Sunday, November 18, 2012

"Industrial Policy" Goes Higher-Ed WIth Walker

Gov. Walker was speaking Out West and quoted ex-Gov. Jeb Bush:

'We shouldn't be paying for butts in seats; we should be paying for outcomes,' " Walker said. "In higher education, that means not only degrees but our young people getting degrees in the jobs that are actually open and needed today, not just the jobs the universities want to give us.

Umnmnnhhhh.....this isn't solid Conservative philosophy.  It's Utilitarianism, which gave birth to "industrial policy" in several (failed) states in the last 100 years or so.  Like, e.g., the Soviet Union.

The growth of the Higher Education Establishment has been predicated on that Establishment's ability to utilize marketing principles to slice and dice "education" into small segments.  Some are 'educated' to become teachers; some to be accountants, some to be engineers, some are doctors, some are agricultural engineers, others are artists.  Or so says their degree, anyway.  Shall we now have degrees in meat-cutting?  Wait-staffing? 

Meantime, the culture is lost.  One would think that a Republican, post-November '12, would notice that.

Anyhoo, that Education Establishment has also persuaded the public that everyone should have a college degree in order to be a Contributing Member of Society.  (I hasten to add that Industry is happy to have the State assume the burden of training their present or future employees; this is not entirely a one-sided phenomenon.)

And Walker's rhetoric suggests that the Education Establishment will know in advance what 'jobs are actually open and needed today.'  Because, after all, the Feds and the States have done such marvelous work in predicting the course of economic activity, right?

Let us remember that in 1960, everyone knew that the US auto industry would continue to dominate the world's automotive markets.  In 1960, everyone knew that computers were few, ultra-large, and horrifically expensive.  In 1960, everyone knew that telephones were attached to wires and couldn't operate without them.  And in 1960, everyone knew that the US wins every war it takes on.

One hopes that Governor Walker will politely but firmly reject the Industrial Policy view of "education" he has adopted at the behest of the Industrial folks, or at least re-examine the premises, before he commits taxpayer money to an 'enhanced' Education Establishment.

For example, the Governor could require that Educators force the little darlings to pass Western Culture 100, 200, 300, and 400 before they leave the ivy-covered walls to meet the New Statism.  Maybe the Industrialists will not be pleased--but we never agreed that 'what's good for GM is good for America,' either. 


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