Occupy Management
Published on: November 20, 2011
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  • Jimmy J.

    A nation’s capacity to produce wealth rests on its ability to produce its resources or manufactures that can be add value to be sold in the markets. Oil and gas production, mining, logging, agriculture in its many forms, and manufacturing (ialso in all its forms) are the things that create wealth. This nation has the these resources, but can no longer use them because of environmental restrictions. We can pursue all these productive activities and produce wealth without making our air or water any less pure than it is today. However, the claim that CO2 is a pollutant has doomed those activities. We will become like Russia – resource rich, but poor – except for a different reason. They cannot produce their wealth creating resources because of corrupt governance. We cannot because of a psuedo-religious faith in man made global warming.

    Our future looks much like that of Russia (desperate and gradually becoming poorer)
    unless we return to the practices that made this country wealthy in the first place.

    Small businesses such as your teachers’ co-ops or any other small business cannot thrive unless there are wealth creating activities going forward that create a demand for the small service businesses. It is a matter of what pulls the cart – service businesses or productive activities.

    We must drill, drill, drill for our domestic resources, expedite the permitting of nuclear power plants, build the Keystone X pipeline, re-open our forests to smart selective logging, encourage clean mining practices, pursue clean coal technologies, quit harassing our farmers, manage our fisheries for sustainability, encourage manufacturing through lower taxes and fewer restrictions on building the required plants, and get the NRLB out of the business of picking winners and losers. That would be a good start.

  • MichaelM

    What a wonderful post. There isn’t much in terms of technical substance, but it lays out…might we say a dream.

    The question, then, is how to get from here to there. A few months back, you described a few different kinds of liberalism that have historically dominated liberal thought in America and the rest of the West. I suggested in the comments that the roots of a new liberal order need to be planted in the best soil taken from the old ones.

    A new, network oriented model for education, or for any other industry, would depend heavily in a relatively equitable legal system capable of supporting it. It would depend on public services that aren’t themselves that adequately supplied by distant governmental bodies. What is needed for the evolution you propose here is a revival of local politics and individual engagement with the public sphere here in America.

    People need to get politically involved again, and not just in terms of voting for Presidents and Congress-critters. That’s the only way we’re going to get anything looking like the (somewhat utopian, but still beautiful) network centric economy you’re talking about here.

  • rkka

    “Life after blue is a life with more freedom, more responsibility, more dignity and, generally speaking, more money… even as change becomes more humane and benign.”

    Keep telling yourself this, if it makes you feel better. No words Adam Smith ever wrote were truer than “All for ourselves and nothing for other people has in every age of the world been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” FDR and the Blues put these people in a box. Reagan and the Bushes, with a big assist from Bill Clinton, let them out. And what you have in mind isn’t in their plan.

  • Kenny

    you say, “The decline of the traditional school system does not mean the marginalization and pauperization of teachers”

    To improve education of our young, we need the best of college graduates, not the dumbest

    What it does mean is that those who are teaching today (mostly education majors) won’t be allowed into a classroom unless it is to sweep it clean and empty the trash can.

    .

  • Luke Lea

    It would be nice if public service employees’ wages and benefits were fixed by a formula related to the median or average compensation in their area for similarly qualified people in the private sector.

    Meanwhile they are the last remnant of organized labor in this country, and I applaud them for not going quietly into the night.

  • Frankly, I think your vision of a future educational system is presented through rose-colored glasses, not that parts of it don’t have merit.

    I think the reality is that most communities would not see more choice. I look at my kids’ current elementary school, which has a bit over 300 students, and wonder how many “firms” could actually afford to compete over 300 students given all the necessary overhead costs for education.

    There’s also the problem of transparency and knowledge – how will I know if one “school” is really better than others? There is a lot more to a good school than test scores – I’ve had experience with schools that had great test scores but terrible, unapproachable administration and staff. Education is not like a TV where I can return a product if I’m dissatisfied with the service.

    Added to that issue is that I assume these new “firms” will be able market to get students. We see this with private colleges and trade schools now who are, shall we say, not completely honest regarding the benefits of their programs. I have to deal with marketing in many aspects of my life – do parents really want to have to sift through marketing hype to find which “firm” is really right for them?

    How would such a system account for corporatization of this effort? It seems to me firms will naturally consolidate since size will bring all the usual economic advantages – and then there goes your choice. Maybe “University of Phoenix” will also have nationwide branches of “Phoenix Elementary.”

    Related to that, how are these new firms going to get capital to start up? It’s easy to say that teachers can band together to offer a unique school experience, but we are talking about a business here – who is going to front the money – ie. put their capital at risk?

    And how will this be paid for year-to-year and who will set the standards? Education is typical a local and state-level affair – what happens if these firms decide it’s not cost-effective to provide educational services to certain areas – in other words, how do you achieve universality? Are you going to provide subsidies, compel firms to provide services, or what?

    I’m not satisfied with the current model, but I’m pretty underwhelmed with your utopian vision which makes a lot of rather rosy assumptions on how things will turn out and seems to ignore many non-trivial details.

  • Luke Lea

    Look, Walter, it’s all about the rules of the game: when Congress and the Clinton administration (with the blessings of Paul Samuelson & Sons) passed first Nafta, then Gatt, they unleashed deeply destabilizing economic forces into the world in the interests of a far-off cosmopolitan vision of global equilibrium. We are reaping the consequences of their folly.

  • Scott

    I’m sorry, but a recent quote from a writer for whom I have the greatest respect sums up much of my reaction to the writing in this post, “It takes vacuous puffery to new levels….”

    Not since the planners of Fort Collins had their group hug have I seen such a mushy collection of thoughts. Public education in this country needs significant reform. It does not need musings of a beautiful world where teachers join together so that “What largely disappears in this model is management as we know it.”

    Seriously? Have you spent five minutes in any kind of public school in the past 10 years? Do you understand the variety of parents and children who show up (or don’t show up)? Do you understand that competent principals are what make or break a school?

    You cannot simply try all sorts of new things in education and see what works and what doesn’t. The child on whom you are trying these things out only gets one shot at that curriculum and then he or she moves on. OK, you figured out that it didn’t work so you correct it for the next kid but the one who is already gone just has a lost year to show for your “efforts.”

    Obviously, you have to be able to introduce new techniques, concepts, and strategies but there has to be a fail safe in place so that kids do not become victims of failed attempts. Too many kids have already paid the price for Schools of Education and their publish or perish lunacy.

    I am not a professional educator. I own a small business. There is tons of advice floating out there for small businesses. Most of it seems to be emitted from people who have no clue what it’s like to actually run a small business. I think what you have offered today is similar in that you seem to have very little actual understanding of the “business” you are trying to reform.

    The frustrating part for me is that it is a “business” that desperately needs reform and it needs suggestions from people such as yourself with bright minds and who are motivated only by a sincere desire to improve how we educate the next generation.

    To again paraphrase a great writer, “This is not advice, it is ineffective NGO edspeak propaganda weirdly allowed into the Via Media by editors who are either asleep at the switch or so jazzed up by advocacy that they have forgotten what advice is.”

  • ms

    Like WRM, I have a lot of faith in good old Yankee ingenuity and the historical process. When mired in seemingly insurmountable problems, it is hard to see how anything will change for the better. If you look backwards over the span of history, however, you see how people in this country have improved life through a trial and error process. Problems arise and inventive people try out different solutions and gradually something better emerges. This is how the blue social model came about. It has in fact served important purposes and and we should keep some aspects, but it has gone far overboard. A correction is necessary and will happen.

    I just watched a video of Chris Matthews calling for reforms to the blue model and castigating Obama for not stepping up to the plate. Looks like the left is beginning to acknowledge reality.

    WRM’s vision of the future for education may seem utopian, but the point is that many different groups are experimenting with new kinds of education right now and that will lead to positive changes. New media allows information about what works to get out and changes consequently happen. If people are thinking about better ways to do things and have the freedom to experiment in every sector, better ways to do things will emerge.

    The worry right now is that entrenched interests will prevent the new ideas from seeing the light of day. Unfortunately the blue model is deeply entrenched with unions and various levels of government, but we have a lively debate going on in this country.

    When I think about the present, I am discouraged. But when I think about the innovation and the ultimate good sense of the American people over the span of history I feel great hope, especially in light of the amazing possibilities that smart use of technology engenders.

    People always say that politics have never been so bitter and dysfunctional as now. Well, maybe not in their memory, but study history. Politics in this country have been extremely bitter and divided in the past, and Americans have found a way forward. Bottom line–change is the only constant. Let’s have smart and sensible change, not stupid change that panders to special interests and improves nothing.

  • holmes

    I see the education types are aghast that the model could be changing. It is changing. Overhead costs? You need an internet connection and a computer to receive the feed of the world’s greatest teacher in a subject. Then you just need a tech to run the class/pod or just allow a parent to monitor via homeschooling. The army of teachers we now have, comprised of people who now mostly desire to move up into administration to make more money because they are sick of dealing with the students/parents, will be gone. It’s not just management that will be eliminated, it’s the teachers themselves. And that’s OK.

  • John Burke

    Notwithstanding Scott’s rantings, Mead has some valuable points.

    From 1947 to 1955, I attended a typical American K-8 public school with roughly 500-600 pupils. We had 17 teachers, one principal, one secretary and a part-time nurse. One bus carried about 50 kids who lived well over a mile from the school. One custodian kepf it clean with some part-time late-day help. There were no assistant principals, guidance counselors, psychologists, curriculum planners or other hangers on. There were no teacher aides or hall monitors. Capable teachers played those roles themselves. We had a gym but gym was just another period supervised by our regular classroom teachers. There was no need for a school library because the town cleverly built its public library branch adjacent to the svhool.

    And guess what? There was never any issue of passing on eighth graders who had achieved below grade level. Every one of my 50-odd classmates made out in life very well.

    I shudder to think how much more in constant dollars a school of similar size costs today in a demographically similar area.

    It is a racket, pure and simple.

  • Russ

    Gotta say, virtual schools are exciting as all heck. There’s TONS of money in education… but our institutions keep cutting back on faculty and faculty resources in favor of mushy 6-figure administrocrats. Talk to any teacher, and the first thing every single one of them will cite as a barrier to education is their own administrations stomping their creative and professional energies into the dust.

  • E. Scrooge

    “That doesn’t mean we join Ayn Rand and Ebenezer Scrooge in thinking the progressive movement is rotten to the core.”

    Wimp.

  • Constitution First

    100 years ago, there once was a place for unions in the private workforce, but once their work was done (late 1940’s), unions over-stayed their welcome, and have driven us out of competitive markets, world-wide. There was never a place for public unions, they have bankrupted every municipality they’ve infected, they should and must be abolished whole-sale.

  • Gringo

    Scott:
    You cannot simply try all sorts of new things in education and see what works and what doesn’t. The child on whom you are trying these things out only gets one shot at that curriculum and then he or she moves on. OK, you figured out that it didn’t work so you correct it for the next kid but the one who is already gone just has a lost year to show for your “efforts.”

    Actually, that is a pretty good description of the way the education field has operated for quite some time. Any snapshot of the education field taken in the last 50 years (or more) will show a new theory that will explain it all, which is the next big thing, and which is adopted by the savants in education. The new theory is based more on conjecture than on fact. Five or ten years later, the “next big thing” is swept into the dustbin, to be replaced by the next big theory.

    Cooperative learning. Whole language. Different learning styles. You name it.

  • Keep telling yourself this, if it makes you feel better. No words Adam Smith ever wrote were truer than “All for ourselves and nothing for other people has in every age of the world been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.” FDR and the Blues put these people in a box. Reagan and the Bushes, with a big assist from Bill Clinton, let them out. And what you have in mind isn’t in their plan.

    FDR and the Blues put us ALL in a box …

    … they facilitated the imposition of harder-to-remove masters, many of whom with a similar goal as that described by Smith, albeit couched in a language of soft, cuddly fascism. Greed and self-service are not limited to those whose publicly-stated intention is to make a profit.

    And even those who acted out of altruism were/are highly susceptible to the temptation to maintain THEIR order “for the greater good”, at the expense of shutting out alternative approaches that might serve us better than theirs … as if they considered themselves omniscient.

    As a result of their actions, our self-reliance and neighborly interdependence — the latter being the mechanism Dr. Mead’s co-ops are built upon — were supplanted by dependence upon more and more top-down government intervention to solve our problems FOR us.

    This left us more and more defenseless (outside of the glacial and unpredictable electoral process) from the error and maleficence of the Powers That Be … as we are seeing, in graphic detail, today.

  • koblog

    The Progressive movement has never been a “blue” model. It’s been red all along. And it’s failing today because it’s “Red” as in socialist.

    When government seizes private lands (or regulates private land into non-productivity) and seizes the means of production (GM, Chrysler and the banks and student loans), you have a red model Marx would be envious of.

    The greatest blinder is the belief that money can be “redistributed” as if money means anything. Money is a commonly held exchange unit for labor and productivity. It means something. It means somebody put a shovel into the ground, pulled something out, added sweat and ingenuity, and made it desirable to someone else who was willing to part with their units of labor to have it.

    If you just “spread the wealth around” without the labor and genius part added, it’s all just a joke.

  • Mrs. Davis

    Education is a lot like eating. It’s critical to life. But we long ago stopped eating in the kitchen family style. Now there are lots of options, from the standardized fare of chains to the haute cuisine of exclusive Chez Wherever. All offer sufficient, if varied, nourishment as our epidemic of obesity demonstrates. Why should intellectual nourishment not evolve to a variety of offerings that recognize that one size does not fit all as did physical nourishment?

  • holmes:

    Overhead costs? You need an internet connection and a computer to receive the feed of the world’s greatest teacher in a subject. Then you just need a tech to run the class/pod or just allow a parent to monitor via homeschooling.

    Education is more that simply receiving information. For example, two of my kids are in 1st and 2nd grade – it is simply a bad idea to plop kids that age down in front of a monitor in order to “learn.” That might start to work beginning in high-school but it’s got a lot of downsides. I did most of my graduate-level work online and it was drudgery. Some people do better at it than others. In general, though, young kids are not only learning academic skills, but also social skills, which are just as important. You can’t learn social skills through a video monitor.

  • “It would be nice if public service employees’ wages and benefits were fixed by a formula related to the median or average compensation in their area for similarly qualified people in the private sector.”

    See Colorado. State government workers wages are fixed by a annual salary survey of similar private sector jobs. The survey sets a pay range, and the gov workers then get from the minimum of the range, up to 75% of the range.

    In practice for the last several years, no gov worker gets a pay raise unless the pay range minimum moves them up.

    http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/dhr/totalcomp

  • Kirk Parker

    Professor Mead,

    I’m not really sure how to take your photo illustrations here–in particular, the photo of Ehrenreich immediately below the line “best minds and most honest hearts of the American left”.

    Please tell me that was a bit of visual satire. Please, please…

  • Chase Crucil

    Great post Professor. I usually has something to complain about when I read your stuff, but this essay, which was a pleasure to read, is actually creative and insightful. I’m going to send this to all my friends on Facebook.

  • Luke Lea

    Where’s WigWag when we need him?

  • Luke Lea

    @ – “John says:
    November 21, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    “It would be nice if public service employees’ wages and benefits were fixed by a formula related to the median or average compensation in their area for similarly qualified people in the private sector.”

    See Colorado. State government workers wages are fixed by a annual salary survey of similar private sector jobs. The survey sets a pay range, and the gov workers then get from the minimum of the range, up to 75% of the range.

    In practice for the last several years, no gov worker gets a pay raise unless the pay range minimum moves them up.

    http://www.colorado.gov/dpa/dhr/totalcomp

    Thanks for that link, John. Let’s hope the other 49 states take notice.

  • Charles

    While the details will vary materially from some of those outlined, I think the professor is broadly on track. Stein’s Law is already in play – “Things that can’t go on forever, don’t”. Charter schools already exhibit a few of the characteristics described in terms of specialization and greater latitude but they are still quite constrained. Everyone is beginning to play with different forms of technology enablement. The iceflow is breaking up. A process which absorbs an ever-increasing percentage of resources and produces no improvement in results is a rent-seeking process and must eventually transform or collapse/be replaced. Given the entrenched interests and the magnitude of change required, I think the prospects of self-generated transformation are remote and we are instead faced with replacement.

    Our culture and system of governance (thank you tenth amendment) is predicated on the sacrifice of the short-term tactical efficiency often associated with centralized planning for the longer term strategic effectiveness that arises from pluralism and competition. It is gravely disconcerting to release a frozen, planned, managed, centralized, process as we currently have into the unknown maelstrom of competition not knowing precisely how the solutions will be arrived at. Still more so when it is such a strategic process as education and involves that which we hold most dear, our children. But we do have a long history where competition produces that which we did not know we could achieve by means which we could not anticipate. We have a good basis for the courage of our convictions.

    Not as a refutation of WRM’s point but an elaboration: There are three critical challenges. The Venn diagram overlap of personnel involved in a system that is creative, responsive, customer oriented, results focused, self-correcting, efficiency minded, and courageous (making the trade-off decisions that have to be made) and of personnel involved in the current system is going to be tiny. We are looking at yet another industry in which there will be a wholesale remaking of structure, processes and personnel. The existing personnel will naturally resist every step of the way. Not a reason not to strive for the better outcome, just an observation of the magnitude of the impact.

    The second challenge is even more fundamental. As Hayek observed, you can have freedom (of choice) or equality (of outcome) but you can’t have both. We tend to be committed to the concept of equality of opportunity and when we are speaking of adults that is relatively straight forward (at least conceptually) – rule of law, due process, etc. However, it is more complicated when we are speaking of children who are not agents in their own right but are subject to the decisions made on their behalf by others (their parents). We want, via education, to ensure as much as possible that they are starting from a level playing field. Different cultures (and their underlying differences in values, beliefs and behaviors) yield quite different outcomes. Regrettably, by the time children start school, there is already a three year variance in performance and capability around key measures and that gap widens in school rather than closing. In a competitive system catering to many different value systems, the inequality of outcomes is likely to rise even higher than it is now. Do we have the stomach for that?

    The third issue is one of time. Competition will generate the best long term answer but the length of time that it will take to get to that answer, or answers, might be considerable. Again, do we have the courage of our convictions to stick it out?

    The answer has to be yes but the prospect is daunting.

  • Kirk Parker

    Oh, and for all you detractors: disintermediation has been huge in other industries–anyone remember The Bookstore Formerly Known As Borders? Why shouldn’t this happen in education, too?

    If the primary answer is ‘government regulation’, watch out: that can be changed in the stroke of a pen.

  • Mike C

    Nice vision, but, as always, the hobgoblins are in the details.

    In the past couple of years, I’ve moved from being a salaried employee to an independent contractor and small business owner. There are many things about my new life that I enjoy immensely – the freedom, the fact that (as is often true in my personal case), if creative juices start flowing at 04:00, I can simply fire up the computer and get to work, the fact that my livelihood is contingent on putting out a good product and nothing else – but there also have been some major headaches…

    …for example, major medical coverage. My daughter is uninsurable in the individual market because of a congenital heart condition. Were it not for my wife’s large corporate employer, she would not have major medical insurance. I spent a week trying to find coverage for her on the individual market and that whole experience was worse than getting divorced.

    For Dr. Mead’s idea to work – and I hope and pray it can – there are existing sectors of the economy which will have to undergo a major attitude adjustment.

  • Foobarista

    The real “problem” is the disappearance of bureaucracy. In many ways, bureaucracy is what separates humans from other animals, in that it allows large-scale “out of sight” organizations to function. Other than some insects, no animals that I’m aware of have anything resembling bureaucracy other than humans.

    Bureaucracy is mostly a communications device, and the rise of the Internet has turned a large bureaucracy from a useful and powerful tool into burdensome and relatively expensive overhead. Private industry has either slashed the “paper shuffling” bits of bureaucracy – or the companies have died while more nimble competitors ate their lunch.

    As annoying as bureaucracy is, it did have some good elements. A large bureaucracy was a career path from the bottom to the top of an organization. Getting rid of bureaucracy means everyone is a specialist, including top management, without much in the way of career growth without constant re-education or other re-certification so one can become a specialist at the higher level.

    Bureaucracy also was a good place to “park” people who were ineffective without having to fire them. Prof. Mead’s educational co-ops will be very Spartan bureaucracies (and this is a good thing), but bad teachers will have to quit teaching instead of being “kicked upstairs” into bureaucratic roles, as often happens now. This is also a good thing, but terrifying to existing bureaucrats.

  • Jack

    WRM’s unfailingly blind faith in progress never ceases to amaze. Personally, I have my doubts.

    To give just one example, am I the only one who has noticed that most consumer products seem to be declining in quality? In the perpetual worldwide race-to-the-bottom in manufacturing over the past 15 years or so, companies seek to cut costs and sacrifice quality. Yet, WRM asks us to believe that the future for all of us will be wealthier [with presumably higher quality consumer products produced at lesser expense]?

    One thing I have learned in life is that even wise men are not very good at predicting the future. I have difficulty believing that WRM is any better at it than other wise men.

  • John

    Good luck with this pipedream.

    I read a poll today that showed 50% of the American people believe everyone is entitled to government provided health care.

    Can you imagine the endless media shrieking that would meet any concerted effort to break the teacher union stranglehold on our children’s brains?

    The unions have everything to lose. They will never agree to remove their fangs from our jugular.

  • Kris

    “This system transforms teachers from employees seeking protection from politicians and administrators in a labor union to owners and stake-holding professionals who direct their own work.”

    What? But I wish to devote my life to indoctrinating educating the little ones! Why should I have to accept responsibility for any other facets of my career? Let others take care of all the sordid mercenary details. Consider the lilies of the field!

    “Parents would be free to find the personalities and educational approaches they thought would be most likely to benefit their kids.”

    Education is much too important to allow parents to have a say! (Especially American parents, Lor’ha’mercy.)

    [/sarc]

  • There is a better way…

    Congress passing legislation that ties any expenditure of money to a state to the outlawing in that state of teacher unions would fix all of these problems, with the added bonus of making Democrats actually develop policies that could create fundraising opportunities for them without relying on the money-laundering that is teacher unions.

    We’d all be better-off for it.

  • Desidierus

    “I am not a professional educator.”

    I am.

    Don’t lecture us on whether WRM’s vision will adequately meet the needs of all children; we’re already trapped in a system where the needs of children are the last priority when push comes to shove, and I think people know that.

    That’s why levies aren’t passing.

    There are many inside who are inside because those needs come first with us. Given viable alternatives, we’d take them in a heartbeat.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    You have to be trapped in Blue Model thinking to believe that there will not be enough jobs to go around in the future. If we get rid of the Labor Gangs, the price of labor will go down. Supply and Demand, if the price of labor goes down, then the Demand for labor will rise to balance the Supply.
    The fear of Big Corporations is foolish, as the bigger and more monopolistic the corporation, the quicker it becomes uncompetitive. Look at the Dow 30, how many of the Dow 30 have been on the index for even 50 years? Only 6, 21 were only added in the last 30 years as they replaced dying blue model dinosaurs like the UAW killed GM.

  • Yahzooman

    Please take 11 minutes to check out this innovative video on education reform.

    We are no longer served by a 19th century assembly line system and its uniform widgets.

    http://www.wimp.com/educationparadigms/

  • Hale Adams

    Jack writes:

    “WRM’s unfailingly blind faith in progress never ceases to amaze. Personally, I have my doubts.

    “To give just one example, am I the only one who has noticed that most consumer products seem to be declining in quality? In the perpetual worldwide race-to-the-bottom in manufacturing over the past 15 years or so, companies seek to cut costs and sacrifice quality. Yet, WRM asks us to believe that the future for all of us will be wealthier [with presumably higher quality consumer products produced at lesser expense]?”

    Actually, at least some things are getting better as well as cheaper. And, no, I’m not talking about computers or consumer electronics.

    I happen to own a piece of electronic test equipment, a capacitance test-bridge, made by General Radio circa 1945. Yes, it’s wonderfully made– the level of craftsmanship (both in design and in assembly) that went into making it is astounding. The bridge is older than I am, will most likely still be around long after I’m gone, and it will still be properly calibrated.

    “What’s your point, Adams?”, I hear you mutter. The G.R. Model 740 capacitance test-bridge sold for about $300 in 1945, which works out to about $3000 in 2011 money. For about $30, I can get a modern-day transistorized gizmo that will do the same thing as my old GR model 740 bridge will do, and a lot more besides. And if it breaks, I can go get another one. AND still have $2940 left in the bank.

    Yes, the “good old stuff” was great. It was also hideously expensive.

    Professor Mead is right– if you let people try different things in an effort to improve things, things will improve. But the bureaucrats have to get out of the way first, which is difficult for them to do. They (the bureaucrats) have been told all their lives (ever since they were little and wanted to be policemen and firemen when they grew up) that bureaucrats know best, and it’s better that the world NOT change, the better to systematize (and bureaucratize) things.

    Oh how it must gall the Nancy Pelosis, Harry Reids, and Barack Obamas of the world that the sentiments they hurled at their elders are now being hurled at them:

    Come mothers and fathers
    Throughout the land
    And don’t criticize
    What you can’t understand
    Your sons and your daughters
    Are beyond your command
    Your old road is
    Rapidly agin’
    Please get out of the new one
    If you can’t lend your hand
    For the times they are a-changin’.

    –Bob Dylan

    My two cents’ worth.

    Hale Adams
    Pikesville, People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland

  • a nissen

    Hogwash!
    Too long between readings of Howard Zinn’s People’s History. In the midst of reading the paperback reissue after his recent death, your “our society, with many better educated people than in past generations” has me LOL!

    If that is the case then why are the Occupiers assigned remedial reading of Zinn, something your favorite news source declared “should be required reading” —2003, NYT Book Review?

    As for overcoming years of green revolution/factory farming brainwash, start here:
    http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/fst30years
    http://www.vandanashiva.org/

  • Kris

    “What largely disappears in this model is management as we know it.”

    Which is why your vision will get the enthusiastic backing of those many self-proclaimed “anarchists” at the OWS and other fashionable events.

  • Toni

    We can’t get there from here.

    That is, I can’t see the practical steps that would enable this vision to become real. Not least because teachers’ unions and the rest of the Education Establishment are vehemently opposed, and are long practiced at fighting off school choice and anything else that threatens their hegemony.

    For example, how do parents and teachers get local education laws revamped so they can make these choices? Who will fund the “firms,” and why?

    Success has to be envisioned and then built. Step Two is the hard part.

  • Toni

    “Pensions, benefits and wages have been declining in the private sector; now the last sheltered spots where working people could have decent (though hardly lavish) pay, job security and a worry-free pension are being crushed under the corporate juggernaut.”

    Please specify exactly how “the corporate juggernaut” is “crushing” public union “pay, job security and a worry-free pension.” By definition, corporations have nothing to do with government employment. They are extremely separate entities.

    Really, Prof. Mead, it’s as if corporations are your all-purpose bogeymen. If you don’t like some current economic circumstance, dadgummit, those weaselly corporations (and Wall Street) must be responsible. It’s Always All Their Fault.

    This is the kind of thinking that Blues call crude and simplistic when Reds do it.

  • Kris

    Hale@36, what is ironic is that, contra Dylan, so many of today’s young protesters are wedded to stasis.

    Toni@40: “This is how the world looks through blue-tinted spectacles. … At Via Meadia, we have taken the blue spectacles off.”

  • Toni

    [email protected]: Read all Prof. Mead’s previous posts on the economy. His references to private enterprise are consistently distorted by those infernal, eternal blue spectacles.

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