European Educational Research Association
European Conference for Educational Research, Sept. 11-14, 2002, Lisbon
In: European Educational Research Journal vol. 1 (2002) n. 3, 550-565
Keynote Speech



Ingrid Lohmann
Commercialism in Education -
Historical Perspectives, Global Dimensions
& European Educational Research Fields of Interest

Around the globe, the systems of public education currently are being transformed into marketized institutions. Education is essential to the basic needs of every individual. But in a so-called "free-market" economy, access to schools and universities is open only to those who can afford it. Jan Amos Comenius, Adam Smith, and Wilhelm von Humboldt, among others, laid the theoretical foundations of public education. Today, however, their ideas are being functionalised by corporate libertarians and "free-market" ideologues. With the help of the WTO´s General Agreement on Trade in Services they promote the abolishment of the public sector worldwide, including the EU. In opposition to this, the struggle for public education cannot be grounded on the demand for free und full access to (higher) education alone. It has to be conceptualised, in addition, within the horizon of a non-eurocentric, postmodern, global public sphere.

What we are dealing with today is the question of whether or not systems of public education will still be there in the future. In most countries around the globe, the public sector – including the supply of drinking water, energy, medical care and other goods – is at stake today. The systems of public education, on which I will dwell here, not only are essential to the basic needs of everyone. They also are essential wherever in the world there is a call to civilisation and modernisation – both in the sense of a high level of cultural and technological development and in the sense of raising to a more advanced state of culture. In this context, it seems of utmost importance for educational research to explore the role of global players like the WTO, the OECD, the IMF, the World Bank, and also the EU (cf. Hirtt, 2002, 2002a).

Since the late Eighties, the OECD, for example, has been one of the most active supporters of the so-called "new consensus in educational policy" or "post-keynesian education policy consensus" – promoting the dominance of a "singular global model of good education [...] centered on the American models" and on the underlying ´philosophy´ of human capital (cf. Klausenitzer, 2002; see also Klausenitzer, 2001, Radtke/ Weiss, 2000, CICE, 1999).

The worldwide processes of privatisation and commodification do not only put public science and education at risk. They are, more than that, designed to put an end to public science and education altogether and replace them with commercialised or marketable forms of knowledge distribution (cf. Levidow 2001). In more or less every European country, we are involved in the processes of abolishing the public sector – and be it only by way of forgetting about the old concept of the commonwealth, the idea of political institutions aimed at the common good of all the people.

So the underlying issue of my speech is whether or not the emerging political, economical, and multicultural unit called Europe will be able to create a new understanding of the classic modern conception of the public or common good, particularly in the field of science and education. The question is whether or not Europeans will be able to take part in the non-eurocentric, multipolar foundation of a – postmodern – global public sphere. The question is whether we will have science and education as public goods in the future or not.

The Beginnings of the Idea of Public Education – Jan Amos Comenius

As is widely acknowledged, the theological and political ideas of Jan Amos Comenius are at the roots of the modern concept of education. Throughout the Thirty Years War and postwar 17th century Europe, the Czech Protestant bishop tried to spread the idea, that education is not limited to church and family, but is a dimension of the social and cultural life in general. And even more, that education is the god-given way to overcome the starving, the killing, the horrors of war, and to create a new order based on the idea of the common good. For Comenius, God was not yet »away on business«.

Therefore, he was convinced that all children, regardless to gender or social class, should attend school and receive the same education so as to understand and improve the civilisation they live in. His educational objective was universal education. As summed up in The Great Didactic (1649), it meant to thoroughly teach all things to all. This concept makes him, as Jean Piaget put it, a forerunner of international education. The same has recently been said by UNESCO´s International Bureau of Education (cf. Piaget, 1993, UNESCO, 2001).

The idea of universal education, however, certainly does not make Comenius the champion of the notion that everybody should be taught just as much as he or she is able to afford, or the propagator of homeschooling or student enrollment in private schools, as groups of Christian fundamentalists in the United States are currently debating. They use the name of Comenius to fight anti-discrimination legislation as immoral propaganda in public schools (cf. Armstrong, 2002, Cutrer, 2002). These groups probably are not aware of the fact, that they are being functionalised by the neo-liberal agents of privatisation and "school choice" who certainly have something else than freedom of (religious or other) world views in mind. We will return to this later.

With regard to Comenius, then, the question seems to be settled as to whether education is a public good, a road to common understanding of the totality of social and cultural life, or whether it is to be a commodity just like any other in our world of so-called global corporate capitalism.

But maybe the Protestant bishop saw things too simplistic, and maybe he missed the modern economic dimensions of science and education altogether. So let us have a short look at one of the founding fathers of modern market economy.

Adam Smith´s Notion of Public Education and the Market Economy

About one hundred and twenty years after Comenius, a former Scottish professor of moral philosophy, Adam Smith, after a lengthy stay in pre-revolutionary France where he had met Voltaire, D´Alembert, and some renowned physiocrats, had this to say: "...man has almost constant occasion for the help of his brethren, and it is in vain for him to expect it from their benevolence only. He will be more likely to prevail if he can interest their self-love in his favour, and show them that it is for their own advantage to do for him what he requires of them. [...] It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages."(Smith, 1776/ 2002, book 1, chapter II)

Therefore, Smith adds, "[e]very individual is continually exerting himself to find out the most advantageous employment for whatever capital he can command. It is his own advantage, indeed, and not that of the society, which he has in view. But the study of his own advantage naturally, or rather necessarily, leads him to prefer that employment which is most advantageous to the society."(Smith, book 4, chapter II)

Today, Adam Smith is regularly paid homage to by corporate libertarians as their intellectual patron saint. David Korten, in his book When Corporations Rule the World (1995/ 2001), points to the irony of this, since it be obvious to even the most casual reader, that Adam Smith would have opposed most of their claims: While corporate libertarians oppose any restraint on corporate size or power, Smith opposed any form of economic concentration, because it distorts the market's ability to establish a price that provides a fair return on land, labour, and capital; to produce a satisfactory outcome for both buyers and sellers; and to optimally allocate society's resources. Through trade agreements, corporate libertarians press governments to provide protection for the intellectual property rights of corporations, while Adam Smith opposed to trade-secrets as contrary to market principles. He would have opposed governments enforcing a person´s or corporation´s claim to the right to monopolise, for example, a lifesaving drug and to charge whatever the market would bear. – We will later come back to the role of trade agreements that are currently being negotiated in the World Trade Organization.

As Korten concludes, corporate libertarians maintain, that the market turns unrestrained greed into socially optimal outcomes. Adam Smith, however, would be indignant at seeing this notion attributed to him: "He was talking about small farmers and artisans trying to get the best price for their products to provide for themselves and their families. That is self-interest, not greed. Greed is a high-paid corporate executive firing 10,000 employees and then rewarding himself with a multimillion-dollar bonus for having saved the company so much money. Greed is what the economic system being constructed by the corporate libertarians encourages and rewards." (Korten, 2001a)

Adam Smith did not like governments any better than he would have corporations. As he points to in the fifth book of his Wealth of Nations, "[c]ivil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defence of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all."(Smith, book 5, chapter I, part 2). On the other hand, Smith never suggested, as "free market" defenders claim today, that there should be no intervention to set and enforce social and environmental standards in the common interest; he doesn´t even use the term "free market", and his notorious "invisible hand" is mentioned only once in the whole work.

In the fifth book of his Wealth of Nations, he especially refers to education as one of those goods which should be publicly taken care of: It is a duty of "the sovereign or commonwealth", he emphasizes, to erect and maintain those public institutions and public works, "which, though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature that the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, and which it therefore cannot be expected that any individual or small number of individuals should erect or maintain." Therefore, according to Smith, next to the military and the judicial systems, two kinds of public institutions should be erected and maintained, one for "the education of youth", and one for "the instruction of people of all ages" (Smith, book 5, chapter I, part 3).

This is not the place and time to go into more detail. But certainly the economic ideas of Adam Smith, especially concerning the relations between education and property, and the reception of his ideas in different European countries are worth-while to be re-examined by educational researchers. In the era of privatisation, rising tuitions, and education saving accounts, this seems to be particularly important, and special regard should be given to the fifth book of Wealth of Nations which economical theorists today hardly ever refer to.

With Adam Smith, public education meant public institutions of education, provided by the church, the community, the government, or society as a whole. He was aware that there were "people of some rank and fortune" and with a generally "good deal of leisure", who might "perfect themselves in every branch either of useful or ornamental knowledge" on their own. He also was aware of the fact, that "the common people" would have less time to spare for education and would have to "apply to some trade by which they can earn their subsistence". But he also thought it possible to establish public schools "for a very small expense", "where children may be taught for a reward so moderate that even a common labourer may afford it" (Smith, book 5, chapter I, part 3, article II).

Today, as the Education International´s congress pointed out last year, the question of affordability of education must be raised again. And on a different scale. In Ecuador, for example, only 40 percent of the children are able to go to school at all, because their parents cannot afford the monthly tuition of 30 USD for the state schools, a sum equivalent to the monthly salary of an Ecuadorean teacher (Heinemann, 2001). – We can conclude here, that public education is not necessarily tantamount to free education. But it remains important to note and study the differences between, for example, the UK or the United States on one hand, and Germany on the other.

Education and the Public Sphere – Wilhelm von Humboldt and the Question of Access to Public Education

The German linguist and educational reformer Wilhelm von Humboldt had thoroughly read Smith´s work some fifteen years after its publication, when he set out to examine The Limits of State Effectiveness (Humboldt, 1792). Humboldt argues that the sole purpose of the state is to protect the lives and property of its citizens; liberty plays the central role in individual development, and the criteria for limiting individual actions by the state should be very rigid. This work is regarded by many as an introduction to classical liberal political thought. Friedrich Hayek, the father of neo-liberalism alongside to Milton Friedman, even called Humboldt "one of the great advocates of individual liberty" (Hayek 1960, p 378). [0]

Again it is open to debate whether the neo-liberals have misunderstood a classic author, because the early theories of market economics, in contrast to free-market ideology, specifically stated basic conditions governing the setting of market prices in the public interest: "The greater the deviation from these conditions, the less socially efficient the market system becomes. Most basic is the condition that markets must be competitive."(Korten, 2001a) In contrast, neither Friedman nor Hayek acknowledge the fact, that today global corporate players use their economic power to drive weaker players from the market.

So it might be of interest to present-day educational research to point out the gaps between neoliberal economic theory and classical liberal thought, and particularly the classical philosophy of education. If educational research postulates differences between the systems of global economy and the systems of education – if it insists that education and business follow different kinds of logic – then the groundwork is laid for challenging neo-liberal reductionisms in economic theory.

Humboldt too, although for other reasons than Adam Smith, thought it inevitable to put a charge on the access to public education, at least to public higher education. But it has to be stressed, that Humboldt, at the same time, added a new dimension to the notion of public education. When Prussia was defeated by France´s revolutionary troops, a window for reforms seemed to open. Humboldt and others took the opportunity to put into practice a wide range of measures designed to change a late-absolutist regime into a modern bourgeois capitalist society. And though many of these reform policies experienced a roll-back only a few years later, the idea of a liberal Prussian state – based on universalized souvereignty, combining education, liberty, and property rights – was formed.

In addition, taking advantage of the linguistic turn in philosophy and sciences around 1800, Humboldt and other thinkers were able to bring the content of public education, its subject matter, into play. For public education, in Humboldt´s view, was related to the emerging bourgeois public sphere. According to him, public institutions constituted more than simple ´service centers´ being maintained by the state in the public interest. Public education had to have a universal reach; its philosophical foundations had to orient the individuals towards the totality of the emerging society, basically to a world society. So by definition, public education had to differ from vocational, particular and practical forms of knowledge acquisition useful only to certain segments of society.

What Humboldt and others had in mind was to enable the individual, wherever its place in the still-given order of things, to actively take part in creating a public sphere, which was conceived as a universal sphere – of communication, information, (political) argument and speech – mainly on the national level, but also beyond. The idea of public education was to prepare individuals to be and to act as citizens. Public education and science, in this view, were generalized functions of emerging civil society, whereas the role of the state was to establish and maintain the necessary institutions along the way. Apart from that, the advancement of science and philosophy was to be left to the competition of talents and ideas, particularly at the universities (cf. Sorkin, 1983, Lohmann, 1993).

What classical liberal philosophy of education did not reflect, though, was the problematic link between education, liberty, and property. This combination, constitutive as it was for bourgeois capitalist societies, thus, by not being carefully scrutinized, began to undermine modernity´s call to universalized souvereignty (cf. Lohmann, 2000).

There are at least two important lessons to learn from this excursion into earlier centuries.

First, public education cannot – at long last – be grounded on the demand for free and full access to education alone. As I mentioned earlier, even in Germany, where we had this kind of access until recently, now, in the era of New Public Management, ´human capital´ thinking [1], and severely curtailed national budgets are finally encroaching. But limited state budgets are no act of fate, they are a result of economic and political pressures that can be counter-acted. Educators should join the current debates on taxation, not only with regard to the Tobin-tax [2], a rather specific issue, but with regard to the general distribution of wealth.

The demand for free access to education today is also discarded with the argument that individual benefits of higher education – be it in terms of employability or lifetime earning – exceed the individual costs by far. Adam Smith, as we saw before, had a different opinion here. So this point, too, calculating individual costs and benefits, is certainly worth exploring in educational research. On top of this, we have a line of argument stating that the benefits for society as a whole by far exceed the costs of free and fully accessible public education. The German Standing Working Group for Alternative Economic Policy (2002) has provided ample material for this line of argument. In any case, a closer co-operation between economic and educational researchers would be a very good option.

Of course, many developing countries simply do not have the funds to sustain this kind of education systems. Here, the World Bank and the IMF would have to alter their policies completely. But instead, both of them put these countries under pressure to privatise what little they have of a public sector, including education. Therefore a considerable amount of counter-pressure would have to be generated worldwide in favour of the idea of free and fully accessible public education. The National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB, 2002), with their current campaigns against the commodification of education in the WTO´s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), already are doing remarkable work in this respect.

Secondly, and I think this is an essential point, the demand for free and fully accessible education should not be reduced either to the national or the European level any longer. The simple reason for this is, that the fundamental problems of the future of mankind cannot be debated or solved on a regional basis. Combining this simple fact with the ancient concept of commonwealth and with a revised – actually universalized – version of souvereignty, a fascinating task for educators is taking shape: to conceptualise something like a global public sphere. Formulating and implementing a task like this would keep us abreast of these postmodern times, would give the notion of ´one person/ one vote´ a contemporary meaning, that neither a corrupt administration nor a greedy transnational corporation could buy you out of.

Reducing, on the other hand, the call for free and fully accessible education to Europe alone would be tantamount to establishing a gated community, a ´fortress Europe´. Of which we naturally might be the profiteers, but at the same time we would stay prisoners of »the ones that we kept in charge«.

The Two Paradigms for the Discussion of Modernity – Enrique Dussel´s Critique

So there is no alternative to a global – even planetary – concept of a universal public sphere. Developing this concept certainly is an ambitious task, philosophically and politically. According to Enrique Dussel (1998), all of this cannot be discussed on the grounds of the eurocentric paradigm of modernity. The eurocentric paradigm views modernity as an exclusively and internally European phenomenon. For Dussel, this is the result of a pseudo-scientific periodization of history, having antiquity as antecedent, being followed by the medieval age as preparatory epoch, and finally the modern age with Europe and its alter-ego, the USA, at the centre of all things that matter.

The planetary paradigm on the other hand views modernity within a system of centre-periphery: with Europe being both the centre and a part of the world-system as it has emerged with the discovery, colonisation, and integration of Amerindia: modernity thus being the result of a set of cultures and techniques which were invented for the management of this new centrality established during the age of discovery. (This, by the way, would bring us back to Comenius.)

Dussel, in this context, has criticized, that postmodern philosophers of the centre might, on a theoretical level, affirm difference, but would shy away from contributing cultural, economic, and political alternatives "for the peripheral nations, or the peoples or great majorities who are dominated by the center and/ or the periphery" (Dussel, 1998, p 18). This is one of the reasons why he is defending the viewpoint of the periphery within the planetary paradigm. For the task of conceptualising public science and education within a global public sphere, Dussel´s considerations are particularly useful (see also H. Peukert, 1992; U. Peukert, 1997).

He explores three limits of modernity: First, the ecological destruction of the planet. For modernity, nature is only a medium of production; the sole measure for the management of resources is the increase in the rate of profit: "But capital cannot limit itself. In this lies the utmost danger for humanity." (Dussel, 1998, p. 20)

The second limit of modernity is the destruction of humanity itself. Dussel argues that, in addition to natural resources, living labour is the essential mediation of capital. Trying to defeat this barrier, capital augments productivity through technology. What follows is the decreasing importance of human labour, leading to "superfluous humanity": "The unemployed do not earn a salary, that is, money; but money is the only mediation in the market through which one can acquire commodities to satisfy needs." Increasing unemployment and a growing proportion of needy subjects establish "poverty as the absolute limit of capital" (ibid.).

The third limit of modernity, according to Dussel, is "the impossibility of the subsumption of the populations, economies, nations, and cultures that it has been attacking since its origin and has excluded from its horizon and cornered into poverty. This is the theme of the exclusion of African, Asian, and Latin American alterity and their indomitable will to survive." Here, the globalizing world-system "reaches a limit with the exteriority of the alterity of the Other". To affirm this "locus of ´resistance´", Dussel concludes, is the beginning of "the process of the negation of negation of liberation" (ibid., p.21). Similar arguments, centering around the concept of the ´multitude´, have recently been put forward by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their book Empire (2000) [3].

Abolishing the Public Sector – The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

At the moment, the last word in the field of public education, or so it seems, is with the World Trade Organization and its current push of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, GATS.

The Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation has recently stated, that "[c]ontrary to popular belief, there is significant trade in higher educational services: a rough estimate puts the value of this trade at about $US 30 billion in 1999, equivalent to 3 percent of total services trade in OECD countries." (OECD, 2001) The GATS is, among other things, about expanding this trade through the commercialisation of public education and by making available public funds for education to transnational education services suppliers.

In 1995, the GATS was extended to educational services. To date, thirty eight WTO member countries already have agreed to "liberalise" at least one sector of their education systems. Of these countries, more than half made commitments with regard to the education sector. "They have therefore undertaken to reduce or even completely eliminate the barriers to the supply of educational services from abroad. The leaders in educational trade include Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Britain." (Fouilhoux, 2002)

Public Citizen, a US based global trade watch organisation, has stated, that the existing GATS regime of the WTO already is comprehensive and far reaching. The current rules seek to phase out all governmental barriers to international trade and commercial competition in the services sector. This covers every service, including public services in sectors that affect the environment, culture, natural resources, drinking water, health care, social security, transportation services, postal delivery, a number of municipal services, and education. Its constraints apply to all government measures affecting trade in services, from labour laws to consumer protection – regulations, guidelines, subsidies, grants, qualifications and licensing standards, limitations on access to markets, economic needs tests, and local content provisions (cf. Public Citizen 2002).

The WTO Conference on Trade in Services had declared that until the end of June this year, WTO member countries had to formulate their demands towards other countries. Until the end of March next year, the member countries must indicate which areas they are prepared to "liberalise". For these current negotiations, Australia, New Zealand and the USA submitted new proposals with regard to higher education – "a move that is obviously related to the fact that the educational services in these three countries are [... the leading commercial] ´suppliers´ world-wide" (Fouilhoux, ibid.). Negotiations regarding these claims for EU member states are entrusted directly to the EU.

Since 1995, the extension of the GATS to the education sector already has deeply modified the environment in which higher education must function. Parallel to that, the new information and communication technologies are being reduced to creating opportunities for commodification. Instead of fulfilling their specific promises to bring us closer to open knowledge access worldwide, these technologies are reduced to extending the market of for-profit educational services (cf. Lohmann, 1999, 2002). It is no wonder then, that a complementary WTO area of authority concerns the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) which, among other things, aims at domesticating the true potentials of the new media, especially of the Internet.

The EU, in spite of its former claims in the GATS negotiations not to support further "liberalisation" in the field of education, recently followed a Dutch intiative, formulating a demand directed at the USA to "liberalise" their tertiary education sector. The reason being that the sector of higher and adult education and training by now is the most important segment of the world education market, and that the United States are particularly competitive here. With this claim against the US, the EU not only encourages the United States to formulate further demands of their own against the European education systems, opening universities and other institutions to US-profit interests. With this recent move it also became clear, that the EU follows its own interests of restructuring its education systems according to market opportunities. Whether we are aware of the fact or not, the EU member states already have declared their consent with this EU-position this summer (cf. International Pupil- and Studentactions 2002).

A side effect worth noticing is that the EU member states thereby have automatically declared their consent to treat education as an international trade commodity just like steal, chemical products and the like: If you let my pharmaceutical products in, I will let your educational services cross my border. The consequences of this subsumption of national educational systems under the GATS are quite unclear yet. But they certainly would not allow defenders of the idea of public education to sink back into their easy chairs.

In this context, it should be noted that last year the Presidents of the European University Association (EUA [4]), together with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC [5]), the US-American Council on Education (ACE [6]) and the US-Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA [7]) signed a Joint declaration on Higher Education and the GATS (2001), announcing resistance.

The main aim of the declaration was "to make it widely known that the academic communities on both sides of the north Atlantic oppose the inclusion of higher education services in the GATS negotiations". The signatory organisations asked "all actors in the inter-governmental GATS negotiations – national governments in Europe, the USA and Canada, the European Commission – not to make commitments in higher education services or in the related categories of adult education and other education services in the context of the GATS. Where such commitments have already been made in 1995, no further ones should be forthcoming".

The signatory organisations from both sides of the Atlantic made it perfectly clear, that they are not in opposition of internationalisation and quality review practices. In fact, they expressed "their members´ own commitment to reducing obstacles to international exchange and co-operation in higher education using conventions and agreements outside of a trade policy regime. This commitment includes [...] improving communications, expanding information exchanges, and developing agreements concerning higher education institutions, programs, degrees or qualifications and quality review practices." (EUA 2001a; in addition to this, in March 2002 the EUA signed a Joint Declaration with The National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB), in which this position was re-affirmed.)

One outcome of the GATS might be, that what is left of affordable public higher education – and secondary and primary thereafter – will be gone by the end of the next decade. Even in rich countries, growing proportions of the population will suffer dramatically for this. In poor countries, the consequences will be disastrous.

The European University Association itself raised these questions again only recently, last June. Pondering the impact the GATS will have on the Bologna process, it states as follows: "European higher education is historically publicly funded, albeit with increasing ´private´ aspects (e.g., tuition, endowment, industry/ university contracts). The creation of a European space for education and research does not affect these changes but aims at promoting the dynamism of the sector while safeguarding its academic and public service aspects. Might the process of globalisation, which will be accelerated through the GATS, weaken the European space for higher education and research before it had a chance to function fully and contribute to the construction of Europe? If the priority of European governments is to build a strong Europe through the Bologna process, then a risk/ benefit analysis of the GATS´ likely impact on the construction of Europe must be carefully assessed." (EUA 2002)

This statement allows me to suggest that it would be well worth the combined efforts of European educational researchers from different countries to immediately as well as thoroughly explore the possible consequences and outcomes of the commercialisation of education as promoted by the GATS and the EU. Maybe the European Educational Research Association itself, with the help of the Internet, could function as a clearing house for scientists who would like to join in such research efforts.

It is Not From the Benevolence of the Butcher that We Expect Our Dinner

One final remark. I referred to the situation in Ecuador before. But even in the US, where the business idea of a "singular global model of good education" originates from, even in the US the new wave of neo-liberal education policies is increasingly regarded as »free cheddar in a mousetrap«.

Last April, the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education (2002) published a study entitled Losing Ground: A National Status Report on the Affordability of American Higher Education. The report notifies the public, that increases in tuition have made colleges and universities less affordable for most American families; that federal and state financial aid to students has not kept pace with increases in tuition; that more students and families at all income levels are borrowing more than ever before to pay for college; that the steepest increases in public college tuition have been imposed during times of greatest economic hardship; and that state financial support of public higher education has increased, but tuition has increased more.

We heard Adam Smith say: It is not from the benevolence of the butcher that we expect our dinner. The same holds true for a global public sphere and an emerging worldwide public education system. It is not to be envisioned because »there´s always such a big temptation to be good«, but we as educators – in our best moments – have always operated in wider horizons than even global corporations. We may be subject to an extensive lobbying machinery, to corrupt political leadership, to our very own greed, but we also have an inkling of what universal education might mean beyond that.

Historically then, globalisation from below, as experienced, for example, in the Fórum Social Mundial (2002) and in the Porto Alegre (2002) process, will serve our self-interests far better. And even CEOs´, who have been fired for their accounting practices, and leading political leaders, who have retired in disgrace, might find solace in telling their greatgrandchildren tales about how it once was, in late capitalism, thereby taking education to where it belongs.

Or, as Fredric Jameson (1998, p. 57) has put it, "beyond the dawning celebration of cultural difference, and often very closely linked to it, is a celebration of the emergence of a whole immense range of groups, races, genders, ethnicities, into the speech of the public sphere; a falling away of those structures that condemned whole segments of the population to silence and to subalternity: a worldwide growth of popular democratization – why not? – which seems to have some relationship to the evolution of the media, but which is immediately expressed by a new richness and variety of cultures in the new world space."


[0] [Cf. Hayek, Die Verfassung der Freiheit. Tübingen 1971, p 465: "...einem der großen Vertreter der individuellen Freiheit"]
[1] For a particularly rude version see Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft 2002.
[2] As is proposed by ATTAC, http://www.attac.org/indexen/index.html, for example, 2000.
[3] In this widely discussed book, Hardt and Negri show how the emerging Empire is different from the imperialism of European dominance and capitalist expansion in previous eras. Empire identifies a radical shift in concepts that form the philosophical basis of modern politics – sovereignty, nation, people: "Hardt and Negri link this philosophical transformation to cultural and economic changes in postmodern society – to new forms of racism, new conceptions of identity and difference, new networks of communication and control, and new paths of migration. They also show how the power of transnational corporations and the increasing predominance of postindustrial forms of labor and production help to define the new imperial global order." (Harvard University Press, http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/HAREMI.html)
[4] Representing 30 national Rectors’ Conferences and 537 individual universities across the European continent.
[5] Representing Canada’s 92 public and private not-for-profit universities and degree-level colleges.
[6] Representing 1,800 accredited degree granting colleges and universities in the United States.
[7] Representing 3,000 accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and 60 recognised institutional and programmatic accreditors in the United States.


Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft für internationalen Dialog. Ein Forum der Deutschen Bank (2002): Wieviel Bildung brauchen wir? Humankapital in Deutschland und seine Erträge. Frankfurt a.M.

Armstrong, Chris (2002) A Protestant Bishop Speaks Out on the Stakes of Public Education, in Christianity Today, August 30, http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/newsletter/2002/aug30.html.

ATTAC, Association pour une Taxation des Transactions financières pour l´Aide aux Citoyens (2000) Tobin Tax, Speculation and Poverty, http://attac.org/fra/toil/doc/attacliegeen.htm

CICE, Current Issues in Comparative Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, vol. I, n. 2 (1999) Education in the Market: Free Markets, Flea Markets and Supermarkets, http://www.tc.columbia.edu/CICE/articles/edintro1_2.htm.

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