As William Deresiewicz describes in "The Neoliberal Arts," "neoliberalism" reduces all "values" to market values, so that the question of "what is the value of a college education?" can only be answered in monetary terms -- such as, "$1 million more in lifetime earnings, on average, than those with only a high school education." But aren't there other ways of "valuing" a college education -- in terms of having an educated citizenry, more widespread prosperity, better quality of life, and greater critical and moral consciousness? College is good not only for earning more money but for making graduates into better people and helping to build a better society.
Besides reducing all values to monetary terms, neoliberalism also reframes "value" in terms of individual or private interests rather than social or communal interests. As suggested by the readings collected in "Understanding Privatization," college becomes (under the privatization wrought by neoliberalism) an investment vehicle by which individuals can make more money, rather than a social institution by which society can be strengthened and enriched, especially through the making and sharing of knowledge. When the state defunded higher education, colleges were thrust into the marketplace and began to function like businesses, focused on the bottom line of making money to stay afloat.
How do the terms and ideas from the readings on neoliberalism and privatization help us to make sense of specific cases presented by some of our other readings, including those we discussed last time (Armstrong & Hamilton, Ho, and The Red) and Default: The Student Loan Documentary? Be sure to reference specific quotations or examples from at least two of the readings in your response. And return to reply to another student's response to gain the full 2 points participation.