I am, I fear, a very confused person. Today’s forum demonstrates that! Feel free to roam in whatever direction you wish as a consequence!
Comments on Rear Vision - The Market for Higher Education, drew us into the current debate started by Jill Lepore in the New Yorker. These pieces will give you a feel:
- Jill Lepore: THE DISRUPTION MACHINE
- Then came this: Clayton Christensen Responds to New Yorker Takedown of 'Disruptive Innovation'’
- And this: CHRISTENSEN'S DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION AFTER THE LEPORE CRITIQUE.
In a comment, Winton wrote:
It seems to me that it is futile to attempt to argue that any particular business model is best under all circumstances. In some circumstances disruptive innovation is desirable. In other circumstances continuous improvement is desirable. In some circumstances there may even be virtue in going back to the old ways of doing things.
In a sense, that was part of my point. You can’t, but people do just that and at a cost.
How do we stop the blind application of models regardless?
Mr Abbott (and Winton’s) Bravery
In a post, How can desirable economic reforms be pursued more effectively in Australia?, Winton came to a partial defence of the Howard/Hockey budget. He said in part
Perhaps I should apologize to Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey. The government has made some tough decisions in its first budget. I don't endorse everything they have proposed, but it is good to see a government proposing action to deal with a looming problem before a more painful adjustment becomes unavoidable.
So just following up on Winton, what were the good features of this budget?
Education for National Efficiency
The second half of the nineteenth century saw significant expansion in technical and adult education, driven in part by the ideal that such education provided a vehicle through which ordinary working people could advance themselves. In a way, the Scottish/American philanthropist Andrew Carnegie exemplified this trend. Born in 1835, Carnegie was a self-made man who built a huge industrial empire. In 1901 he sold his steel company to J P Morgan and devoted the remainder of his life (he died in 1919) to large-scale philanthropy, with special emphasis on local libraries, world peace, education and scientific research.
Carnegie believed passionately in the power of education for the ordinary man and in self-help. His interview with Napoleon Hill forms the basis of How to Raise Your Own Salary, one of the early and still very popular self-help books,
In his philanthropic work, Carnegie focused on building infrastructure and especially public libraries. His work continued after his death. In New South Wales, for example, the creation of the public library system during the 1930s was facilitated by Carnegie support.
Just as Carnegie was launching his philanthropic work, a new trend in technical education was reaching a peak. This was education for national efficiency. Driven by European power rivalries and especially the rising power of Germany, this was education and especially technical education for national economic and political power, a vey different concept from education for individual advancement. It had profound effects.
Which to your mind is more important, education in the service of the state for national efficiency or education for individual advancement?
The New Zealand Model
Back in 2006, in Changes in Public Administration - the New Zealand Model, I looked at the flowering of a particular approach. When these ideas first emerged, I was attracted to them and studied them, visiting NZ on multiple occasions. I can still their relevance, although I feel that they have been misappropriated. Is the NZ model still relevant? Why?
I was going to give further examples to encourage discussion, but that’s enough for a start.
Winton referred to this speech by Minister Pyne. Address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), 16 May 2014, Adelaide. I have added it to extend the discussion.