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Monday message board (On Tuesday)

January 3rd, 2006

It’s past time for the Monday Message Board, but at this time of year it’s difficult to remember what day of the week it is. (Tuesday is easy since it’s one of the days we’re allowed to water the garden before 7am, hence an early start.)

Anyway, please post your thoughts on any topic. As usual, civilised discussion and no coarse language, please.

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  1. Andrew Reynolds
    January 5th, 2006 at 19:33 | #1

    Ian,
    To many of us on the right those concepts are dear to our hearts – IMHO, it is many of those on the left that seem to believe that these need to be mandated by law and all money pay needs to be equal for equal effort. I tend to believe that people are motivated by many different things and attempts to reduce them to money, or money equivalents, misses the point.
    These duties, contributions and altruisms are the foundation of a free society.

  2. Dogz
    January 5th, 2006 at 21:10 | #2

    The majrotiy of the peopel I worked with in the public sector could have made substantially more in the private sector.

    When I worked in a university I used to hear that _all_ the time from other academics. Now that I’m actually in the private sector, I realise it was a load of old cods. Most of them wouldn’t survive ten minutes in the private sector. I don’t know if other areas of the public service are the same. I believe academics tend to overvalue their worth to society as a whole because they rarely step outside their hermetically sealed, self-referential value system, which reinforces their status within their own narrow field but is almost completely isolated from the rest of the world.

    I know that the concepts of “public duty�, “contributing to society� and “altruism� are alien to you but some of us do actually believe in them.

    Is that why you quit and went into the private sector Ian? Public duty? Upthread you said it was the low pay and long hours in the public sector that drove you out.

    BTW, you know nothing of what I do for a living or in my spare time.

  3. January 5th, 2006 at 22:26 | #3

    Ernestine, “Nataly” appears to be a sophisticated spammer using text taken from nearby to fake authenticity and smuggle in the “Nataly” link as payload.

  4. Ernestine Gross
    January 6th, 2006 at 00:10 | #4

    Thanks, P.M. Lawrence.

  5. Seeker
    January 6th, 2006 at 02:17 | #5

    Dogz says:
    “I believe academics tend to overvalue their worth to society as a whole because they rarely step outside their hermetically sealed, self-referential value system, which reinforces their status within their own narrow field but is almost completely isolated from the rest of the world.”

    I love the smell of stale cold clichés in the morning. Or is it parody?

    Maybe the academic discipline/department/institution you were involved with wasn’t doing its job properly at the time you were there, (though you were of course), but your generalisation is ridiculous. An equally valid (or invalid) generalisation could be made by simply substituting the word ‘academics’ with ‘humans’ in your statement.

    So, Dogz, what is your ‘real world’ solution for the (alleged) failures of academics that would fulfil all the following essential criteria:

    a) get rid of all the parasitic navel-gazing, academic deadwood, while managing to

    b) retain only the real intellectual McCoys, and

    c) guarantee them genuine academic independence from both the lowest-common denominator mob-rule, and the academically destructive penury of endless funding cuts, and

    d) ensure they remain fully and productively engaged with, AND properly rewarded by, “the rest of the world”?

    PS I am not an academic, nor related to any, etc.

  6. Dogz
    January 6th, 2006 at 09:48 | #6

    An equally valid (or invalid) generalisation could be made by simply substituting the word ‘academics’ with ‘humans’ in your statement.

    Not so. Academia is a very different career from most. For starters, you have an enormous amount of freedom coupled with enormous job security. Believe me, it is not easy to leave those kind of working conditions :)

    Seeker, without going into enormous detail, Australia could start by imitating the US approach to higher education. They have a very large percentage of the top Universities in the world, both public and private. But it will almost certainly require a purge of existing deadwood on both the academic side and in the administration.

  7. January 7th, 2006 at 21:31 | #7

    The worlds of academia, politics and the media do form a group in such a way that members of the last two groups can easily get the idea that they are in touch with the wider world when they haven’t actually managed to make contact with, and get feedback from, anyone outside those groups. But I never heard that academia especially suffered from this. That is, its proper focus doea lie outside itself, but doesn’t involve reaching the wider body politic except in a few special cases. How would the classics, history, Romance languages, the “hard” sciences or whatever need that?

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