I did not take you through excruciating details on what has been sought since at least the 60s to fill you with a sense of woe but to ground present known intentions in their proper foundations. This is not just some pursuit hatched by the current occupant of the White House and his friends nor is it limited to the US. It has been a long term scheme for political, economic, and social power. It seeks to shift decision-making away from individuals and vests it in the public sector or with vetted cronies and in international entities like UN agencies and the OECD. But it is such a high priority of this administration that President Obama signed an Executive Order on his very first day in office stipulating that all government information that did not have to be kept secret for security or privacy reasons should be made public. This new policy is called the Open Data Initiative. Its importance to governments globally can be seen by the G-8 Summit in June 2013 adopting an Open Data Charter.
Now people from time to time will ask me if I could please limit my posts or my new book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon to discussions of education because that’s all that really interests them. My answer has always been no as the documents are quite clear that all these education reforms being pushed in the US as the Common Core or globally under names such as 21st Century Skills, Personalized Learning, and Positive Behavior Systems are simply means to certain ends. I think not discussing the sought ends leaves the reasons on why the actual implementation looks so much like social engineering impossible for us to grasp. We do not have to wonder anymore why anyone would do what we can now prove they [Who is 'they' many people ask? foundations, ed professors, district supers, and too many school principals will do for starters] are doing and mandating with every bit of legal authority they can seize.
In October 2013 McKinsey Global Institute issued a report laying out the intentions of our governmental overlords in 7 ‘domains’: education, transportation, consumer products, electricity, oil and gas, healthcare, and consumer finance. Basically learner analytics will be applied in the future to the Open Data and business and individual proprietary data to supposedly “enable better decision-making.” But not by us anymore. Think of this as the idea that the Service State we encountered in the last post or the planned society we encountered in the post before that are now achievable in the 21st century via supercomputers, models, and Big Data. The report is called “Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information.” McKinsey uses the terms ‘open data’ and ‘liquid information’ synonymously.
Before we get to the open acknowledgment that the new tech-enabled personalized learning being pushed as an essential aspect of global education reforms is actually intended to “increase motivation [remember our conation discussion and that nerdy phrase triune consciousness?], change mindsets, and adjust learning strategies,” let me go through some of the troubling assumptions from other domains. How about the assumption that “conceivably, credit card companies could raise interest rates on households that waste electricity”? Does that sound like the credit card companies now are independent or an arm of governmental policy for desired future behavior? How about businesses now subject to “open data released by third parties could expose poor environmental or labor practices or show their products or services compare poorly for price and quality”? Isn’t that ‘a run your companies in the manner we desire or you will get bad publicity’ threat?
The report contemplates that “sharing data gathered via ‘smart grid’ technologies can be particularly helpful in spurring energy sufficiency.” How? By publicly revealing relative personal consumption levels. Now I want you to think about the disastrous Obamacare website rollout and all the deceit used by politicians and agency bureaucrats to cover up the true nature of the planned shift in the US healthcare and insurance model:
“As the maker of laws and enforcer of regulations, government can shape the legal and economic environment that maximizes the potential value from the use of open data, while addressing the legitimate privacy and intellectual property concerns of individuals and organizations.”
Right. And how intrusive are the planned releases of data that “intellectual property concerns” even become an issue? Now we know when it is essential to keep data secret and secure as with national security matters [think Edward Snowden] or the personal financial data component on the Obamacare website, governments are terrible at it. Now onto that reality let’s add everything intended as part of this Open Data Initiative. All so that 21st Century society can become not a place of individual decision-makers but a place for “large-scale collaboration among individuals, companies, governments, and other organizations” supposedly seeking each of our subjective well-being as the goal of governments. And also seeking to “help educate the public about the potential benefits to the economy and society.”
The proprietary data will be gone. Governments as usual will be lousy administrators with no real incentives to do a good job. And from looking just at the education component, the benefits appear to me to be illusory but the levers of manipulation over human behavior look boundless. All in all the kind of stupid ideas that would be resisted at every turn if only they were better understood. And without so many advocates with their hand in the cookie jar of intended future governmental spending. All this ed data being gathered is said to improve individual “performance, which can lead to higher graduation rates, greater educational attainment, and increased lifetime earnings.” Not if students do not know much of anything and everyone suddenly has the same credentials.
Now how many of you have heard anyone write about personalized learning as the wave of the future? It is a simply marvelous gatherer of personal info with thousands of data points being collected when adaptive software is used. Which it will be so all those data points can become part of the Open Data Initiative basis for a new type of collective decision-making in the future. Here is the definition of personalized learning from the McKinsey cited and Gates Foundation funded Learning to adapt report from 2013 [my bolding]:
“pedagogical method or process that draws on observation to inform tailored student education interventions designed to increase the likelihood of learner success.”
The personal data being gathered then is extensive and real and just full of non-cognitive information. And the tasks and activities the student is asked to do get adjusted as necessary to gain success. Not exactly the ingredients that would actually foster future economic success.
Getting to public sector-centric decision-making is the whole point. Equity for all and social justice at last are after all the by-words for all these pushes. Economist Ludwig Von Mises in the book Socialism he wrote just after World War I described all these pursuits as Ethical Socialism. It was all the rage in Germany and his native Austria before and after the war just like it is now all the rage in US academia and political institutions and federal agencies in 2013. The fundamental fallacy remains the same as what he noted:
“Most people who demand the greatest possible equality of incomes do not realize that what they desire would only be achieved by sacrificing other aims. They imagine that the sum of incomes will remain unchanged…this idea rests on a grave error. It has been shown that, in whatever way one envisages the equalization of incomes this must always and necessarily lead to a very considerable reduction of the total national income and, thus, of the average income…we have then to decide whether we are in favor of an equal distribution of income at a lower average income, or inequality of incomes at a higher average income.”
Von Mises was simply discussing the overall impact due to the disincentives to be productive in the future. Given the contemplated mind arson I have been documenting, just imagine the actual effects of disincentives to be productive when coupled to the widespread inability to be productive.
And then add on the cost of the public sector to poorly administer this planned society. And all that insecure Open Data. And the wasteful cronyism attached to the planned collaboration.
And the lack of personal freedom. The Open Data Initiative surely will lead to a society incapable of mass prosperity.
Makes you wonder who they think will fund the redemption of all those Social Security IOUs in the near future under these plans. I guess it’s a good thing all the administrators and politicians pushing these plans intend to rely on taxpayer-financed pensions to fund their retirements after careers spent destroying the source of wealth everyone is taking for granted.
Will this really work out well for anyone in the long term?