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The Forum > Article Comments > Justice as a commodity > Comments

Justice as a commodity : Comments

By John Passant, published 13/8/2012

The neoliberal legal system rewards those who can turn out pieces of dross and fluke an occasional grant.

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Unfortunately you are right John.Young students today tell me that a degree means nothing.They have to do a PHD and come out with even bigger debt.

Our education systems have been perverted by infatuation with money, and truth/integrity have little influence on their objectives.

The elites have $35 trillion in off shore tax havens.This is half the World's GDP.The worthless derivative market is 20 times the GDP of the planet and most still live in poverty because of the Govt debt created by this system.$ Trillions are spent on the war machine for more profit and imperialistic endeavours.A very few now control most of the money,energy,media and resources on the planet,thus also control our Govts.

Our taxation agencies have become debt collectors for private banks.They own our productivity by creating from nothing all the money to equal it.

Anyone who thinks that this system is sustainable and just,is an absolute moron.We either rebel or become totally enslaved by this present evolving fascism.
Posted by Arjay, Monday, 13 August 2012 9:39:13 AM
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That makes at least three books that have come out recently which, primarily based on the observations of the practitioners, describe the collapse of Australian universities as places of learning: Margaret Thornton’s book described here, Richard Hil’s “Whackademia – An Insider’s account of the Troubled University” and Donald Meyers’ “Australian Universities: A Portrait of Decline”. Thornton describes the prostitution of law faculties, Hil brings out the shift of university education from pursuit of knowledge to crude vocational instrumentalism, and Meyers’ focus is on the pressure of managerial drones on the constructive processes of teaching and research. Meyers makes the point that vocational competence itself has taken a devastating hit.

All three, in the terms of John Passant’s review of Thornton’s book, are describing the result of the neo-liberal goal of private affluence and public squalour, doggedly pursued by Thatcher, Keating and Reagan and those who followed.

Keating’s instrument for the scene-setting attack on universities was Education Minister John Dawkins who set off probably the most devastating fall in Australian university history (laughingly described as “reform”).

Meyers’ book, by the way, can be downloaded free from (1 MB).

Depicting the decline of universities as a consequence of neo-liberalism (Passant) and calling for better funding will not gain traction in a community propagandised about the need for “austerity” in the light of the Global Financial Heist. The point of attack in my view is to focus on the massive superstructure of managers. I recall reading in The Australian’s Education Supplement a side comment that teaching and research took up 92c in the education dollar in the 1960s, falling to 35c or so by the 1990s. An additional 57c in the dollar (probably worse by now) is wasted on a class of overpaid drones who contribute nothing to the university’s function but instead interfere with it (“shape it”) to its appalling detriment. There must be bright post-grads who could determine the actual figures in a higher degree project. A win-win-win-win situation for academics, students, employers and taxpayers could be summed up as “Restore the Universities - Fire the Drones”.
Posted by EmperorJulian, Monday, 13 August 2012 4:10:40 PM
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Good article; nothing symbolises the decline in the standards of Universites more then AGW climate science growth; this monster, a scientific spawn of Lysenkoism, now dominates government grants and whole universities; it is literally a study of hot air and has demonstrably corrupted peer review and any scientific standard worth preserving. It is just ghastly and its practitioners and supporters are true drones and parasites.
Posted by cohenite, Monday, 13 August 2012 6:31:51 PM
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I bought Whackademia the other day. I heard that one of the Deans at the University of Canberra mentioned that there were currently 178 people in the Assistant Professor stream and about 20 would make it to Associate Professor over the seven years of the contract. One in nine are not good odds. (The number of these contracts will grow rapidly over time. They have only been in place since 2009).

They had some of the 3 year reviews this year to see if people were on track to become Associate Professors over the 7 years contract, but with the Enterprise Bargaining round beginning it looks like they didn't shaft anyone. That'll happen after the rotten EA is done and dusted I would guess, i.e. next year and after.
Posted by Passy, Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:29:10 AM
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The awful present contains within it the danger of romanticising the past. Academics have themselves largely to blame for the rise of the managers - they were too busy quarrelling amongst themselves. Nor were the quarrels about substantive intellectual issues, although sometimes they tried to pretend to be. At base they were career building struggles, which could take the form of rubbishing a rival's ideas. In the decades in which I had a chance to observe university departments up close, from the early seventies to the mid-nineties, both here and overseas, I don't think I can nominate one faculty that wasn't split into two major factions. And the fights were transparently political, not intellectual. The tactics, incidentally, were pretty filthy - quite unbecoming a "community of scholars". In the social sciences and humanities the marxist paradigm reigned supreme, and woe betide the scholar who refused to bow the knee.That this would produce a backlash should perhaps have been foreseen. In any case, that government moved in, and subjected everyone to the reign of the bureaucrats, was an unforeseen consequence less of Dawkins and Keating, dreadful though Dawkins was - but of the largesse of the gorgeous Gough, piper of the new millenium. He seduced academics and university administrations alike with a golden shower of coins, without which they then became unable to cope. He also, as a sideline, destroyed the women's movement by the same simple good-natured gesture of funding it extravagantly. This delivered all women into the maw of the monster mouth of Canberra. Femocrats had a day in the sun, and all women became condemned to bearing children during their lunch breaks.
Posted by veritas, Monday, 20 August 2012 11:57:47 PM
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