October 06, 2005

'Economic Man' vs. 'Status Man' I receive updates from Tech Central Station, basically a neoliberal (and conservative) interactive web publication (not quite a blog, from what I can tell). Anyway, today's TCS has an article from Arnold King that argues that economic differences are preferable to status differences. Unlike the zero sum game of status, economic gain, King asserts (citing Adam Smith) helps others. In fact, academic life would be enhanced if it were more controlled by the market and less by status. Not surprisingly, I disagree. But, I thought the article was worth thinking about. King makes a good point regarding practices of denying accreditation to maintain hierarchy--this has been a practice of colleges and universities, as have admissison strategies designed to maintain class hierarchy by privileging the children of legacies (this is how I got into a good college, by the way, a legacy admission). So why, exactly, do I disagree with King's article? Is it because I think that the claim regarding the benefits of the free market is profoundly, demonstrably wrong (which I do)? Or, is there something else, something about academia? Moreover, is there something to be learned from King's criticisms of status-hungry academics? King writes: Link: TCS: Tech Central Station - 'Economic Man' vs. 'Status Man'. Academic life is very much oriented toward the pecking order, with an incessant focus on ranking individuals, departments, and institutions. Once professors have attained high status within the academic pecking order, they sometimes lose track of the fact that there are other areas...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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