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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “May 2, 2017”

Neoliberalism Appropriates Egalitarianism

One of the greatest parts of McGuigan’s book is a discussion of how the idea that public provisions should not be extended to everybody actually does the dirty work of neoliberalism. 

Remember how Bernie was demolished for suggesting free college for everybody? And a bunch of idjits started clamoring that he was trying to make taxpayers pay for billionaire kids attending community college? 

And remember how Canada’s Justin Trudeau is eliminating childcare provisions for the well-to-do?

They mask behind egalitarian rhetoric while taking a very tried and true step in the direction of dismantling welfare. The idjits and Trudeau are creating (or reinforcing)  a structure of feeling where means-testing reigns supreme. The next step is to wield the means-testing in a way that will cut off almost everybody and voila! No more welfare for anybody. 

It’s insidious as shit because the rhetoric of fairness is appropriated to serve neoliberal ends. Yes, we have bravely resisted Bernie’s insidious plan to pay for community college for Trump’s grandkids. Yippee for us. 

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An Embarrassment 

The colleague from ‘Bama who’s my academic twin goes to at least 5 conferences a year. Paid for by her school.

I went to three this year, and two of them were financed by my husband. Which I find embarrassing. 

My university doesn’t fund travel to overseas conferences by the way because “everything you need is right here in the US.” We are so worldly it hurts. 

EO, Part II

The best thing about the contest is that all 55 of this year’s contestants are not in the least about the degenerate philosophy of “all we want is to make MAH-NAY.” There is a social cause at the heart of each of their projects. You win because you have a project with a great cause.

EO is 100% not-for-profit and volunteer based. Imagine the logistics of organizing an event with representatives of 55 countries, including the judges, the viewers and the contestants, and you will understand the insane amount of work it involves. The contest is accompanied by all sorts of events and activities for the contestants, so it’s not just the competition that they experience. 

There is no governmental involvement at any level that I have been able to spot. These are simply successful people who have achieved a higher level in the Maslowian hierarchy of needs and want to do something good for the world. And this is precisely what the world needs now that national governments are turning into clown shows and retreating from doing anything valuable for people.

And by the way, shame on us, academics, that we have nothing of the kind for young scholars all over the world. As I discovered in my mentorship experience this year, young academics from developing countries are desperate for the most basic kind of help that we could easily provide to them, facilitating their access to first-world academia. There are some very basic things they simply don’t know and could find out easily if somebody were willing to offer help.

All of our empty blabber about how we are into diversity and against racism and sexism is worthless because we do nothing to help budding academics from the rest of the world join our closed membership club of academics. To think that an organization of business people is better at inclusion and diversity than we are! Shame on us.

EO, Part I

And now, folks, I want to publish a couple of feel-good posts that will brighten up your day.

EO is an international organization of entrepreneurs that has chapters in almost all countries of the world. It accepts successful entrepreneurs who get together to conduct a variety of programs. One program is an accelerator for young businesses who are put together with successful business people acting as mentors and helping them to succeed.

But the EO’s most impressive venture is an international competition for entrepreneurial students. Each country holds its own contest and sends the winner to the international competition. This year the international contest was held in Frankfurt. Young contestants are brought in completely free of charge and the organization takes care of their visas.

This year, the winner was an 18-year-old kid from Mexico who invented a device that a woman puts in her bra and wears for 6 hours, after which the device tells if she has breast cancer with a 20% greater efficiency than a mammogram. And the best part is that he is planning to sell the device for $100 to make it available to everybody.

The second place went to a young woman from Malaysia who created a program that brings cheaper books to a population where reading rates are historically low.

The third place went to a young fellow from Pakistan who invented prosthetics that are 10 times cheaper than the cheapest existing ones.

A Disconnect

During the Recession, there was this horrible episode of Shark Tank, the worst ever I’d say, where a fellow from an economically depressed area talked about how bad things were in his region and cried. This burly working class man was shaking and crying because so many people he knew were jobless and floundering. 

He said all he wanted was to bring some jobs to his town. And the sharks eviscerated him. They yelled at him and mocked him for refusing to take his manufacturing to China. It was painful to watch. 

I saw a rerun of that episode the other day and thought there was no way this guy didn’t then go and vote for Trump. 

Pundits insist on seeing such people as members of a gender or a race because that allows them not to see such folks as members of a social and economic class. And that’s a growing class, by the way. 

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