Patrick Lichty on Wed, 15 May 2013 20:32:26 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> the middle class doesn't exist

What I find interesting is the realization of the Randian dream through the
refocusing on skills rather than credentials - one of my students just quit
school because of the crushing debt he was going to incur because of the
turning away of the state from higher education, privatization of loans,
lack of funding, and all of this setting up a profitability model for the
MOOC.  I also love the recent article asking whether it's even worth going
back to school for a credential when everything is being atomized to
skillsets as typified by services like Lynda and MOOCs.  For some odd
reason, I feel like I'm playing BioShock and listening to the narratives as
I watch the blogs.  

However, I also see the trajectory of the last 35 years, downsize,
outsource, deskill, decredential, molecularize, while efficiency goes up and
the capital accumulates in the upper .5%.  The neoliberal dream for the
proletariat last decade was infinite flexibility - "Lost your job? Go back
to school!", not knowing that this was a trap to indebtedness a la Tennessee
Ernie Ford (I refer to the song, "16 tons").  Now, the hope that a degree
offered is being taken away, molecularized by nebulous desires for the skill
du jour and the person who "fits" the institution.  

I don't link this to MOOCs although what they are doing is obvious - give it
away free until the institutions pick it up, then charge.  Bait and switch.
Bravo to the UC professors seeing the model for what it is and calling it

Yes, let us continue to talk about how we can eat and be well while breaking
this absurd downward spiral, which is exactly what it is.
Brian, I'm with you.

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Brian Holmes
Sent: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 3:11 AM
Subject: Re: <nettime> the middle class doesn't exist

On 05/15/2013 08:56 AM, allan siegel wrote:

> The thesis of the death of the middle class is simple and not peculiar 
> to Sweden: every time you try to define the allegedly most important 
> contemporary social formation, this "middle class" breaks into two, 
> writes Greider; one part that serves the economic power and another 
> that has more in common with blue collar workers and unemployed, with 
> the sans papiers and the precariat."

This is exactly it. What's happening is massive proletarianization, caused
by the rapacity of the rich.

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