Wednesday, August 9, 2006
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How the academy is efficient
Occasionally the marginal idea escapes the academy and has an impact, but by and large students just want to graduate, academics just want to be insulated from the real world, and the real world wants to be isolated from loonies who go on about how great Che Guevara was. In this light, the Academy is a very efficient mechanism, creating surplus for all.Click here to read this in context. posted by Dan on 08.09.06 at 12:06 AM
This truly is an all purpose blog post, easily adapatable for undreamed of purposes. Let's try a couple applications:
How the comment thread is efficient
Occasionally the marginal idea escapes the comment thread and triggers an update on a blog, but by and large bloggers just want to draw traffic, commenters just want to be insulated from doing the stuff they are supposed to be doing, and the real world wants to be isolated from loonies who go on about how evil the diarists at Daily Kos are. In this light, the blog comment thread is a very efficient mechanism, creating surplus for all.
How the Bush administration is efficient
Occasionally the marginal idea escapes the Bush administration and triggers a war in a small resource rich nation, but by and large Bushies just want to spy on US citizens, neoconservatives just want to theorize about democracy without actually having to actually implement it, and the real world wants the ability to criticize the United States for all the things that go wrong. In this light, the Bush administration is a very efficient mechanism, creating surplus for all.posted by: Appalled Moderate on 08.09.06 at 12:06 AM [permalink]
Somewhere in business school I was taught that efficiency is not a guarantee of effectiveness.
This is not exactly a ringing endorsement :-))posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 08.09.06 at 12:06 AM [permalink]
Winterspeak says: "Occasionally the marginal idea escapes the academy and has an impact"
"the notion that this [people's stupid and violent behavior] is somehow driven by ideas cooked up by some guys sitting in an Ivory Tower, writing papers that no one else reads, is bogus"
"academics are broadly ignored (ask any academic) so it does not matter what they say at all"
Really? Math, science, buisness, engineering, econommics, psychology, medicine, chemistry, physics? I'm pretty sure the academics in this field are not "broadly ignored". Maybe there's an insular abstractness in fields like sociology, political science, urban planning/development, education, communications, etc. where their implications on actual governmental policy might be more easily coopted for ideological/political purposes (by the politicians and/or the academic professors themselves). And highly abstract fields like literature, art, music, pop culture studies, are certainly kind of circle-jerky, perhaps inherently.
But this is hardly a fair portrait of the impact on society of what is basically a giant, publicly funded, nation-wide think tank. The world has reaped great benefits from such institutions, not merely just the occasional "marginal idea".posted by: brent on 08.09.06 at 12:06 AM [permalink]
In actuality, I think the ideas generated in academia usually do wind up affecting the public discourse, often in distorted form.
I've heard that there was an old Royal Navy saying, "Today's wardroom roast beef is tomorrow's lower-deck stew," meaning that what is being discussed among the officers today will tomorrow be a topic for conversation, however mangled, among the enlisted men. The same principle applies here.posted by: david foster on 08.09.06 at 12:06 AM [permalink]
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