paid Leaders, Study Finds - NYTimes.com)
At the 25 public universities with the highest-paid presidents, both student debt and the use of part-time adjunct faculty grew far faster than at the average state university from 2005 to 2012, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning Washington research group.
The study, “The One Percent at State U: How University Presidents Profit from Rising Student Debt and Low-Wage Faculty Labor,” examined the relationship between executive pay, student debt and low-wage faculty labor at the 25 top-paying public universities.
The co-authors, Andrew Erwin and Marjorie Wood, found that administrative expenditures at the highest-paying universities outpaced spending on scholarships by more than two to one. And while adjunct faculty members became more numerous at the 25 universities, the share of permanent faculty declined drastically.
“The high executive pay obviously isn’t the direct cause of higher student debt, or cuts in labor spending,” Ms. Wood said. “But if you think about it in terms of the allocation of resources, it does seem to be the tip of a very large iceberg, with universities that have top-heavy executive spending also having more adjuncts, more tuition increases and more administrative spending.”
... ... ...
The Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual survey of public university presidents’ compensation, also released Sunday, found that nine chief executives earned more than $1 million in total compensation in 2012-13, up from four the previous year, and three in 2010-11. The median total compensation of the 256 presidents in the survey was $478,896, a 5 percent increase over the previous year.
... ... ...
As in several past years, the highest-compensated president, at $6,057,615 in this period, was E. Gordon Gee, who resigned from Ohio State last summer amid trustee complaints about frequent gaffes. He has since become the president of West Virginia University.
This trick requires dramatic raising of tuition costs. University bureaucracy also got taste for better salaries and all those deans, etc want to be remunerated like vice presidents. So raising the tuition costs became the key existential idea of neoliberal university. Not quality of education, but tuition costs now are the key criteria of success. And if you can charge students $40K per semester it is very, very good. If does not matter that most population get less then $20 an hour.
The same is true for professors, who proved to be no less corruptible. And some of them, such as economic departments, simply serve as prostitutes for financial oligarchy. So they were corrupted even before that rat race for profit. Of course there are exceptions. But they only prove the rule.
As the result university tuition inflation outpaced inflation by leaps and bounds. At some point amount that you pay (and the level of debt after graduation) becomes an important factor in choosing the university. So children of "have" and "have nots" get into different educational institutions and do not meet each other. In a way aristocracy returned via back door.
Neoliberal university professes "deep specialization" to create "ready for the market" graduates. And that creates another problem: education became more like stock market game and that makes more difficult for you to change you specialization late in the education cycle. But early choice entail typical stock market problem: you might miss the peak of the market or worse get into prolonged slump as graduates in finance learned all too well in 2008. That's why it is important not to accumulate too much debt: this is a kind of "all in" play in poker. You essentially bet that in a particular specialty there will be open positions with high salary, when you graduate. If you lose this bet you are done.
As a result of this "reaction to the market trends" by neoliberal universities, when universities bacem appendixes of HR of large corporations students need to be more aware of real university machinery then students in 50th or 60th of the last century. And first of all assume that it is functioning not to their benefits.
One problem for a student is that there are now way too many variables that you do not control. Among them:
On the deep level neoliberal university is not interested to help you to find specialization and place in life where can unleash your talents. You are just a paying customers much like in McDonalds, and university interests are such they might try to push you in wrong direction or load you with too much debt.
If there is deep mismatch as was with computer science graduates after crash of dot-com boom, or simply bad job market due to economy stagnation and you can't find the job for your new specialty (or if you got "junk" specialty with inherent high level of unemployment among professionals) and you have substantial education debt, then waiting tables or having some other MacJob is a real disaster for you. As with such salaries you simply can't pay it back. So controlling the level of debt is very important and in this sense parents financial help is now necessary. In other words education became more and more "rich kids game".
That does not mean that university education should be avoided for those from families with modest means. On the contrary it provides unique experience and help a person to mature in multiple ways difficult to achieve without it. It is still one of the best ways to get vertical mobility. But unless parents can support you need to try to find the most economical way to obtain it without acquiring too much debt. This is you first university exam. And if you fail it you are in trouble.
For example, computer science education is a great way to learn quite a few things necessary for a modern life. But the price does matter and prestige of the university institution that you attend is just one of the factors you should consider in your evaluation. It should not be the major factor ("vanity fair") unless your parents are rich and can support you. If you are good you can get later a master degree in a prestigious university after graduation from a regular college. Or even Ph.D.
County colleges are greatly underappreciated and generally provide pretty high standard of education, giving ability to students to save money for the first two years before transferring to a four year college. They also smooth the transition as finding yourself among people who are only equal or superior then you (and have access to financial resource that you don't have) is a huge stress. The proverb say that it is better to be first in the village then last in the town has some truth in it. Prestigious universities might provide a career boost (high fly companies usually accept resumes only from Ivy League members), but they cost so much that you need to be a son or daughter of well-to-do parents to feel comfortably in them. Or extremely talented. Also amount of career boost that elite universities provide depends on whom your parents are and what connections they have. It does not depend solely on you and the university. Again, I would like to stress that you should resist "vanity fair" approach to your education: a much better way is to try to obtain BS in a regular university and them try to obtain MS and then, if you are good, PHD, in a prestigious university. Here is a fragment of an interesting discussion that covers this topic (Low Mobility Is Not a Social Tragedy?, Feb 13, 2013 ; I recommend you to read the whole discussion ):
I would like to defend Greg Clack.
I think that Greg Clack point is that the number of gifted children is limited and that exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies (story of Alexander Hamilton was really fascinating for me, the story of Mikhail Lomonosov http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Lomonosov was another one -- he went from the very bottom to the top of Russian aristocracy just on the strength of his abilities as a scientist). In no way the ability to "hold its own" (typical for rich families kids) against which many here expressed some resentment represents social mobility. But the number of kids who went down is low -- that's actually proves Greg Clack point:
(1) Studies of social mobility using surnames suggest two things. Social mobility rates are much lower than conventionally estimated. And social mobility rates estimated in this way vary little across societies and time periods. Sweden is no more mobile than contemporary England and the USA, or even than medieval England. Social mobility rates seem to be independent of social institutions (see the other studies on China, India, Japan and the USA now linked here).
Francisco Ferreira rejects this interpretation, and restates the idea that there is a strong link between social mobility rates and inequality in his interesting post.
What is wrong with the data Ferreira cites? Conventional estimates of social mobility, which look at just single aspects of social status such as income, are contaminated by noise. If we measure mobility on one aspect of status such as income, it will seem rapid.
But this is because income is a very noisy measure of the underlying status of families. The status of families is a combination of their education, occupation, income, wealth, health, and residence. They will often trade off income for some other aspect of status such as occupation. A child can be as socially successful as a low paid philosophy professor as a high paid car salesman. Thus if we measure just one aspect of status such as income we are going to confuse the random fluctuations of income across generations, influenced by such things as career choices between business and philosophy, with true generalised social mobility.
If these estimates of social mobility were anywhere near correct as indicating true underlying rates of social mobility, then we would not find that the aristocrats of 1700 in Sweden are still overrepresented in all elite occupations of Sweden. Further, the more equal is income in a society, the less signal will income give of the true social status of families. In a society such as Sweden, where the difference in income between bus drivers and philosophy professors is modest, income tells us little about the social status of families. It is contaminated much more by random noise. Thus it will appear if we measure social status just by income that mobility is much greater in Sweden than in the USA, because in the USA income is a much better indicator of the true overall status of families.
The last two paragraphs of Greg Clark article cited by Mark Thoma are badly written and actually are somewhat disconnected with his line of thinking as I understand it as well as with the general line of argumentation of the paper.
Again, I would like to stress that a low intergenerational mobility includes the ability of kids with silver spoon in their mouth to keep a status close to their parent. The fact that they a have different starting point then kids from lower strata of society does not change that.
I think that the key argument that needs testing is that the number of challengers from lower strata of the society is always pretty low and is to a large extent accommodated by the societies we know (of course some societies are better then others).
Actually it would be interesting to look at the social mobility data of the USSR from this point of view.
But in no way, say, Mark Thoma was a regular kid, although circumstances for vertical mobility at this time were definitely better then now. He did possessed some qualities which made possible his upward move although his choice of economics was probably a mistake ;-).
Whether those qualities were enough in more restrictive environments we simply don't know, but circumstances for him were difficult enough as they were.
EC -> kievite...kievite -> EC...
"the number of gifted children is limited"
I stopped reading after that. I teach at a high school in a town with a real mix of highly elite families, working class families, and poor families, and I can tell you that the children of affluent parents are not obviously more gifted than the children of poor families. They do, however, have a lot more social capital, and they have vastly more success. But the limitations on being "gifted" are irrelevant.
According to an extensive study (Turkheimer et al., 2003) of 50,000 pregnant women and the children they went on to have (including enough sets of twins to be able to study the role of innate genetic differences), variation in IQ among the affluent seems to be largely genetic.
Among the poor, however, IQ has very little to do with genes -- probably because the genetic differences are swamped and suppressed by the environmental differences, as few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances.
All you said is true. I completely agree that "...few poor kids are able to develop as fully as they would in less constrained circumstances." So there are losses here and we should openly talk about them.
Also it goes without saying that social capital is extremely important for a child. That's why downward mobility of children from upper classes is suppressed, despite the fact that some of them are plain vanilla stupid.
But how this disproves the point made that "exceptionally gifted children have some chance for upper move in almost all, even the most hierarchical societies"? I think you just jumped the gun...
The early boomers benefitted from the happy confluence of the postwar boom, LBJ's Great Society efforts toward financial assistance for those seeking to advance their educations, and the 1964 Civil Rights Act which opened opportunities for marginalized social groups in institutions largely closed to them under the prewar social customs in the US.
The US Supreme Court is made up of only Jews and Catholics as of this writing, a circumstance inconceivable in the prewar America. Catholics were largely relegated to separate and unequal institutions. Jews' opportunities were limited by quotas and had a separate set of institutions of their own where their numbers could support such. Where their numbers were not sufficient, they were often relegated to second rate institutions.
Jewish doctors frequently became the leading men in the Catholic hospitals in Midwestern industrial towns where they were unwelcome in the towns' main hospitals. Schools, clubs, hospitals, professional and commercial organizations often had quota or exclusionary policies. Meritocracy has its drawbacks, but we've seen worse in living memory.
Of course bad things that happened to you during your university years are soon forgotten and nostalgia colors everything in role tones, but the truth is that the modern university is a very cruel world. Now more then ever. Here are some random observations of the subject (See also my Diploma Mills page about high education sharks for which sucking you dry financially is the main goal ):
The personality of the teacher as a real human next to you with whom you can talk and real class that meets each week are important factors in educational success. You lose those factors with tele-teaching. It became more like tele-preaching :-). A huge drawback of distant learning based on telecommunication is that personality of the teacher became sterilized and contacts with students way too formal. Essentially teacher becomes a cartoon on the screen.
Also even one bright student in a physical class often does more then a teacher to stimulate learning of others. This effect is completely absent in tele-audiences when everybody is essentially an isolated, atomic unit. That also eliminate large part of fun of being student as network of human contacts on campus, contacts that you acquire by attending classes together is a vital part of student life. It also severe important link with teacher -- brightest students is one of the important channels teachers learn new things :-)
Another important factor that limits the effectiveness of tele-learning is the feedback loop is much weaker. For example, when with the audience, the teacher can adapt the presentation to the audience in a way that is more difficult, more expensive or just impossible in tele-teaching environment. That requires full duplex tele-presence which is a very expensive proposition, that eats quickly any financial advantages of tele-teaching.
Yes another interesting aspect is that cheating and plagiarism became much more prominent. There are two factors here.
Cases when students from online class in real audience in later classes demonstrated C or D-level of knowledge despite getting high grades in the remote course they just took are more common that people think.
I can tell you that even for such ideally suited subject for tele-teaching as computer science, it creates almost as many problems as it solves. So net might be neutral or negative.
Most teachers and Professors in the university are good, honest people who are trying to make some contribution to science and teach students (difficult things to mix). But not all. One of the most dangerous feature of neoliberal university are influx of people who represent a toxic mix of teacher, snake oil seller, careerist and cult follower. They are not teachers but brainwashers, hired guns -- propagandists masquerading as University professors. That is why we have witnessed such a corruption and politicization of science and rising proportion of research and theories taught at the universities that are fraudulent.
Previously teacher was a person somewhat similar to a monk. A person who consciously traded the ability to work in science to the possibility of acquiring material wealth, at least excessive material wealth. As Ernest Rutherford once reminded Pyotr Kapitsa "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24)
But in neoliberal university way too many teachers/researchers took Faustian bargain when one trades the academic independence for above average personal wealth, influence, for the power grab. And despite popular image of scientists and university professors they proved to be as corruptible by money as Wall Street traders ;-). This is because the sponsors of their research such as big business, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and government vie to publish reports and results that put the sponsors in the best light. Good example is relations of pharmaceutical industry and academia
“The answer to that question is at once both predictable and shocking: For the past two decades, medical research has been quietly corrupted by cash from private industry. Most doctors and academic researchers aren't corrupt in the sense of intending to defraud the public or harm patients, but rather, more insidiously, guilty of allowing the pharmaceutical and biotech industries to manipulate medical science through financial relationships, in effect tainting the system that is supposed to further the understanding of disease and protect patients from ineffective or dangerous drugs. More than 60 percent of clinical studies--those involving human subjects--are now funded not by the federal government, but by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. That means that the studies published in scientific journals like Nature and The New England Journal of Medicine--those critical reference points for thousands of clinicians deciding what drugs to prescribe patients, as well as for individuals trying to educate themselves about conditions and science reporters from the popular media who will publicize the findings--are increasingly likely to be designed, controlled, and sometimes even ghost-written by marketing departments, rather than academic scientists. Companies routinely delay or prevent the publication of data that show their drugs are ineffective.
“ Novartis, stepped in and provided additional funding for development. In 1984, private companies contributed a mere $26 million to university research budgets. By 2000, they were ponying up $2.3 billion, an increase of 9000 percent that provided much needed funds to universities at a time when the cost of doing medical research was skyrocketing.”
Historically the scientific community is held together through its joint acceptance of the same fundamental principles of conducting research (and teaching those results) and ethics. Scientific research is best practiced in a voluntary, honest and free atmosphere. But this idyllic arrangement as well as scientific ethics now belongs to the past ( The Corruption of Science )
“It’s a long-standing and crucial question that, as yet, remains unanswered: just how common is scientific misconduct? In the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, Daniele Fanelli of the University of Edinburgh reports the first meta-analysis of surveys questioning scientists about their misbehaviours. The results suggest that altering or making up data is more frequent than previously estimated and might be particularly high in medical research.
...There is immense pressure on scientists to produce results, to publish, to seek glory, or just to get tenure. Scientists are human beings, after all, and sometimes they approach their field with preconceptions or biases. Politics certainly comes into play; consider eugenics in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century, or eugenics in Nazi Germany.
Now we can talk only about the level of political and economical pressure and corresponding level of corruption on professors and scientists, not so much about presence or absence of corruption in science and education. What really matters for students is that when they feel that a professor is a scum, they nevertheless try to imitate. See for example Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia.
Historically the situation started to change even before neoliberal university became a dominant educational institution. Previously, despite the fact that money for science were in short supply, scientists maintained a self-discipline. That changed after WWII. Prior to World War II there was little government financial support for science. A graduate student working on a Ph.D. degree was expected to make a new discovery to earn that degree. And if somebody else came first he needed to find a new theme and to restart his work.
But with the advent of NSF scientists started to "propose" directions of research to get funding. And be sure this instill atmosphere of sycophantism and political correctness. This process accelerated dramatically since 1980th with the ascendance of neoliberalism as a dominant USA ideology, when greed became playing significant role in US universities. It should be understood that now the university professor is no longer is a teacher and a scientist, but predominantly "grants provider" for the university and that means that he/she is in the first place a political agent, a manipulator on a mission from the external agent (typically the state via NSF or other agency, see The Corruption of Science in America -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net)
For the unwashed masses University professor career still represents the ultimate carrier of truth for a given discipline, so his opinion have a distinct political weight. And the architects of our neoliberal world fully use this "superstition". Like we can see with neoclassical economics, economists have turned into an instrument of cognitive manipulation, when under the guise of science financial oligarchy promote beneficial to itself but false and simplistic picture of the world, using University professors to brainwash the masses into "correct" thinking.
Professors literally became a religious figures, and cult members or even cult leaders. The first sign of this dangerous disease of the modern university was probably Lysenkoism in the USSR. In this sense one can say that Lysenkoism represented a natural side effect of shrinking of freedom of the scientific community and growing influence of political power on science. As by Frederick Seitz noted in his The Present Danger To Science and Society
Everyone knows that the scientific community faces financial problems at the present time. If that were its only problem, some form of restructuring and allocation of funds, perhaps along lines well tested in Europe and modified in characteristic American ways, might provide solutions that would lead to stability and balance well into the next century. Unfortunately, the situation is more complex, made so by the fact that the scientific establishment has become the object of controversy from both outside and inside its special domain. The most important aspects of the controversy are of a new kind and direct attention away from matters that are sufficiently urgent to be the focus of a great deal of the community's attention.
The assaults on science from the outside arise from such movements as the ugly form of "political correctness" that has taken root in important portions of our academic community. There are to be found, in addition, certain tendencies toward a home-grown variant of the anti-intellectual Lysenkoism that afflicted science in the Stalinist Soviet Union. So-called fraud cases are being dealt with in new, bureaucratic ways that cut across the traditional methods of arriving at truth in science. From inside the scientific community, meanwhile, there are challenges that go far beyond those that arise from the intense competition for the limited funds that are available to nourish the country's scientific endeavor.
The critical issue of arriving at a balanced approach to funding for science is being subordinated to issues made to seem urgent by unhealthy alliances of scientists and bureaucrats. Science and the integrity of its practitioners are under attack and, increasingly, legislators and bureaucrats shape the decisions that determine which paths scientific research should take. There is, in addition, a sinister tendency, especially in environmental affairs, toward considering the undertaking of expensive projects that are proposed by some scientists to remedy worst-case formulations of problems before the radical and expensive remedies are proven to be needed. They are viewed seriously though they are based on the advice of opportunistic alarmists in science who leap ahead of what is learned from solid research to encourage support for the expensive remedies they perceive to be necessary. The potential for very great damage to science and society is real.
Unfortunately a large part of the textbook market in the USA has all signs of corrupted monopoly infested with cronyism and incompetence to the extent that Standard Oil practices looks pretty benign in comparison. As the site MakeTextbooksAffordable.com states on its font page:
The report found that even though students already pay $900 year for textbooks, textbook publishers artificially inflate the price of textbooks by adding bells and whistles to the current texts, and forcing cheaper used books off the market by producing expensive new editions of textbooks that are barely different from the previous edition.
And some university professors are part of these scheme. Congressmen David Wu sites the opinion of the publisher in his letter "If a student is paying hundreds of dollars for a book, it's because the professor has ordered the Cadillac edition". But that might be true only for CS where any professor can easily find a cheaper high quality substitute from publishers like O'Reilly (and students can do this too, see Softpanorama Bookshelf actually about finding the best CS book (and some other) at reasonable prices. In other disciplines like mathematics situation is a real racket: The cost of a common calculus textbook is over $100 in the USA. This is a blatant, open rip-off. Economics is probably even worse with some useless junk selling for almost $300 per book.
In the meantime, enterprising students have many ways to cut the cost of buying textbooks.
But here one needs to see a bigger picture: low quality of recommended textbooks and, especially, the quality of university instruction makes it necessary buying additional textbooks. Also the ownership of best textbooks often makes the difference between success and failure in the particular course. In this sense additional $100 spending for books for each course makes economic sense as the common alternative is to drop the course, which often means $1K of more loss.
There are several ways to save on additional textbooks that hopefully can somewhat compensate for the low quality of tuition in a typical university. With some effort a student can often save approximately 50% of the cover price. Again my Links2bookstores page contains more information.
At the same time if the instructor is weak, or, worse, belongs to "fundamentalists", a category of instructors that does not distinguish between important and unimportant things and overloads the course with "useless overcomplexity" additional books are one of few countermeasures against this typical university-style rip-off. Dropping the course is a difficult maneuver that requires perfect timing and problems with instructor and the course content usually do not surface during the first month of the study when you can still do it for free or with minimal damage.
College textbook publishing became a racket with the growth of neoliberalism. And it is pretty dirty racket with willing accomplishes in form of so called professors like Greg Mankiw. For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200. An interesting discussion of this problem can be found at Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks'
Tim Taylor on why textbooks cost so much:Thoughts on High-Priced Textbooks: High textbook prices are a pebble in the shoe of many college students. Sure, it's not the biggest financial issue they face, But it's a real and nagging annoyance that for hinders performance for many students. ...David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein at National Public Radio took up this question recently on one of their "Planet Money" podcasts. ... For economists, a highlight is that they converse with Greg Mankiw, author of what is currently the best-selling introductory economics textbook, which as they point out is selling for $286 on Amazon. Maybe this is a good place to point out that I am not a neutral observer in this argument: The third edition of my own Principles of Economics textbook is available through Textbook Media. The pricing varies from $25 for online access to the book, up through $60 for both a paper copy (soft-cover, black and white) and online access.
Several explanations for high textbook prices are on offer. The standard arguments are that textbook companies are marketing selling to professors, not to students, and professors are not necessarily very sensitive to textbook prices. (Indeed, one can argue that before the rapid rise in textbook prices in the last couple of decades, it made sense for professors not to focus too much on textbook prices.) Competition in the textbook market is limited, and the big publishers load up their books with features that might appeal to professors: multi-colored hardcover books, with DVDs and online access, together with test banks that allow professors to give quizzes and tests that can be machine-graded. At many colleges and universities, the intro econ class is taught in a large lecture format, which can include hundreds or even several thousand students, as well as a flock of teaching assistants, so some form of computerized grading and feedback is almost a necessity. Some of the marketing by textbook companies involves paying professors for reviewing chapters--of course in the hope that such reviewers will adopt the book.
The NPR show casts much of this dynamic as a "principal-agent problem," the name for a situation in which one person (the "principal") wants another person (the "agent") to act on their behalf, but lacks the ability to observe or evaluate the actions of the agent in a complete way. Principal-agent analysis is often used, for example, to think about the problem of a manager motivating employees. But it can also be used to consider the issue of students (the "principals") wanting the professor (the "agent") to choose the book that will best suit the needs of the students, with all factors of price and quality duly taken into account. The NPR reporters quote one expert saying that the profit margin for high school textbooks is 5-10%, because those books decisions are made by school districts and states that negotiate hard. However, profit margins on college textbooks--where the textbook choice is often made by a professor who may not even know the price that students will pay--are more like 20%.
The NPR report suggests this principal-agent framework to Greg Mankiw, author of the top-selling $286 economic textbook. Mankiw points out that principal-agent problems are in no way nefarious, but come up in many contexts. For example, when you get an operation, you rely on the doctor to make choices that involve costs; when you get your car fixed, you rely on a mechanic to make choices that involve costs; when you are having home repairs done, you rely on a repair person or a contractor to make choices that involve costs. Mankiw argues that professors, acting as the agents of students, have legitimate reason to be concerned about tradeoffs of time and money. As he notes, a high quality book is more important "than saving them a few dollars"--and he suggests that saving $30 isn't worth it for a low-quality book.
But of course, in the real world there are more choices than a high-quality $286 book and a low-quality $256 book. The PIRG student surveys suggest that up to two-thirds of students are avoiding buying textbooks at all, even though they fear it will hurt their grade, or are shifting to other classes with lower textbook costs. If a student is working 10 hours a week at a part-time job, making $8/hour after taxes, then the difference between $286 book and a $60 book is 28.25 hours--nearly three weeks of part-time work. I am unaware of any evidence in which students were randomly assigned different textbooks but otherwise taught and evaluated in the same way, and kept time diaries, which would show that higher-priced books save time or improve academic performance. It is by no means obvious that a lower-cost book (yes, like my own) works less well for students than a higher-cost book from a big publisher. Some would put that point more strongly.
A final dynamic that may be contributing to higher-prices textbooks is a sort of vicious circle related to the textbook resale market. The NPR report says that when selling a textbook over a three-year edition, a typical pattern was that sales fell by half after the first year and again by half after the second year, as students who had bought the first edition resold the book to later students. Of course, this dynamic also means that many students who bought the book new are not really paying full-price, but instead paying the original price minus the resale price. The argument is that as textbooks have increased in price, the resale market has become ever-more active, so that sales of a textbook in later years have dwindled much more quickly. Textbook companies react to this process by charging more for the new textbook, which of course only spurs more activity in the resale market.
A big question for the future of textbooks is how and in what ways they migrate to electronic forms. On one side, the hope is that electronic textbooks will offer expanded functionality, as well as being cheaper. But this future is not foreordained. At least at present, my sense is that the functionality of reading and taking notes in online textbooks hasn't yet caught up to the ease of reading on paper. Technology and better screens may well shift this balance over time. But even setting aside questions of reading for long periods of time on screen, or taking notes on screen, at present it remains harder to skip around in a computerized text between what you are currently reading and the earlier text that you need to be checking, as well as skipping to various graphs, tables, and definitions. To say it more simply, in a number of subjects it may still be harder to study an on-line text than to study a paper text.
Moreover, as textbook manufacturers shift to an on-line world, they will bring with them their full bag of tricks for getting paid. The Senack report notes:Today’s marketplace offers more digital textbook options to the student consumer than ever. “Etextbooks” are digitized texts that students read on a laptop or tablet. Similar to PDF documents, e-textbooks enable students to annotate, highlight and search. The cost may be 40-50 percent of the print retail price, and access expires after 180 days. Publishers have introduced e-textbooks for nearly all their traditional textbook offerings. In addition, the emergence of the ereader like the Kindle and iPad, as well as the emergence of many e-textbook rental programs, all seemed to indicate that the e-textbook will alter the college textbook landscape for the better.
However, despite this shift, users of e-textbooks are subject to expiration dates, on-line codes that only work once, page printing limits, and other tactics that only serve to restrict use and increase cost.
Unfortunately for students, the publishing companies’ venture into e-textbooks is a continuation of the practices they use to monopolize the print market.
My understanding is that there are cases where the professor requires the textbook he wrote and for which he receives royalties...
In such cases, the publisher and the professor's interests align against the student, who pays through the teeth.
good article but i have a real problem with introductory texts on economics
they are completely biased, mostly towards supply side of the debate
meaning, of course, they are wrong
if they just contained that which is undeniably true then ok, or if they presented it as this school of thought says this and that school of thought says the other, ok,
The Raven:pgl -> to The Raven...
A general rule of thumb: half the selling price of a book is spent before the first impression is made on paper. Speaking as a very small publisher, I think the main problem is that the texts are expensive to produce.
They take a lot of editorial and design effort, so the fixed costs of textbook production are high, the production costs are often high, and textbook bestsellers are not common, so they don't usually make it up on volume.
Now, one could, for standard freshman and sophomore texts, aim at lower costs and higher volumes, but that's not academic publishing, and nothing is going to help with upper-level texts; the market is just not that big.The Raven -> to pgl...
Excellent! With a high elasticity of demand, the increase in quantity beats the drop in price. Unless the marginal cost of printing books is higher than I suspect it is, Mankiw's publisher is not a profit maximizing monopolist. I'm telling you the best economics is right here and we don't charge $286!T.J.:
You'd have to market a book *hard* to get that increase in demand, though. It's not a student-by-student sale decision; the professors have to be marketed. The other thing about publishing economics that people outside the industry don't realize: most books don't make much money, so publishers rely on the good-sellers and the best-sellers for much of their profits. If you've got something you're pretty sure is going to be in demand, *you mark it up,* because in William Golding's immortal phrase, "Nobody knows anything."
Over the past 25 or so years, the consolidation of publishing has put the money types more and more in control of the business. And the money types always want to only market best sellers. This is sort of like Germany saying that everyone should make money exporting. "That trick never works."
Now, if anyone wanted to bring the price of an Econ 101 book down, one could do a no-frills book, small, soft-covered, and strictly monochrome, or perhaps an ebook. (But watch out—only some ebook readers support mathematics well.) It might cost $50 or so (I'm guessing—I'm not a textbook publisher.) It would not look impressive, and this might make a problem for marketing, but students could still learn from it. And—who knows?—it might even sell.pgl -> to T.J....
The issue is that textbook publishers release new editions every couple of years. For many subjects, including economics, this is absurd. Sciences don't change that quickly.
For instance, you can find a used 5th edition Mankiw introductory to Microeconomics for under $4.00, while a new 7th edition costs over $200.
Has principles of microeconomics changed that much over the course of 6 years? No, but textbook companies make a few changes on the margin and charge you hundreds of dollars for a new edition. Many times, professors require online access codes to supplement their lecture. Therefore, the student is forced into the newer edition, in which often there is no substantial differences or major improvements in presenting the material.
When you have that sort of market power, it is easy to achieve economic rents.cm -> to T.J....
"Sciences don't change that quickly". One would hope those freshwater books changed after their utter failures to predict the most recent recession. But they likely haven't.Bill Ellis:
There are errata, and some content that the author has in mind doesn't make it into the first edition, or not at the intended quality/depth. Most people who have never published something substantial have no idea how much work it is to get non-fiction scientific/technical stuff publication ready. Not only on the author's part but also editing and proofreading/giving feedback at a collegial level. (Not meaning to knock down fiction, that's a different set of challenges.)
Two Ideas I would like to see combined. A period of Universal public service that earns a free higher and or tech education. Something like the GI bill for all.
I think making universal public service a right of passage could help us be a more unified society. If we have kids from inner city Detroit, rural West Virginia, suburban San Francisco and the oil fields of Oklahoma working side by side it would open their eyes to each other in ways that are never experienced by most American kids who are living in communities of institutional self-segregation.
Having said that.. free education is a no brainer no matter what.
To cover everyone's tuition it would only cost us about forty billion more than the feds already spend on higher ed. That's a rounding error in terms of our total budget.
We subsidize big oil and gas to the tune of about 50 billion a year.
The maddening thing is that the national debate is not even close to taking Free Ed seriously. Instead Liz Warren is portrayed some kind of wild eyed radical for proposing a modest cut in interest rates on student loans and some narrow way to get some forgiveness of debt.
John Cummings:Fred C. Dobbs:
It is part of the educational industrial complex (which include vouchers and government backed private school industrial complex)
Educational industrial complex
Military industrial complex
Medical industrial complex
Prison industrial complexFred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...
(Evidently, 'It’s Economics 101'.)
Higher education: Why textbooks cost so much http://econ.st/1yzDU5Z via @TheEconomist - Aug 16th 2014
Students can learn a lot about economics when they buy Greg Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics”—even if they don’t read it. Like many popular textbooks, it is horribly expensive: $292.17 on Amazon. Indeed, the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteen fold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation (see chart, at link).
Like doctors prescribing drugs, professors assigning textbooks do not pay for the products themselves, so they have little incentive to pick cheap ones. Some assign books they have written themselves. The 20m post-secondary students in America often have little choice in the matter. Small wonder textbooks generate megabucks.
But hope is not lost for poor scholars. Foreign editions are easy to find online and often cheaper—sometimes by over 90%. Publishers can be litigious about this, but in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to buy and resell copyrighted material obtained legally. Many university bookstores now let students rent books and return them. Publishers have begun to offer digital textbooks, which are cheaper but can’t be resold. And if all else fails, there is always the library.
Related: How Your Textbook Dollars Are Divvied Up http://t.usnews.com/a2B567 via @usnews - Aug 28, 2012Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...
(A bunch of experts discuss the matter.)
Room for Debate: The Real Cost of College Textbooks http://nyti.ms/1qEHasX - July 2010
(Including a couple of economists!)Fred C. Dobbs -> to Fred C. Dobbs...
How to Cut Your Textbook Costs in Half -- or More-Kiplinger http://po.st/nCZsxY - August 2014
(By renting e-books, donchaknow.)
(Turns out Mankiw's Econ textbook, which
currently costs $289 in hardcover from
Amazon, can be rented in Kindle format
for a mere $173 - for 180 days.)
(Hardcover rental is $70, however.)Charles Peterson:
(Wait a second. The Federales fixed
this problem back in 2008...)
Advocates say a new set of federal provisions, aimed at driving down the cost of college textbooks, should help students this fall. On July 1, (2010) these rules took effect:
Publishers must give professors detailed information about textbook prices, revision histories and a list of alternate formats.
Publishers have to sell materials typically bundled with textbooks -- such as CDs, DVDs and workbooks -- separately so students don't have to buy them.
Colleges have to include in-course schedules with required textbooks for each class, including the book's price and International Standard Book Number, an identifying tool.
The protections, included in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, are an attempt to lessen student debt, said U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., on Wednesday.
"The cost of education is of concern not only to students and families but to the nation," Durbin said, explaining why the government got involved in textbook prices. "Students are emerging with more and more debt."
A $289 econ text is only marked up 20% ???
I'm not sure how to account for this, but I believe a full account of markup should include royalties if they have become outrageous economic rent.cm -> to Jim Harrison...
Textbooks have been outrageously expensive for a long time, though some of the prices quoted in this article were astonishing to me and I used to be in the business. Nothing much has changed. The complaints and the defenses sound very familiar. Even in the 70s and 80s, publishers groused about how the used trade hurt their sales and the suggestion was repeatedly made that one way around the trap was to produce much cheaper texts and make up the difference on volume. Unfortunately, the numbers never add up for that business plan since the major textbook publishers have huge sunk costs in the big sales forces needed to support the current model. Anyhow, good cheap books have long been available for many big undergrad courses if profs want to assign them and don't mind producing their own tests and other teaching aids. A handful of profs do just that and were already doing it thirty years ago, but they are a distinct minority.
About the revision racket: the funny thing is that old editions of textbooks are often better than more recent editions. Market research makes good books worse in much the same way that it eventually screws up software by the relentless addition of bells and whistles. I'm a technical writer these days and keep copies of several old classics at hand when I need to brush up: Feynman's lectures on physics; the first edition of Freeman, Pisani, and Purves on Statistics; the 2nd edition of Linus Pauling's Intro Chem text; Goldstein on Thermo; and a real museum piece, Sylvaner Thomas' Calculus Made Easy. Many of these books have been reprinted by Dover and are available for peanuts.
To be fair, the high price for textbooks makes more sense in some fields than in others. The three or four year revision cycle is absurd for math books since the math remains the same decade after decade, but texts in areas like molecular biology really do have to be revised frequently and substantively, a very labor-intensive task. Which is why I give a pass to the Biology editors and the folks who struggle to update the Intermediate Accounting books with the latest FASB standards.
Can you elaborate on the revision "paradox"? Surely not only in very new fields, the state of the art progresses, or textbook authors see a need or opportunity to include new material (I suspect somebody setting out to write a comprehensive text has more ideas what to write about than can be finished at the required quality in the required time, for the first edition).
How would the subsequent editions be worse, if the new content is driven by the author and not by external marketing considerations, unless the new material is at the expense of older material (e.g. #pages limit)?
From my very limited experience, authors who are not in it for making a profit, and who write for a small market (selling up to a few thousand copies per year is a small market) run into substantial overhead costs for editing, marketing (i.e. making the existence of the book known to the target audience), and distribution, and basically have to do the work for free. Some, and perhaps most, certainly academic, publishers have "charity" programs where they publish small editions where they at best break even or even cross-subsidize them out of "full rate" publications. Then people complain about excessive prices for the latter.
Leading Edge Boomer:
Jeebus, $286 for a textbook, from an author who is often wrong lately? I co-authored a graduate computer science text (low volume = higher cost) that retailed in the low two digits.
cm -> to Leading Edge Boomer...
I will not comment on the author's merit or lack thereof, but $286 is really in "WTF" territory, for any textbook.
cm -> to Leading Edge Boomer...Jim Harrison:
I once contributed to a book, and the authors/editors decided to collectively waive their royalties to hit an affordable price (and I suspect it was still a charity deal on the part of the largely academic publisher). But I got my free copy.reason:
At least for big market textbooks, the motive for revisions is generally financial and that's as true for the authors as the publishers. In fact, the authors are often the ones who push for new editions as their royalty checks steadily diminish. In cases where it's the authors who are reluctant to revise for whatever reason, publishers often sweeten the deal with advances, grants, or other goodies.
I don't mean to be completely cynical. Authors and editors certainly try to produce a better product when they put out new editions, and it very often happens that the second edition is better than the first. Especially in later cycles, however, the changes are usually pretty cosmetic. The editor in charge of the project solicits advice from users and potential users and comes up with a list of "improvements" in a process not entirely different than what happens when various interests in Washington get their pet provisions put in a bill. If you think that professor X is likely to adopt the text if you go along with his ideas and plug his contributions in the acknowledgements, the idea is very likely to be irresistible.
The sales force also weighs in. They want feature they can tout; but since real improvements are hard to come by, that usually means more and more pedagogy: boxes, pictures, computer programs, and umpteen forms of emphasis. Let me assure you it takes desperate ingenuity to come up with something new to add to an Intermediate Algebra textbook. "Now with a new way to factor trinomials" isn't exactly a memorable pitch. Meanwhile, after three or four editions, the author, who presumably would be the best source of serious innovation for a new edition, is generally bored to death with the project.
As I said above, there are textbooks that really do need perpetually revision for substantive reasons; but in most fields what Freshmen and Sophomores need to learn has been known for a long time. My remarks on revisions also don't apply very well to upper level texts in smaller markets, in part because students tend to hang on to serious books in their majors so the companies have less incentive to beat the used book market with new editions.reason:
From what I remember of my university days (in the long distant past), we didn't have text books (that was for school kids). We had lectures and lists of reading materials (that if we were lucky we could find in the library and photocopy relvant sections). I did have a copy of Samualson (relatively cheap). But the emphasis was on a reading a variety of sources. What has changed, and why?Jay:
P.S. Not have text books would have the advantage of ensuring that the students attended lectures and stayed awake during them.grizzled:
No mention of the cost for this textbook...
My own biggest peeve concerns calculus textbooks, especially introductory calculus textbooks. The material hasn't changed in at least 60 years, if not longer. If it weren't for the current ridiculously long copyright terms people could just use old ones.
The last time I took the subject our professor went to some lengths to let us use the previous edition, which was available used. The only real change in the next edition was in the problems. That is, if a student was assigned "problem 8 in section xxx" having the most recent edition was the only way to know what the problem was.
I don't see any redeeming value in this.
My son took an intro geology course a few years ago. The textbook price at the school bookstore was about $125. He purchased the gray market (legal) "international edition" - word for word, page for page the same, but with a different picture on the cover - over the internet for about $50.
It's my understanding that this sort of price-differential is common. Mankiw's book appears to be available in the "international edition" for $60 (soft cover).
Please don't tell me that publishers and authors are not making money when they sell their books for US$50 or 60 in Australia.
Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov
|University Education Skeptic, 2016||University Education Skeptic, 2015||University Education Skeptic, 2014||University Education Skeptic, 2013||University Education Skeptic, 2012||University Education Skeptic, 2011||University Education Skeptic, 2010||University Education Skeptic, 2009|
Mar 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.comewmayer , March 22, 2017 at 7:29 pmSynoia , March 22, 2017 at 10:12 pm
Received a "new academic programs" missive from my alma mater in today's mail, containing the following:
How to Make Innovation Happen in Your Organization
The Certified Professional Innovator (CPI) program is intended to develop the competency of high potential leaders in the theory and practice of innovation. It is rooted on the principle that innovation can only be learned by doing and through many short bursts of experimentation.
The certification is comprised of a 12-week curriculum with specific syllabus and assignments for each week, including videos, workbook assignments, and reports. During the program, participants, functioning as a cohort, communicate and collaborate with each other and faculty through a series of webinars and discussions. The program culminates in project pitches.
"It is rooted on [sic] the principle that innovation can only be learned by doing and through many short bursts of experimentation" - OK, fine there, but it is also rooted in the notion that such creativity can be taught in a formal academic setting, here monetized and condensed into a 12-week program. As for me, I'm gonna hold out for the following surely-in-development mini-courses:
o Certified Professional Serial Disruptor (CPD)
o Certified Professional Innovative Thought Leader (CPCTL)
o Certified Professional Smart Creative (CPSC)
I love the smell of money-greased credentialism in the morning.
Certified Real Accounting Professional.
Certified Real Estate Experienced Professional
Mar 11, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
FreedomWriter -> TheWrench , Mar 11, 2017 10:12 AMdearth vader , Mar 11, 2017 5:03 AM
Snowflakes should also learn the depressing fact that Orwell's 1984 was not a complete work of fiction, but a successful blueprint for full statist control.
Orwell was dying of tuberculosis when he wrote "1984" and passed away after its publication in 1949. Once you have their attention and they have read the book, it is time to show snowflakes the MANY obvious parallels between Orwellian concepts and modern society.
NEWSPEAK AND THOUGHT CRIME
You can start with soft targets like Newspeak (today's examples include gems like cis-gender labels and other politically correct BS).
Now move to the "thought police" and thought crime in general.
Explain how thought and speech crime keep the globalist model alive and ticking by discouraging independent thought and discussion.
Explain how state-financed institutions seek to implant these concepts at an early age and onwards into university education.
Provide real-life newspeak and double-think examples, such as "police-action" "regime-change", "coalition of the willing" and "collateral damage". Show how these are really just PC euphemisms for "wars of aggression" and "murder". If you have a picture of a droned wedding party handy, now is the time to use it.
Also mention people who have been silenced, prosecuted or even killed for committing "hate crimes" or other political blasphemies. Explain how this often occurs while they are standing up for or using their constitutionally protected human rights.
Name some of these people: Randy and Vicki Weaver, David Koresh, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Julian Assange, William Binney, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning
Show them how this trend is ongoing both in the USA and abroad, and is primarily being deployed against populist politicians who promote more individual rights and reduced state control over citizens. Ask them whether or not they can see a pattern developing here.
Above all, d on't waste time with cheap shots at identity politics and its absurd labelling. This will just polarize the more brainwashed members of your audience. Stick to the nitty gritty and irrefutable facts.
And be very careful here, because if they have insufficient vocabulary to understand or critique what you are saying, you will lose them. Which was the whole point of Newspeak. Of course you can use this failed learning opportunity to demonstrate just how successful the Newspeak program has been.
Tell them about the real life "Telescreens" that can now listen to you, even when turned off. Name one of their known manufacturers: Samsung and users: Central Intelligence Agency
Show them how these same telescreens are used to pump out constant lies from the MSM whenever they are turned on. Name some of these organizations: CNN, BBC, MSNBC, FOX, etc.
MASS SURVEILLANCE and the "PANOPTICON"
Talk to them about the modern surveillance state and how it will always be abused by corporate globalists and corrupt elites.
Describe how mass-surveillance service providers (MSSPs) and MSM stooges have become obscenely rich and powerful as the real-life proles (who were 85% of the population in "1984") struggle to put food on the table, pay their debts, find a decent job or buy a home. Tell them to find out how much wealth is owned by 8 very wealthy people relative to the poorest half of the world, and how this trend is accelerating. Name a few of them: Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Carlos Slim, etc.
Show how the previously enacted, totalitarian US policies, programs and laws have been extensively deployed, lobbied for, used and abused by the very Big-Brothers (Clinton and Obama) they so adored. Even George W is swooning progressives again.
Name some of these policies, programs and laws: Patriot Act, SOPA, US Telecommunications Act, FISA, Echelon, PRISM, and Umbrage
Explain why this whole surveillance system, its operators and proponents must be completely dismantled and reined in or imprisoned, unless we wish all whistle blowers, dissidents and normal citizens to end up like Winston Smith.
ETERNAL WAR AND THE BROTHERHOOD
Explain how eternal war keeps the proles from getting too restless and questioning their leaders. How it leads to modern strategic idiocies like "Osama Bin Laden and the Mujahedeen are steadfast allies against Russian totalitarianism, which is why the CIA needs to give them Stingers" (aka Operation Cyclone). Or the illegal provision of arms and funds to countries with questionable human rights records (KSA, Iran, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Israel.....)
Explain how this leads to, nay requires, state-propagated lies like WMD to justify illegal military actions against sovereign nation states like Iraq, Libya and Syria.
Show how 9/11 was used to target a former-ally Osama and his Taliban brotherhood and prepare the terrain for eternal war, even though the real criminals were actually in DC, Riyadh and other world capitals. Explain how letting Osama escape from Tora Bora was all part of this intricate plan for the PNAC, until he finally outlived his usefulness as a bogeyman. If they disagree, ask for their counter-argument and proofs.
Explain how these same criminals then made a financial killing when our real life Oceania went to war bigly with Eastasia. How this resulted in over a million civilian deaths (half of them children), around 80,000 terrorists and perhaps 10,000 uniformed soldiers/contractors. Show them videos where US officials justify this slaughter as "worth it", unimportant or irrelevant. Ask what kind of individuals could even say these things or let them happen. If they can't answer, name a few: Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
At this point, you may need to take a break as listeners will soon have trouble distinguishing between real-life events and those in Orwell's book.
WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
Next, explain how real, imagined or simulated terrorist outrages can be manipulated to influence electorates. This is done by creating or allowing atrocities that frighten citizens into seeking "safety". These citizens will then vote in corrupt, globalist leaders who promise to keep them safe. These same leaders can then curtail freedoms in their previously democratic, freedom-loving nation states. New terrorist threats can always be used to justify more restrictions on free movement and state-mandated invasions of personal privacy.
If your snowflakes don't agree with this, name some leaders responsible for bad laws, policies and the ensuing restrictions on civil liberties:
Tony Blair, George W Bush, Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Francois Hollande.
Name some events as well: Oklahoma City, 911, 7/7 Sandy Hook, 11-M
Also mention that the USA has not waged a single legal, constitutional, Congress-declared war since 1945. But that the USA has been involved in hot or cold wars for all but 5 of the past 71 years.
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
Tell them that Orwell's original book title was actually "1944" (already past), but that his publisher vetoed this choice saying it could hurt sales.
Then explain how 1944-45 was actually the perfect crucible for the divisive, right-left political paradigm we live in today and many of the concepts presciently described in Orwell's chilling masterpiece.
Tell them everything, until their brains hurt, their eyes water and their ears bleed.
Eventually even the iciest snowflakes will get it.
Of course, some will cry, and some will have temper tantrums and meltdowns.
But a few might just wake up, start reading real books and get a proper education.
This is when the healing can begin.
Those thinking a career in gender-diversity-issue management is still the way forward may figure it out later, God help them. Until then, we should just pity them.Maestro Maestro , Mar 11, 2017 5:16 AM
Ira Levin's "This Perfect Day" (1970) is from the same dystopian mold. In the late Eighties, my then teenage daughter kept reading it, till it literally fell apart.
How technology has "advanced"! People in this phantasy had to wear bracelets with which they checked in and out of buildings and areas. Reality always seems to surpass the imaginative powers of SF-writers.BrownCoat , Mar 11, 2017 6:59 AM
The problem is not your government.
YOU are the problem.
Your government is not populated by reptilians from outer space. The politicians and the bankers, lawyers are YOUR sons and daughters. You gave birth to them, you educated them, you taught them their values.
YOU pull the trigger when the government says KILL! YOU vote Democrat or Republican EVERY TIME. Yet you have the temerity to blame them when you don't get what you wanted.
Hitler didn't kill anyone as fas as we know, in WWII. People [YOU] killed people. You blame the Jews because the wars they incite you to fight result in blowback to you. Why do you blame them because YOU jumped when they said JUMP! YOU are the ones flying the fighter jets and firing the tank shells against foreign populations living 10,000 miles away from your land, and who have not attacked you. NO ONE does anything unless they wanted to, in the first place. In any case, YOU are responsible for YOUR actions. This we all know.
Even your own money the US dollar is illegal according to your own US Constitution (Article 1, Section 10) yet you commit mass murder and mass torture throughout the world in order to impose it on everyone?
Fuck you, American.Robert of Ottawa -> BrownCoat , Mar 11, 2017 8:09 AM
The liberals are promoting the book (Nineteen Eighty-Four). IMO, that's great! Orwell's book is a classic and accurately describes features in our current society.
The downside is that the liberals won't understand it . They are promoting the idea that Trump is a fascist. They don't see that they themselves are fascists (albeit a different brand of fascism). Ironic that the book could help them see past the indoctrinated haze of their perspective, but it won't. The future, from my perspective, is a boot stamping on a human face forever.RevIdahoSpud3 , Mar 11, 2017 9:07 AM
Fascism as a style of government rather than philosophy .Collectivism Killz , Mar 11, 2017 9:24 AM
I read 1984 in 1960 as a freshman in HS. Spent the next 24 years waiting. I don't remember details but I do remember it was upsetting at the time to picture my future as depicted by Orwell. It might be more interesting to me now to go back to the publishing date and study the paradigm that Orwell lived under to get a perspective of his mindset. He wasn't a US citizen. He was born in India, moved to England with his mother, had little contact with his father, was sickly and lonely as a child and suffered from tuberculosis as an adult, served in Burma for five years as a policeman, fought Soviet backed Communsts in the Spanish Civil War, fought Facism, believed in Democratic socialism or Classless socialism.
His book Animal Farm was a satire on Stalin and Trotsky and 1984 * gave readers a glimpse into what would happen if the government controlled every detail of a person's life, down to their own private thoughts. (*online bio). The battles in Europe were life and death with the goal of survival.
The European cauldron produced or nurtured, IMO, the seeds of most social evils that exist today. In Orwell's era society was changing and reacting to the Machine age which was followed by the Atomic age, the Space age and to the current Information age. He died in 1950 but in his environment, the Machine age is where he related. The forces (of evil) at work in his era still exist today with the additions of the changes brought by the later ages. We don't contend with the physical (at least not initially) conquerors such as the Genghis Khan, Mohamed, Alexander, Roman conquest etc. of the past but the compulsion of others to control our lives still exists just in different forms. We as a society react or comply and have the same forces to deal with as did Orwell but also those that resulted in the later eras. 1984 was actually the preview of the information age that Orwell didn't experience.
We are now programed (propagandized) from pre school to the home for the elderly. We are initially taught as children, continue through college, and are forever conditioned by media such as TV, Movies, Radio, Newspapers and Advertising our entire lives. The younger generations are not taught to think independently or critically but instead indoctrinated with pre packaged knowledge 'propaganda' while older generations assess outcomes from a different perspective. There is as a result, a clash within the society which we are experiencing today.
Through the modern (at least recorded) ages the underlying force no matter what era humans lived through was the conflict of...religion. In the name or names of God and whose god is the true god and which god will rule. Even in the most 'godless' societies it is the underlying force. There are many who do not believe in god or a god and by extension should or do not believe in satin. Good vs Evil? It's always there, although we are encouraged not to mention it?
Can't say I need another go at 1984 from Costco but I do need another indoor/outdoor vacuum and right now they have one with a manufacturers discount of $5. See you there!FrankDrakman -> Collectivism Killz , Mar 11, 2017 9:39 AM
1984 is really just a knock off of Evgeny Zemyatin's "We," which is frankly a better account of dystopian authoritarianism from someone who wrote shortly after the Russian Revolution.Atomizer , Mar 11, 2017 10:22 AM
This is not true. Orwell's book touched on major points, such as the destruction of people's ability to communicate real ideas by perversion and simplification of language, that are not discussed elsewhere. It is a unique and disturbing view of totalitarian regimes.Nobodys Home , Mar 11, 2017 10:23 AM
Tyler, your missing the point. 1984 was about controlling the news and airwaves. Farenheit 451 was about burning history. The two go hand in hand.
Fahrenheit 451 (1966) Full Movie | Julie Christie ...Sinophile -> Nobodys Home , Mar 11, 2017 11:33 AM
Manipulation of the news is not new folks:
The similarity of the major networks evening "news" programs has given rise to a report that, each day, a list of ten or twelve "acceptable" news stories is prepared by British Intelligence in London for the networks, teletyped to Washington, where the CIA routinely approves it, and then delivered to the networks.
The "selectivity" of the broadcasters has never been in doubt. Edith Efron, in "The News Twisters," (Manor Books, N.Y., 1972) cites TV Guide's interview with David Brinkley, April 11, 1964, with Brinkley's declaration that "News is what I say it is. It's something worth knowing by my standards." This was merely vainglorious boasting on Brinkley's part, as he merely reads the news stories previously selected for him.Dragon HAwk , Mar 11, 2017 10:53 AM
"REMEMBER THE MAINE!" That false flag headline is over a century old.Al Bondiga , Mar 11, 2017 11:13 AM
Next time you are in a Best Buy.. go up to the Geek Squad guy and say... "So how does it feel to work for the CIA "SurfinUSA , Mar 11, 2017 1:37 PM
Fuck the Washington Post. As Katherine Austin Fitts has suggested, it is essentially the CIA's Facebook wall. The same could be said of the NYT as well.Amy G. Dala -> SurfinUSA , Mar 11, 2017 2:23 PM
Bezos has no problem selling "1984" on Amazon. https://tinyurl.com/hdmhu75 He's collecting the sales price and sticking it in his pocket. He's not making a joke out of it. Bezos is a lunatic. The Washington Post is full of shit. End of story.
James Rosen from Fox, he was at a state dept briefing with that little weasel Kirby, and Kirby stated that the negotiations over the Iran "deal" were all overt and "above the table." He remembered, tho, a briefing years earlier from the witch Psaki, who stated that sometimes, in interests of expedience, aspects of the negotiations are not made public.
Rosen goes back to state dept video archives, finds out that his whole exchange with Psaki has been erased. Weasel Kirby, when asked how this happened, who did it, who ordered it, blames it on a "technical glitch."
It's a slippery fuckin slope. Only now the progressives are finding relevance in 1984?
Mar 11, 2017 | www.zerohedge.comAuthored by James Holbrooks via TheAntiMedia.org,
"Next time you're at Costco, you can pick up a jumbo bag of Cheetos and a copy of '1984.' Doubleplus good!"
That's how the Washington Post opened its quick little entry on Wednesday. Continuing, Ron Charles, editor of Book World for the Post , wrote:
"The discount store is now stocking Orwell's classic novel along with its usual selection of current bestsellers."
If the significance of the fact that a dystopian masterwork can now be purchased alongside a three-ton bag of cheese puffs instantly strikes you, it should. Strangely, though, Charles and the Post don't seem to see it.
In fact, it seemed to be a joke to them. The entry closed in the manner it opened. With humor:
"Appropriately, Costco is offering a reprint of the 2003 edition of '1984,' which has a forward by Thomas Pynchon. That reclusive satirist must love the idea of hawking Orwell's dystopian novel alongside towers of discounted toilet paper and radial tires. SHOPPING IS SAVING."
In the one and only instance Charles even approached something that could be considered commentary, he linked the surge in the book's sales to "alternative" news items :
"Last month, amid talk of 'alternative facts' from the Trump administration, Signet Classics announced that it had reprinted 500,000 copies, about twice the novel's total sales in 2016."
Note Charles was certain to use the word "alternative" when mentioning Trump. Why? Very clearly, "fake news" is the man's go-to phrase when speaking of the media. So why go with "alternative" instead? Hell, the Post itself was the driving force behind the "fake news" frenzy in the first place.
I could go on about how this is the Washington Post , corporate media juggernaut, attempting, rather pathetically, to poison the notion of "alternative" in the minds of its readers - or, I should say, what's left of them - but that's not really what this is about.
What it's really about is journalism. The fact that "1984" is being sold at Costco, the fact that demand for the classic tale has skyrocketed , is significant. It's societal. And journalists are supposed to write about things like that.
And what does the Post do? They make a joke of it.
This is an organization that, as recently as January, has been busted publishing false news stories. You would think that with its credibility among a growing division of society hanging on by a thread - at best - the Post would turn an event like this into social commentary. This was an opportunity to speak about a changing world.
But instead, the Post went for laughs.
Let it sink in, friends. George Orwell's "1984," a dystopian tale about a society being crushed under the boot of authoritarian regime, is, once again, flying off bookshelves. To the extent that you can now get it at Costco. Let the significance of that truly dig in deep.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post is talking about Cheetos and toilet paper.
LetThemEatRand , Mar 10, 2017 9:56 PMLetThemEatRand , Mar 10, 2017 9:56 PM
It is truly Orwellian that the sheep only take interest in Orwell when someone challenges Big Brother. If I had a Facebook account, I'd post this article straight away.xythras -> Luc X. Ifer , Mar 10, 2017 11:56 PM
It is truly Orwellian that the sheep only take interest in Orwell when someone challenges Big Brother. If I had a Facebook account, I'd post this article straight away.Luc X. Ifer -> Twee Surgeon , Mar 11, 2017 12:46 AM
Well, after all the shit is going down, White House is definitely in distress. Trump gets a taste of his own medicine as he's grabbed by the pussy from all intelligence agencies directions.
And Spicer just proved it today:
White House in Distress? Sean Spicer's Upside Down Flag Pin Unleashes Twitter Frenzy
http://dailywesterner.com/news/2017-03-10/white-house-in-distress-sean-s...Latina Lover -> Luc X. Ifer , Mar 11, 2017 7:16 AM
Read 'Little Heroes' by Norman Spinrad. It's like the dude had a trip to the future which is our present, a completly broken society dominated by corporations exploiting the masses of hedonist mindless snowflakes. In my humble oppinion perfect companion to Orwell's 84.
In the future the class divide between capitalist and worker will have widened to become a virtually unbridgeable chasm. In HG Wells' The Time Machine (1895) this division has become so extreme that humanity had split into two species. The way to keep the underclass under control is to feed them mass-produced pseudo-culture. If - as in Orwell's 1984 (1949) - the technocratic ruling class can get some kind of computer or machine to generate this product, so much the better. In the future, 20th century entertainment forms like TV and movies will have been superseded by more direct experiences that, ideally, feed directly into the brain or, at least - as with the 'feelies' in Huxley's Brave New World (1932) - stimulate more senses than simply the visual and auditory.
And now, here's a book that uses all these themes in one hit, and builds on these classic foundations by adding rock & roll to the mix.
Set in the early years of the 21st century, it shows us an America decimated by devaluation, where unemployment is commonplace and rock music is firmly in the grip of accountants and electro-nerds producing synthesized superstars to keep the proles contented.
http://www.trashfiction.co.uk/little_heroes.htmlpeddling-fiction , Mar 10, 2017 9:59 PM
Washington Post = CIA produced fake news.LetThemEatRand -> indygo55 , Mar 10, 2017 10:05 PM
Please read Philip K. Dick's most recent works for a more accurate description of our dystopian reality.
RIP Philip.Row Well Number 41 -> LetThemEatRand , Mar 10, 2017 10:09 PM
"Strange how paranoia can link up with reality now and then." P.K.D.PodissNM -> Row Well Number 41 , Mar 10, 2017 11:27 PM
Once they notice you, Jason realized, they never completely close the file. You can never get back your anonymity. It is vital not to be noticed in the first place. -- Philip K DickAlaricBalth -> peddling-fiction , Mar 11, 2017 12:13 AM
"The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words."
P.K.D., How To Build A Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days LaterAlaricBalth -> indygo55 , Mar 11, 2017 12:30 AM
Philip was spot on decades before the advent of the CIA's infestation of cell phones and other electronic devices.
"There will come a time when it isn't 'They're spying on me through my phone' anymore. Eventually, it will be 'My phone is spying on me'." Philip K. Dicknapples -> indygo55 , Mar 11, 2017 2:37 AM
Here is a free copy of 1984.
"The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live-did live, from habit that became instinct-in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."bruno_the -> BeanusCountus , Mar 10, 2017 11:31 PM
The irony never fails to amuse:
https://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/07/18/amazon_removes_1984_from_kindle/Mini-Me , Mar 10, 2017 10:01 PM
Sure. Read it again...
As usual, the face of Emmanuel Goldstein, the Enemy of the People, had flashed on to the screen. There were hisses here and there among the audience. The little sandy-haired woman gave a squeak of mingled fear and disgust. Goldstein was the renegade and backslider who once, long ago (how long ago, nobody quite remembered), had been one of the leading figures of the Party, almost on a level with Big Brother himself, and then had engaged in counter-revolutionary activities, had been condemned to death, and had mysteriously escaped and disappeared.
https://wikispooks.com/w/images/f/fc/1984.pdfTwox2 -> Mini-Me , Mar 10, 2017 10:17 PM
1984 was supposed to be a warning, not a user's guide.skinwalker -> Mini-Me , Mar 10, 2017 11:35 PM
Too late...koan , Mar 10, 2017 10:01 PM
Orwell and Huxley were close to the fabians, so they knew what was coming down the pike.
The difference is Orwell grew a conscience and tried to warn everybody.
He probably would have titled it 2036, but 1984 was the 100th anniversary of the Fabian society.Ignorance is bliss -> aloha_snakbar , Mar 10, 2017 10:09 PM
WaPo is fake news, owned by a stereotypical bald headed villain. (Bezos)Anon2017 , Mar 10, 2017 10:08 PM
Maybe Orwell meant 2084. That sounds like a scary year to me...Ms No -> Anon2017 , Mar 10, 2017 11:05 PM
You could also download "1984" for free to your computer or Kindle device. Do a Google search.SgtShaftoe -> Wee_littte_dogee , Mar 10, 2017 10:17 PM
That's actually a waste of time at this point. If anything read Anthony Suttons Wall Street series for free on the internet, or stay here. You already know more than Orwell will teach you at this point. Unless your a mouth breather or blind from herpes of the eyeball. Apparently that is something contracted at birth.
All wars are bankers wars. You can sum 1984 up to that. Actually they didn't even cover that. They just covered mechanisms. Actually they didn't even cover that, just symptoms.
http://modernhistoryproject.org/mhp?Entity=BrzezinskiZMs No -> SgtShaftoe , Mar 10, 2017 10:57 PM
You're fine. Their lists don't have enough enforcers to do jack shit. By the time the first raid occurs, all hell would break loose and they'll all die.SgtShaftoe -> Ms No , Mar 11, 2017 9:10 AM
In order to break that down we have to figure who their enforcers are.
Intelligence agencies. That's a big one.
Some unknown number of police agency staff. Quite a few in many places, like Texas. They obviously have strategic coroners, emergency room staff, etc.
Some unknown quantitity of narco-terrorists out of Mexico/fast and furious funded types.
Some unknown number of our military. They have been purging for decades.
A smaller but unknown number of funded terrorist groups/ ISIS types.
A very large number of our congress, etc.
Probably 2/3 of our Supreme Court
The entire media system and publishing
The easiest way to narrow it down is who do they not have? I give up already. Remember JFK was a long time ago.
The ones most relevant in my mind are the logistics and support as well as the "action" guys (using that term very loosely).
The military, the CIA and a few other agencies have trained combat arms types that are effective. The rest are at various stages of competency. In any event, they still don't have enough competent troops by a long shot. The logistics tail is also very wide and vulnerable.
Mar 17, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Longtooth : March 16, 2017 at 08:08 PM While I think primary education especially has suffered tremendously in the US, education is a terribly necessary but far from sufficient solution to the problems.
The far greater problem, imo, is the distribution of incomes which create the divergences in primary & secondary education.. which is a direct outgrowth of educational funding by school districts, which is differentiated by the tax base, which of course then determines the quality of the education. Add this to poorer lower and lower middle class neighborhoods where both parents work (mostly) in low wage and low benefits jobs and the environment rubs off directly on the kids.
Why do we promote divergence in neighborhood wealth? This is a direct result of and part of income inequality so it's not just the 1% that are the problem.. they're just a popular and clear-cut indicator of it. We create these ghetto-like islands by a political and belief system that promotes "individualism", that believes if you've got a good high paying job that it's because you "earned it" yourself and therefore "deserve it".
Education will not solve the upward mobility issue we now have in spades and which spirals to less mobility by feed-back loops.
Crooked TimberThat's the title of my latest piece in Inside Story. The crucial paraThe term "credentialism" is used in many different ways, some of them contradictory, but the implication is consistent: too many young people are getting too much formal education, at too high a level. This implication was spelt out recently by Dean Ashenden, who contends that "education has not just grown to meet the expanding needs of the post-industrial economy, but has exploded like an airbag." The claim that young people are getting too much education, and the supporting critique of credentialism, is pernicious and false.