Plutocratic Universities Are Not Universal

Nietzsche viewed human society motivated mostly by the Will to Power. Ethological studies on various advanced animals, including primates, confirm this.

How does one exert power? One can use whips and chains, but that is a lot of work, and, ultimately, it makes the society underperforming. A slave society, too preoccupied by brawn, thus does not become very smart… And thus gets walloped as more brainy societies get more advanced technologically.

The best way to exert power is not through whips, chains, and the police, but by controlling minds.

Thus the educational system.

Plutocratic Universities Are All About Leading The Sheep

Plutocratic Universities Are All About Leading The Sheep

[The excellence of maximizing profits: Veritas!]

The more democratic the society, the more spread-out quality education. The more oligarchic, the less it is.

As a US academic, I was asked to please be lenient with student athletes (they were failing scientific classes).

Student athletics brings up to 80 million dollars a year to some US colleges (through TV contracts; it’s highly profitable, as the athletes are not paid commensurately).

University tuition is now so high in the USA, even at (top) public universities, that the middle class cannot afford it (except by taking un-extinguishable loans). This is true even at institution such as the University of California which were founded with the explicit aim to provide free education to the most intellectually qualified students, independently of their wealth.

Even those who have taken loans have to be nice with the powers that be, if they want to earn enough to reimburse their loans. The chains they wear afterwards are not made of iron, but of debt.

We are in situation where financial class, and the positive attitude towards the wealthiest, rather than intellectual class, is becoming the selection criterion.

Too much control of the educational system by the powers that be brings the smarts down.

But the powers that be may require a more advanced educational system: this was the case during the Cold War. Or when the Frankish empire required all religious institutions to teach everybody secularly.

Money is a way to communicating power. Although it is not the only way: the law is the basic way to transmit power, and mandatory education is an obvious example.

Massimo said that “the whole system is corrupt”. A leading article in The Economist recently condemned the American university system, saying it was not worth it. It pointed out that employers care not so much about what students learn there, but about the fact they have been selected (to attend select college).

“American graduates score poorly in international numeracy and literacy rankings, and are slipping. In a recent study of academic achievement, 45% of American students made no gains in their first two years of university. Meanwhile, tuition fees have nearly doubled, in real terms, in 20 years. Student debt, at nearly $1.2 trillion, has surpassed credit-card debt and car loans.”

The tremendous propaganda in the USA about issues which profit plutocracy has been made effective by the lack of education of the population.

Education is not just instruction, it can be submission.



European universities evolved from the Cathedral schools. The latter had been imposed in the Eight Century, by Frankish law, all over Europe. Professors were cleric.

This is why European universities have no police, to this day (they were cathedrals, initially).

However, by the late Twelfth Century, the faculty of art allowed some teachers to not be theologians (Buridan was an example).

The power of universities was enormous then. Abelard used his pulpit at the Paris Cathedral School to oppose the Second Crusade and Saint Bernard. (Abelard’s arguments lost, short term, but won, long term.)

When the University of Paris got its entire body out, it extended from one end of the capital to the other. A year long strike in 1200 CE forced the papacy to authorize the teaching of Aristotle.

By 1300 CE, supported by his English vassal, the king of France, cracked down on the Pope and his army, the Templars. Philippe IV Le Bel’s aides were commoners, highly educated youth without fortune or honorable pedigree.

American universities have a very different origin. Stanford, for example, was founded by a plutocrat who used Chinese workers (who had few rights), to build railways.



There is a conscious bias, top down, in the USA against the existence of the CO2 crisis, the reality of evolution, and for the existence of the USA as a “Christian nation”.

The New York Times just discovered it in “A Christian Nation? Since When?” that it is plutocrats in the 1930s who invented the USA as a Christian nation.

The denialist system of thought in the USA is mostly fed by money. “Climate change” is an example: it is clear that augmenting the greenhouse gases from 280 ppm to 450 ppm (including CO2 going from 280 to 400 ppm), can only have an extremely damaging effect… Especially considering half of the created CO2 goes in the ocean to make carbonic acid… And that last time we had 400 ppm of CO2 sea level was around 30 to 40 meters higher.

There is really no need for “expertise”, in a subject like that, to perceive the danger. Now California is suffering a drought more severe than any time during at least 3,000 years. And it is directly caused by climate change. Restrictions have just started (and are grossly insufficient).

The economy is the management (nomy) of the environment (eco). It does not have to be about “money”: successful empires (Inca, USSR) worked without money, or partly without money (the army and public works in Republican Rome come to mind).

It is clear that, to manage the environment well, one needs knowledge.

However, it all depends upon what is meant by “environment”. If it is about the wealthiest, the USA is becoming increasingly hospitable. And having a dysfunctional educational system helps, as confrontational critiques, which require a lot of certainty, cannot arise.

The USA’s university system is dysfunctional, intellectually speaking, but it is not an accident. It is a system. Just as the GI Bill (which made higher education free for GIs), was also a system. That system went the other way. It was paid for by a 93% tax on high income.

The USA’s university system is perfectly functional if its function is the pursuit of happiness of plutocracy.

Patrice Ayme’


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19 Responses to “Plutocratic Universities Are Not Universal”

  1. ianmillerblog Says:

    Unfortunately, this problem is not restricted to the US. When I went through University in New Zealand, admittedly so long ago I hate to recall it, the student’s fees were very heavily subsidised, and to keep costs down, the rules were simple: fail significantly and don’t come back. Entrance requirements were high, based on secondary education. Now the Universities have to acquire much more funding from students so they have many more of them, and from what I can gather, the standards are seriously lower. So what happens is that a significant number of graduates emerge, many of whom should not be graduates, and with huge student loans that they will never repay because there are insufficient jobs for the numbers. Now there is nothing wrong with getting an education and having to find a different sort of job than intended, but there is if the alternative cannot pay back the ridiculous debt

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes, Ian. I am actually going to write a follow-up, and explain why education, even higher education, ought to be free. For this, one has to go back 2,000 years.

  2. gmax Says:

    Could you please explain in lurid form what brought up the differences between US and European universities?

  3. dominique deux Says:

    Enslavement through debt is exactly the result, and possibly the purpose, of the pincer-like attack on workers’ wages described by Piketty et al:

    1 Pay the plebs less.
    2 To ensure their meek acceptance, kill (badmouth) unions and extend plentiful consumer credit. (the explosion of personal credit and the divergence of labour and capital remuneration started at the same time, more or less).
    Don’t forget to keep piously harping on the labour market you are disrupting and corrupting with gay abandon.
    In addition to saving on wages, you profit on interest, and most importantly, social peace reigns. Misguided plebs will rampage in worker solidarity for wages, but never protest being thrown into deep indebtedness: it’s their own fault for splurging indecently, as they are told again and again. They’ll hang their heads and starve in shameful silence, one by one. Wonderful!

    The student loan is just a egregious variant of the strategy.

    • dominique deux Says:

      I forgot another benefit: the economic slump that is being predicted by red commie Keynesians when income shrinks never happens! the poor chumps keep shopping using their credit cards, until they drop (literally).

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Absolutely true. Hence the hysteria about Greece (the threats of Grexit, etc…). Schlaube the hysterical German economy minster, Doctor Strangelove for real (except not a doctor), used to be the beloved colleagues of Sarkozy when they were both minster of the interior. In other words, ministers of the status quo ante Plutocracia Maxima.

      It is clear, zehr klar, that Greece can DEFAULT (I have been advising that for 7 years…). Schlaube and his sponsors know this. A sovereign state can default. OK, nobody will lend to Greece for 6 hours. Ok, so what?

      So, well, if Greece can default, the paranoiac plutocrats rightly assess, students and their ilk may even notice, and ask: why not us too?

      Before you know it, we are back in universal free higher education… And other dreadful, anti Pluto public strategies…

  4. brodix Says:


    Thank you for the compliment over at Scientia Salon. I’m being seriously blocked as well, so trying to edit myself a little more effectively.
    I think the underlaying problem which can be addressed over the course of the next generation, is to reconsider the nature of money itself.
    We have come to think of and treat it as a commodity. As quantified hope, but in reality it is a contract, in that every asset is backed by a debt. As such it is much more of a voucher system, than a store of wealth. The only value is promises made by others and since the banking system is in the process of destroying the very trust that makes the system work, they are cooking their own golden goose and in doing so, sucking resources out of an otherwise overheated economy and actually doing more to reduce global emissions than if they were doing the job of growing this economy, that is their function.
    There was a time when banks issued their own currency and in order to survive, had to maintain trust in its value, but now the Federal Reserve system makes the responsibility for maintaining the system a public responsibility, as much of that money is backed by government debt. While the private banks collect the profits. It must have seemed like a brilliant idea, but it really will prove to be the first step to making banking a public function, with various levels of local, regional and national systems.
    Capitalism conquered the world by replacing indigenous forms of economic reciprocity with external monetary currencies. We need to go back to more organic relationships and learn these financial systems are like processed sugar. Sweet for awhile, but will make us addicted and sick eventually.
    Government used to be private as well, but few are recommending going back to monarchies.

    I’ve emailed Coel and he did respond to one of my earlier ones. I can well appreciate those in the profession safely assume anyone not fully versed in it has to be a crank and I can understand why, but I do think some flawed basic assumptions have been built into the foundations of these ideas and that, not errors made just thirty years ago, are why physics has been spinning its wheels for the last generation. It is a case of reductio ad absurdum, largely of the premise that math is foundational and not simply abstracted from nature. We will always find patterns, but when there are as many patches required to hold the whole edifice together, as there are today, something went off the tracks awhile ago.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hi Brodix. Yes, the situation at Scientia Salon is such that even academics such as Coel and me are blocked (“filtered out”) It goes completely against Massimo’s aim to create a forum between “main street” and “Ivory Tower” (an arrogant concept too… And not applicable, as Massimo is pretty much out there, all over society, so not really in the “Ivory Tower”).

      On top of that some scientific writers (Marko, operating from France, I think) are favored (although controversial: comments against his opinions get blocked, and not just mine) while others are dragged in the mud (Schlafy, also a math PhD).

      So I don’t think it will work, and expect Scientia Salon to crash. Meanwhile let’s milk it, while it lasts…

      For me, math IS nature. Maybe not the nature we see, but even then: calculus is in plain sight, quite often. Nature of the incredible brain geometry

      Money creation is private, and oligarchic, right now. It was not so in most of the last few millennia of monarchies.

      • brodix Says:


        I would say math is the description of nature. The problem is that nature is also dynamic, while description is static, so there is a tendency to focus on the most distinct/measurable features of amorphous realities, like saying a photon is a point particle. This then lends itself to intellectual convenience, because it is much easier to communicate ideas about the more stable aspects of nature and so after generations of debate, in which the most agreement coalesces around the most stable aspects of nature, there is the assumption this is more fundamental than the fuzzy, indeterminate, softer, amorphous and harder to describe aspects. It would be like deciding the skeleton is the essence of a human, because that is what remains when all else has been boiled away.
        That doesn’t mean the skeleton isn’t extremely important, but the mathematicians are not “showing their work.” They are ignoring all that has been carved away to find this order.
        Then they try reconstructing reality back out of these static concepts and the result doesn’t resemble our experience of nature and so there becomes this platonic duality between the mathematical essence and its imperfect expression and it becomes a modern religion, of those who hold the keys to the Kingdom of Order and Math and the swirling ignorant masses.
        What is lost is the dynamic. Time is viewed as symmetric, because it is no longer thought of as the action being measured, but measurement itself and the measurement is the same from either direction.
        Points and coordinate systems/dimensions are no longer just mapping devices, but metaphysical doors into alternate realities.
        The 0s and 1s of the information are considered more fundamental than the electrons and switches conveying and distinguishing them.
        It truly has become a religion.

        Money is like the blood circulating through the economic body, with the banks as the heart and arteries. Now the banks are insisting they own the money and can keep as much as they want. So we have clogged arteries of blocked flow to the extremities and high blood pressure, as the banks seek to compensate with ever more quantity and pressure, but it only creates more clogs, not more flow to the rest of the economy and the blood thinner the doctor prescribes only causes bleeding in the weaker arteries, not breaking up the main clogs.

        I really can’t make predictions about Scientia Salon. Looking at the world today, I’d say a lot of things might be different by the end of next year. If not this one.

        The Clash of the Titans is coming.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Hi John:
          I don’t believe the translating photon “IS” a point particle:

          My point on math: Even if math “described” nature, then, how? With another nature inside? Would not that nature “be” what math really is then?

          The censorship on Scientia Salon is an outrage, contrary to its avowed mission, and ridiculous besides. How can Massimo, a non-physicist, censor Coel, a practicing astrophysicist, on cosmology?

          They censored six of my comments in a row. Talk about wasting time and spontaneity. Consequentially, it’s mostly bland commentary that makes it through. In particular mathematician Schlafy (whom I often disagree with) has been knocked out. His critiques were interesting.

          Banks CREATE money (just as the brain create math, hahaha, but with less inevitability). The government allows banks to be money farmers.

          • brodix Says:

            The issue is not so much nature, but the process of description, which coalesces around the more stable, static and essentially amenable to to being described aspects, then combined with the natural human tendency to project and imagine, creates “mathology. In the Complexity Theory dichotomy of order and chaos, with complexity as the intersection, math is naturally biased toward the ordered side of the spectrum. I think this dichotomy is somewhat flawed and rather than chaos, which is just disorder, it should be energy/dynamics. Which doesn’t lend itself to easy measurement and confining definition. So the real dichotomy is bottom up expanding energy and top down defining order, whether it is the relationship between mass and energy, or between social energy and civil order.

            Banks only create money if we think of it as a commodity to be manufactured. Otherwise it is the one willing to take out a debt which creates the obligation and banks are only the system of connecting them. When the financiers on Wall Street wanted to create all those enormous leveraged products and disguise the lack of real support obligations, they went to physical theorists from MIT, not their own accountants. Possibly because the physicists think entire universes spring from every thought bubble, while accountants know funny math can get you in trouble.

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              John: It is better to not nestle comments too much: they become non readable.
              Good point! Banks employ modern physicists because both believe in universes out of nothing!

          • brodix Says:

            As for Scisalon, I’m not an academic and so I would offer only a general thought as to the dynamics at work.
            It is the function of university to both expand human knowledge and to give it structural form and order to pass onto succeeding generations. So while there is a very liberal overall mission, much of the internal functions can be exceedingly conservative.
            Definition and limiting are really just different perspectives of the same process of delineation, so what might seem like necessary order from one point of view, can quite legitimately seem like totally arbitrary distinctions from another point of view. Then when you have lots of people working in close proximity, who are focused on their particular task at hand, without keeping this larger sociopolitical dynamic in mind, there will be lots of head butting and territorial conflict.
            So Massimo has to deal with a smart, divergent and strongly opinionated group of commentators, as well as enticing various researchers/professors to submit work to be debated and there are some natural cross purposes. Likely most professors prefer to limit commentary on their work for a number of reasons. For one thing, if can be difficult to isolate out a particular frame or perspective that is both broad enough, insightful enough and focused enough, to gain the attention and respect of their colleagues, not to mention the broader public and so there has to be some editing of input, as well as output.
            Which likely will mean that Scientia Salon may not be long lasting, but it really is an honest effort on Massimo’s part, to tie together such a cast of intelligent and opinionated participants.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      I have written zillions of essays on banks, especially 7 years ago or so. Bankers are, de facto, completely corrupt stealth public officials, free to lend to themselves, friends, & the politicians diverting to banks public money.
      The present banking system: a level of corruption rarely equaled in history.

  5. brodix Says:

    They are getting a bit more strict. I find it useful not to get too attached to a particular venue, even though there are few good ones. From some of his recent comments, it seems like he is trying to broaden the audience. Time will tell.

  6. Europe Is Dead, Long Live Europe! And long live US publicly subsidized Pluto universities, too! | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] Meanwhile, the subsidies to the health care for profit industry, just as the subsidies for US plutocratic universities, have much augmented. Alleluia! We may as well have fun, watching plutocrats soar into […]

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