Over at the Valve, Ray Davis cites Jeffrey J. Williams with approval:
The Valve - A Literary Organ | Paid with Interest : Paid with Interest: [A] new issue of American Literary History is available. In "The Post-Welfare State University", Jeffrey J. Williams "follows the money trail."... He ends with a cause I would gladly rally to:
The death of the humanities and the disciplines that promote "thought"--the majors in which have declined in real terms to less than 10% of college majors, with business expanding to 22%--results not from a loss of interest in the humanities but from the material interests that confront students.
The policy of debt is a pernicious social policy because it places a heavy tax on those who wish a franchise in the normal channels of contemporary American life. It is also pernicious because it is counterproductive in the long term, cutting off many possibilities and domains of human production. Finally, it is a pernicious social policy because it perverts the aims of education, from enlightenment to constraint. Especially as teachers who have a special obligation to our students, debt is a policy that we cannot abide...
As an economist, I have to look at student loans differently. College educations are expensive things--colleges are expensive to run. A generation ago your average college-educated American earned an average salary 30% more than that of those with just a high-school diploma. Today this college-high school wage-and-salary gap is 80%.
A policy of no debt--a policy of publicly-funded college education for all--thus looks to us economists like a policy of taking from the relatively poor (the working classes who don't go to college do pay taxes) and giving to the relatively rich (the middle classes who do go to college) who earn much higher relative wages now than they did a generation ago.
To say that a policy of funding a lot of higher education via student loans is a "pernicious social policy because it perverts the aims of education, from enlightenment to constraint" seems to us to lose track of where the constraints really are: to raise taxes on the relatively poor to enhance the freedom from constraint of the relatively rich.... To refuse to recognize the humanity--nay, to refuse to even consider the existence--of those on whom the burden of paying for public universities will land if more of that burden is shifted away from students...
Does anybody know where I can find David Gerrold's original treatment for the Star Trek show that became episode #74, "The Cloud Minders"? As performed, it's a quick technological fix for deep social injustice. As originally written, it was much more... Dickensian.