Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lit. Review #3

Giroux, Henry A. and Rachel Cohen. Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education. Chicago, Illinois : Haymarket Books, 2014., 2014.

Neoliberalism is defined as "a modified form of liberalism tending to favor free-market capitalism". to dig a little further, for anyone who does not know, free-market capitalism can be defined as "a market without much government restriction wherein capitalism is encouraged". In Henry Giroux's book, Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education, the main premise is speaking about exactly how higher education has been led astray by the last several decades of policies in government, including a mostly neoliberal agenda put forth by every single president beginning with Ronald Reagan. Now we have a very dangerous man in office in Trump, who will most likely be the crowning cherry on top of the neoliberalist sundae. Higher education in the United States has never been in dire straights like these, and we all stand a chance to lose everything we have worked so hard for. Giroux's book is a great book for the simple reason that it can give ordinary students a voice in this process. Not only is he shedding light on the topic of our universities giving in to these neoliberal agendas, but he is allowing for the movement towards a truly democratic society, without these perceived threats from our own government and without the addition of more corruption in our political system.

Henry Giroux is an American and Canadian scholar who has published more than 60 books, 200 chapters, and 400 articles and is a renown publisher who is a devout advocate of radical democracy, which is exactly what neoliberalism is not. 

A key idea that Giroux speaks about very early is how neoliberalism is taking what we know as democracy and pitting its own principles against one another. Giroux is trying to hit the point home that freedom is literally its opposite in this "democratic" society we have built. 

Another key idea is something that I've spoken about in my other two lit. reviews, and seems to be a recurring theme (coincidence? I think not) is pay to play politics. Giroux now fully believes that our elections are bought and sold to the highest bidder. Our democracy has been dismantled, and we live in a time where human suffering is not coming to a close, but rather, is increasing. This is all due to pay to play politics and the rise of plutocracy, spoken about by Suzanne Mettler.

"Americans now live in an atomized and pulverized society, 'spattered with the debris of broken interhuman bonds,'  in which 'democracy becomes a perishable commodity'  and all things public are viewed with disdain" (Giroux 7).

"Neoliberal governance has produced an economy and a political system almost entirely controlled by the rich and powerful— what a Citigroup report called a “plutonomy,” an economy powered by the wealthy.  I have referred to these plutocrats as “the new zombies”: they are parasites that suck the resources out of the planet and the rest of us in order to strengthen their grasp on political and economic power and fuel their exorbitant lifestyles" (Giroux 9).

"Left unchecked, economic Darwinism will not only destroy the social fabric and undermine democracy; it will also ensure the marginalization and eventual elimination of those intellectuals willing to fight for public values, rights, spaces, and institutions not wedded to the logic of privatization, commodification, deregulation, militarization, hypermasculinity, and a ruthless “competitive struggle in which only the fittest could survive" (Giroux 16).

Another great source that will most certainly be used. Fits in perfectly with my research. Thanks again Professor!

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