Snimka govora Wendy Brown: deset posljedica privatizacije sveučilišta

Kako smo već izvjestili na Slobodnom Filozofskom, Kalifornijsko se Sveučilište ove godine suočava s drastičnim rezanjima budžeta, smanjivanjem upisnih kvota, otpuštanjem radnika te povećanjima školarina za nevjerojatnih 30%. Kako bi raspravili krizu financiranja Sveučilišta i upozorili na moguće posljedice ovakvog razvoja događaja, nastavnici Sveučilišta u Berkeleyu organizirali su 23. rujna javnu raspravu, na kojoj je Wendy Brown, profesorica političkih znanosti na Berkeleyu, upozorila da je privatizacija Kalifornijskog Sveučilišta veoma realna mogućnost i nabrojala posljedice kojima bi takav razvoj događaja rezultirao.

Privatizacija sveučilišta, objašnjava Brown, ne znači samo prebacivanje tereta financiranja sveučilišta na studente, sve veći upliv korporativnog novca u obrazovanje, nužno da bi se financirala istraživanja, veću ovisnost o donacijama i slično – privatizacija ustvari znači da će sveučilište kao institucija koja služi javnoj svrsi biti transformirano u instituciju kojoj je cilj prodavati proizvode kupcima: studentima koji kupuju obrazovanje, investitorima koji kupuju rezultate istraživanja.

Privatizacija je jedna od dimenzija neoliberalizma, koji u svojoj osnovi predstavlja širenje tržišnih vrijednosti kako bi one obuhvatile sve sfere ljudske aktivnosti, kako bi tržišni principi organizirali i vladali svakom oblasti ljudskog postojanja. Prema Brown, uvođenje tržišnih principa na sveučilišta putem privatizacije dovelo bi do nezaustavljivog pogoršanja nekih situacija koje već jesu donekle prisutne na sveučilištima, a koje je pobrojala u sljedećih deset točaka:

1) privatizacija sveučilišta smanjila bi pristup obrazovanju, te bi mogućnost školovanja ovisila o kupovnoj moći pojedinca; 2) privatizacija bi dovela do smanjenja osjećaja da različiti segmenti sveučilišta djeluju u zajedničku svrhu; 3) potpora za sve segmente sveučilišta koji nisu dovoljno poduzetnički bila bi smanjena; 4) financirala bi se primjenjiva istraživanja dok bi istraživanja koja nisu primjenjiva ili unovčiva gubila potporu; 5) jedna od posljedica zasigurno bi bilo i prilagođavanje istraživanja kako bi se zadovoljile potrebe onih koji ih financiraju, čime se riskira kompromitiranje ili korupcija; 6) akademska bi sloboda bila izuzetno ograničena na mnogim razinama uslijed potrebe da se udovolji privatnim interesima; 7) eksploatacija radnika bi se povećala; 8) došlo bi do smanjivanja i napuštanja pothvata koji služe javnim vrijednostima ili se bave javnim problemima; 9) dijeljeno upravljanje sveučilištem bilo bi zamjenjeno onim koje se temelji na poslovnim principima, uz sve veće uključivanje neakademskih osoba u odlučivanje o akademskim pitanjima; 10) obrazovanje bi bilo organizirano tako da proizvede “učinkovite sustave davanja poduke” i rezultira ljudskim kapitalom, drugim riječima, odbacilo bi se bogato, duboko, široko i kritičko obrazovanje u svrhu proizvodnje pukih “dijelova mašinerije”.

Pogledajte snimku čitavog govora (na engleskom).





[06:25]

“… is list 10 things that privatization generates as it brings market principles into the very heart of the university. Each of these is already present in the university in some form, but each of these dire consequences would be extended by the intense and rapid privatization with which we are now threatened. So, pr…ivatization entails first: something we’ve all talked about – decreased commitment to educating California’s best students – a shift from meritocracy to plutocracy, a turn away from equal opportunity. As the rush toward out-of-state admissions for revenue purposes makes clear, student access will be, with privatization, increasingly driven by purchase power rather than by who belongs here or whom a public institution is meant to serve. Let alone by the commitment to generating social equality through education, that several of the previous speakers have talked about. So that’s what privatization means first. Second, it means increasing inequality in every strand and strata of the university and a diminished sense of shared purpose within the university. Concretely, this takes the form of huge and unprecedented salary differentials across faculty, within and between departments, it means huge and unprecedented differentials in departmental resources, in graduate student funding packages, and in the cost of under-graduate majors and degrees. It also means the departure from the principle that the diverse teaching and research needs and the diverse revenue generating capacities of the university as a whole that necessarily carry each other that that principle will be departed from. Some research and teaching requires expensive labs or field work, others require only a great library, some research has ready external grant support, others doesn’t, some subjects can be taught only in small venues, like languages, others can be taught in grand lecture halls, it’s only when the whole university has a shared purpose that these differences can be balanced and accommodated. And it’s that shared purpose that is absolutely undone by the dissemination of entrepreneurial principles across the university. Third: privatization means decreased support for all elements of the university that are not as you’d often put it ‘entrepreneurial’. It means decreased support for all aspects of curriculum and research that are not readily applicable or commodifiable. And that obviously especially affects the humanities and arts, the soft social sciences, but it’s not only them. Because privatization also means fourth: deteriorating support for basic research as opposed to applied research. That is, it means not just favouring business over arts and engineering over Shakespeare, it means declining support for exploratory, speculative research in all fields, and that’s the kind of research, widely understood by scholars as the knowledge fundament from which all applications develop. In other words, privatization means ‘out with Einstein’, ‘out with Darwin’, ‘out with Aristotle’, ‘in with Bill Gates’, ‘in with genetic food modifiers’ and ‘in with campaign strategies’. Privatization means fifth: research increasingly contoured by and to corporate and state funders. That is – research that’s not only curbed toward its sponsors, but which often risks overt compromise or corruption, by the very need to serve or attract sponsors. This is already a very familiar story in the sciences, and the corrupting effects of Big Pharma in medical schools is a growing scandal, not only at Harvard, although it’s a very big scandal at Harvard. Just as Department of Defence recognition that anthropology can be useful to counter-insurgency campaigns is bringing a shower of money, but also controversy to corners of that discipline. Sixth, and related: privatization means constricted academic freedom on many levels. From containing the free range of imagination and innovation that results from pressure toward application and obtaining corporate sponsorship to literally silencing faculty who are seen as standing in the way of lending big private donors, and nothing captured this last more chillingly than a tiny incident several years ago, during the British petroleum energy and bio-sciences institute controversy, when our chancellor, formerly quite zealous about academic freedom, privately warned a brave young member of the science faculty that persisting in his objections to the BP deal would discredit him and harm his future. Seventh: privatization means increased exploitation of workers. Privatized institutions and especially privatizing institutions are historically more hostile to unions, more effective in breaking them, subject to fewer labour regulations and contracts and more inclined to make use of part-time work that keeps worker associations and bargaining positions weak. More generally, eight: privatization means shrinking from all public values and public concerns. Consider: when the University of Oregon, affiliated with a watch-dog agency merely monitoring work conditions of American companies in the third world, just checking out the sweat-shops and the child-labour phenomenons, the president of Nike quietly withdrew his thirty million dollar gift to the University of Oregon, and that story has many variations and repetitions over recent years. More generally, as more and more scientific and especially medical research is funded by corporations, incentives openly diminish for research that would serve public purposes. Harvard medical school, to pick an example, now has three professorships endowed by leading sleep medications and none, of course, oriented toward the ravaging effects of malaria and AIDS in the Third world. And that story, too, is repeated over and over… Nine: privatization means replacing shared governance with business management principles, it means increased influence and involvement by non-academics in academic matters. This takes the concrete form of participation by funders and departments and institutes, and again – we saw that with the British petroleum and also Novartis events, but it also takes the form of managerially minded university presidents eschewing the power of faculty to set standards and compass points for their university. Finally, tenth: privatization means education increasingly organized to produce, what president Yudof has called, efficient instructional delivery systems – that’s us, and to generate human capital – that’s you – those were his terms for what UC does and what it offers to the State. And, again, I don’t think he is the problem, but he is a symptom in this language of what privatization entails. Now, efficient instructional delivery systems generating human capital do not represent education on the model that has just been spoken about – developing, deepening, broadening the mind with perspective, with discernment, with historical consciousness, with diverse knowledge’s and literacy’s. Efficient instructional delivery systems generating human capital are not producing thinkers who can apprehend the very processes I am describing, who can trace its history, who can theorize its power, who can calculate its destructiveness, who can limit its losses in art or in poetry. Rather, instructional delivery systems generating human capital are literally producing cogs for the machine or to update the metaphor, generating new bits of linked-in human capital …”

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