Winking champs and the neoliberal university

Neoliberalism has little to do with the liberalism of civil liberties. Rather, it asserts the untrammelled freedom in the market for capital to do what capital does: extract surplus and realise profits. Public institutions that are not capitalist corporations are pressured under neoliberalism to mimic them – so leaders of the neoliberal university behave like apes taking selfies. Principled management of higher education and research would refuse the unethical dominance of the market and the imposition of its priorities where they don’t belong. That would be ethical, by contrast with the ‘ethics’ of university ethics committees, which are about risk management and preventing loss-making litigation or PR disasters. Instead, human resources at universities have practically merged functions with marketing departments.

Scott Poynting

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