The section we publish here accents the philosophic. In discussing an essay of Emerson, Mr. Siegel does something amazing and mighty: he explains what good is. And he speaks about the motive which now must be the basis of economics if economics is to succeed and to stop causing misery. That motive is good will, which is, as he says, no soft, vague thing, but tough and critical.
The main reason why you or any enterprising person organizes abusiness is to make money. You do this by earning more money than youspend. The amount of money left over after subtracting your businessexpenses from your business income is known as your profit. In thefree enterprise system, business firms try hard to keep costs downand increase their income from sales. The better they succeed atthis, the higher are their profits. Economists describe the effortsby business firms to earn the greatest profits as the profit motive.
The proliferation of capitalism and industrialization in the second-half of the 19th century was a major catalyst that shaped and defined the modern university. This extensive transformation of the social, economic, and political realms of the American landscape prompted a major ideological divide regarding the purpose, structure, and principles of the higher education system. The newly emerged business superpowers, with tremendous influence and capital, were forthright in expressing their dissatisfaction with the existing higher education system. For these "captains of industry" (like Andrew Carnegie) -who commanded the job-market and capital endowments- the morally and productively superior education consisted solely of knowledge with economic "usefulness." During this period (beginning of 20th century), the occupation-based "business”" curriculum (pushed and funded by many capitalists) was founded in prominent Universities (UPenn, NYU, Harvard, Berkeley, etc.) across the country (7).
Throughout the 20th century this transformation and debate of the University system has progressed. In recent decades, economic pressures have transformed the American ideology of higher education into a "necessity" for any sort of success or stability. As a result, higher-education institutions and the students that attend them have drastically changed: college applications, admissions, formations, and costs have increased exponentially [1970: 8.6 Million college students. 2007: 17.9 Million] (7) (8). This increased prominence of a post-secondary education in the lives of the American young-adult population [63% of high school graduates now enter college] has heightened the century-long debate of "how" and "why" we educate (i.e. Carnegie Philosophy versus Sinclair and Veblen).
In the midst of this profound shift, much attention has been given to the growing vocationalism of higher-education curriculums and their developing "for-profit" corporate rationale. Harvard Professor James Engell wrote an article on "The Education Business," reviewing distinct perspectives on the benefits, detriments, and dangers of implemented economic pressures and logic on the American education system (3). In Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line, Public Policy professor David L. Kirp explores the emerging belief that "efficiency, immediate practical usefulness, and marketplace triumph are the best measures of a university' success [and rankings]" (4).
As post-secondary educations become the necessary "pit-stop" on the race track of young Americans' lives, the implications of how and why we value education are even greater.
While the corporate logic and funds transformed a portion of the higher education curriculum (implementing the business curriculum), it also redefined the constitution and operations of the University.
During this time, Thorstein Veblen, who extensively analyzed and spoke on the American Education system, observed --"a habitual pursuit of business" which "principles and standards of organization, control, and achievement, that have been accepted in business, will by force of habit... reassert themselves as indispensable and conclusive in the affairs of learning" --(Donoghue 10).
Higher Education Institutions have "corporatized" In the midst of increased competition for: Funding: state and federal grants as well as private donations from alumni and corporations, "Best" Students: with the "most" to offer (Highest GPAs and SAT scores), Most: Celebritized" Professors, Research Grants: (from Corporate Alliances or Government Bills).This trend is marked by: drastic fundraising, vocational curriculums and practical incentives, for-profit training institutions, objective "prestige" rankings (U.S. News and World Report), and class disparity.
Nearly a century later, "We are a business," the provost of the University of Connecticut exclaims (Kirp 4).
With more higher education institutions and proportion of the public attending them, the increased competition for donations and distinction has turned Universities (both public and private) into business, operating in a free-market (winner take all) environment. Professor David Kirp notes, "Each department is a 'revenue center,' each student a customer, each professors an entrepreneur, each party a 'stakeholder,' and each institution a seeker after profit, whether in money capital or intellectual capital" (6). Regardless, "capital" is what propels colleges to their desired ends.
The process of market research is assembling information, analyzing its value, and interpreting market information about products or services to be presented for sale in a particular market (McDaniel & Gates, 2006)....
What is the purpose of higher education and where does higher education stand in serving the needs of the individual, society, and corporation? Each realm has its own demands and standards for the University. Yet progressively, the pressures of our commercial society and capitalistic economy have drastically transformed the higher education system.
Both public and private universities are struggling to find “stability” and "success" in the expanding demand for higher education with limited resources.
“What room for all, yet without place to insert an atom.” That is, the world is a tight outfit, a tight business. Every bit of space is occupied. But at the same time, it has space. And that is a good thing. We usually don’t feel like making speeches about the admirable place and structure of molecules or atoms, but one can.