Michael Victory
Crooked creeds and due diligence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By Michael Victory
March 15, 2011

Democrac-archy

In an oligarchy, or a government run by only a few, often the wealthy, decisions about education reflect the interests of the wealthy. In a democracy, ultimate decision about education lies in the hands of the citizens. What subsists today?

Too Much

There is increasing intervention by the state in economic affairs, including the economics of education. According to Friedman (1955), education is largely paid for and almost entirely administered by governmental bodies or non-profit institutions, and the result has been an indiscriminate extension of governmental responsibility. Not much has changed since Friedman wrote, as government funding is a major source of higher education revenues. A few weeks ago I was surprised to read that Stanford University, a private institution, received around $1 billion for the 2010-11 school year (Stanford University, 2011). It turns out Stanford is not so private after all.

It seems to me politics and big business should play less of a role in education decision-making, as our democracy increasingly seems more like oligarchy. Charles Ferguson is the producer, writer and director of the recent Academy Awarding winning documentary Inside Job, the story of the global financial crisis of 2008, that cost tens of millions of people their savings, their jobs and their homes. Ferguson (2010) writes,

    Over the past 30 years, the economics discipline has been systematically subverted, in much the same way as American politics — by money, especially from the financial services industry. Many of the most prominent economists in America are now paid to testify in Congress, to serve on boards of directors, testify in antitrust cases and regulatory proceedings, and to give speeches to the companies and industries they study and write about with supposed objectivity. This is not a marginal activity; it is now an industry, run by a half dozen large companies. Some prominent academics have close ties to financial services yet neither their university employers nor the journals in which they publish require them to disclose their conflicts of interest, their financial positions, or the relationship between their financial interests and the policy positions they take.

This practice is unfair, biased and unjust. Should educational institutions have better policy regarding conflicts of interest? I agree with Ferguson (2010), "At minimum federal law should require public disclosure of all outside income that is in any way related to professors' publishing and policy advocacy. It may be desirable to go even further, and to limit the total size of outside income that potentially generates conflicts of interest."

Information Mastery

Are you and those you are close to information literate? Information prepackaging in schools and through broadcast and print news media encourages people to accept the opinions of others without much thought. To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is desirable and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the desirable information. The information literate among us, are truth seekers who never stop asking questions. Information literate citizens are able to spot and expose chicanery, disinformation and lies (ALA, 1989).

Do Your Own Due Diligence

Has our democracy transmuted into an oligarchy that serves the wealthy rather than the common citizen? In an effort to think more critically, it is my belief more folks should begin the journey towards achieving greater information literacy, a process that begins with question asking.

American Library Association. (1989, January 10). Residential committee on information literacy: Final report. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from http://news.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/whitepapers/presidential.cfm

Ferguson, C.M. (2010, October 14). The director of 'Inside Job' replies. Financial Times. Retrieved from http://blogs.ft.com/economistsforum/2010/10/the-director-of-inside-job-replies/

Friedman, M. (1955). The role of government in education. Economics and the Public Interest.

Stanford University. (2011). stanford.edu. Retrieved from http://www.stanford.edu/

© Michael Victory

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

 

Stephen Stone
'The fervent prayer of the righteous'

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Utah Dems try to scare voters away from Trump and House hopeful Burgess Owens with imaginary threat of 'renewed nuclear testing'

Cliff Kincaid
The murder plot against the president

Joan Swirsky
Heads up, liberal Jews––Don’t be Jews with trembling knees

Michael Bresciani
The only election in America’s history when a vote can become an act of repentance

Bruce Deitrick Price
K-12: Errol Flynn and appearances can be deceiving

Steve A. Stone
Letter to President Trump. 26 Oct 2020

Louie Verrecchio
Election 2020: The outcome is certain

Victor Sharpe
The laptop from hell

Peter Lemiska
Biden’s covert conversion to socialism

Selwyn Duke
Unseen and unsaid: The most telling character difference between Trump and Biden

Rev. Austin Miles
Public apology to Rev. Erwin Lutzer

Tom DeWeese
We are winning victories!

Laurie Roth
What does the real record show? Trump—loyal America, Biden—corrupt politician
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Jamie Freeze Baird
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites