Why intellectuals still support socialism

A good read. Some excerpts:

This also leads to the phenomenon that academics don’t know much about how markets work, since they have so little experience with them, living as they do in their subsidized ivory towers and protected by academic tenure. As Joseph Schumpeter explained in Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, it is “the absence of direct responsibility for practical affairs” that distinguishes the academic intellectual from others “who wield the power of the spoken and the written word.” This absence of direct responsibility leads to a corresponding absence of first-hand knowledge of practical affairs.

…we must realize first that academics receive many direct benefits from the welfare state, and that these benefits have increased over time.

Excluding student financial aid, public universities receive about 50 percent of their funding from federal and state governments, dwarfing the 18 percent they receive from tuition and fees. Even “private” universities like Stanford or Harvard receive around 20 percent of their budgets from federal grants and contracts.[4]  If you include student financial aid, that figure rises to almost 50 percent. According to the US Department of Education, about a third of all students at public, 4-year colleges and universities, and half the students at private colleges and universities, receive financial aid from the federal government.

In this sense, the most dramatic example of “corporate welfare” in the US is the GI Bill, which subsidized the academic sector, bloating it far beyond the level the market would have provided. The GI Bill, signed by President Roosevelt in 1944 to send returning soldiers to colleges and universities, cost taxpayers $14.5 billion between 1944 and 1956.[5]  Federal spending on the latest version, the Montgomery GI Bill, is projected at $3.2 billion in 2006 alone.

The current crises in higher education and the media are probably good things, in the long run, if they force a rethinking of educational and intellectual goals and objectives, and take power away from the establishment institutions. Then, and only then, we may see a rebirth of genuine scholarship, communication, and education.


1 thought on “Why intellectuals still support socialism

  1. Excellent points all around. This is to say nothing of what I regard as the overriding issue of human rights, in what amounts to a “confiscation-based” system. I use the term “Confiscation Class” to describe said intellectuals more accurately– they advocate and benefit from a system of confiscation.

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