Publication Details

Mickhail, G. M. (2002). MetaCapitalism and the Politics of the New Academy. 2002 Critical Perspectives Conference CDROM (pp. 1-12). Online and CDROM: http://aux.zicklin.baruch.cuny.edu/critical/ & CDROM.


The salvationary promise of immortality is equally seductive let alone dominant in our personal and professional lives alike. The promise of an institution's global successful salvation is no different to the promise of humans' salvation. It has been the most revered ideal over the ages and religions promise to deliver such salvation. Consulting firms are no different, as they represent the modem religious experience to institutions, private and public alike. The prophets of consulting have been invoking such feelings of 'awe' with their 'symbols', like: Business Process Reengineering, Best Practice and so on, in rituals, such as: MetaCapitalim, engaged in by their community of believers, that is: their consulting clients. Universities are no exception in being lured by such rituals, given their role shift from being publicly funded with long-term socio-cultural interests to being privately funded, and thus hijacked by short-term market interests. The paradox of a University as enterprise or 'academy is at the heart of this discussion about the politics ofthe new academy. These politics manifest themselves in the new role of educational institutions as owners of capital with their new elite of self-perceived highly-paid "business executives", who are in a perpetual power struggle to subjugate their intellectual capital; their staff. The problems associated with intellectual capital valuation and ownership subjugation ultimately brings to bear on the students. They have a global expectation that is rooted in the rhetorical promises of these business "executives" which do not correspond to the "localised" learning culture and "national" identity that is inseparable from the teachers. Scale economies in producing graduates who are specifically cloned for particular industries is also another source of this crisis in the tertiary educational system. The succumbing of Universities to the business community agenda in order to complement the balance from decreased public funding, resulted in a perceived loss of their credibility as independent pillars of free speech and ideas in society. Contrary to the MetaCapitalist cult predictions, the Market did not reward the firms that adopted MetaCapitlist change policies, but rather obliterated their structures to only force them into bankruptcy, such as with the current global corporate collapses of Enron and Kmart and the airline crisis worldwide. Would then Universities comparable MetaCapitalist strategic changes attract the same fate.