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Cover for The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame

The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame

David Blacker


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The current neoliberal mutation of capitalism has evolved beyond the days when the wholesale exploitation of labor underwrote the world system's expansion. While "normal" business profits plummet and theft-by-finance rises, capitalism now shifts into a mode of elimination that targets most of us--along with our environment--as waste products awaiting managed disposal. The education system is caught in the throes of this eliminationism across a number of fronts: crushing student debt, impatience with student expression, the looting of vestigial public institutions and, finally, as coup de gr ce, an abandonment of the historic ideal of universal education. "Education reform" is powerless against eliminationism and is at best a mirage that diverts oppositional energies. The very idea of education activism becomes a comforting fiction. Educational institutions are strapped into the eliminationist project--the neoliberal endgame--in a way that admits no escape, even despite the heroic gestures of a few. The school systems that capitalism has built and directed over the last two centuries are fated to go down with the ship. It is rational therefore for educators to cultivate a certain pessimism. Should we despair? Why, yes, we should--but cheerfully, as confronting elimination, mortality, is after all our common fate. There is nothing and everything to do in order to prepare.

Zero Books, 9781780995786, 319pp.

Publication Date: December 7, 2013

About the Author

David Blacker is Professor of Philosophy of Education and Legal Studies at the University of Delaware.