Who Needs Pitchforks to Get Political and Economic Revolution? Education and Time Will Do Fine

Back during a previous coordinated stealth assault on our economy and political structures, Professor Benjamin Barber published a Clarion Call book called A Place For Us: How to Make Society Civil and Democracy Strong. It is the perfect illustration of why I see the actual Common Core implementation and the real End Game intentions so much differently than anyone else. Not only am I reading documents and regs that will control what is to happen, I read the support for the vision as well. Which includes Professor Barber. And simply withdrawing the book from library shelves will not stop the analysis. That merely emphasizes how important the vision and the explanation in the book actually is.

That nerdy expression from the previous post “Generative Metaphor” from Donald Schon’s tool chest to get us to a new society or my new favorite “anticipatory schemata” from a different well-known prof will certainly come in handy if the Goal is the “transformation of the role of work in our economic system will hence have to await the transvaluation of our civic and moral systems.” No need to make an issue of what Political Ideology you want people to embrace thoroughly. You just make it a supplied concept or metaphor or schemata that their school uses from an early age in the classroom to help the young tykes frame their takeaway perceptions from their daily experiences. Now you didn’t really think that all the talk about activities and tasks and actions was really about a better way to learn, did you? It’s a better way to unknowingly imbibe deeply of ideology and never even be aware of it. Students learn to perceive experiences through the supplied framing concepts.

Next thing you know students believe deeply what all these professors want us all to be shifting towards (from Barber’s conclusion).

“Democracy can be our most magnanimous employer. Citizenship can again be the most human of all occupations. .. [history] appears now to be conspiring with [civility]. In a provocative realization of Marx’s prophecy anticipating a new world of abundance no longer rooted in endless labor, our society is moving toward conditions that could nourish the resuscitation of civil society–not just public work but public play, cultural leisure as well as civic labor, fun no less than ferment, the joys of living in place of the burdens of earning a living.”

Barber is not the only one who sees all this Systems Thinking and reimagining of education as moving us towards a new future vision grounded in what Uncle Karl wrote so long ago. Others though leave out the explicit mention that is probably what got Barber’s book pulled off the shelves. When I read Shoshana Zuboff’s 2002 The Support Economy: Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and the Next Episode of Capitalism I went back and reread Maurice Berman’s passage on Marx and Modernization in his book to doublecheck that meeting everyone’s needs did in fact form the essence of Uncle Karl’s ultimate economic and social vision.

Yep, so her new enterprise logic of a “distributed capitalism” based on everyone’s “need and support” as its organizing principle basically gets us to a 21st century version of the M word. She wants “Buyer-beware”  to give way to “United We Stand” and a reinvention of the employment relationship and the idea that “all enterprises should work for them.” Honestly this vision, which also fits with Senge’s Fieldbook from the previous post, will have the least capable employees the most assertive about their right to be consulted. Capable people tend to be too busy. I am not picking on Shoshana. She has a right to her beliefs just like we have a right to recognize the political and economic theory she is describing as well as the significance of citing Erik Erikson’s theory of human development in her creation of the “psychologized individuals” who will be demanding that society be changed. Won’t the real Common Core come in handy for that if the goal is to create “powerful drives toward interdependence, affiliation and community-building, but in ways that no longer depend upon a priori criteria such as kinship or geography?” Not to mention the real definitions of College and Career Ready we have tracked down.

So K-12 schooling is where those individuals get “psychologized” so they are “educated, opinionated, rights-claiming, and keen to act. They have concepts, ideals, and information.” Shoshana left out schemata as what organizes their view of the world and I’d be willing to bet most of the information supplied will not be accurate. Shoshana’s new individuals will be primed by school and then university to “demand a high quality of direct participation and influence.” Probably in inverse proportion to the genuine value of their contributions to the workplace apart from showing up. But if you believe in the “evolution of the human-spirit” education is your tool of choice.

And Shoshana is not the least bit alone in her aspirations. http://www.managementexchange.com/hack/develop-support-dna-new-capitalism was a McKinsey award winner last fall at Harvard B School to reimagine a fourth sector of the economy tailored to needs. These ‘for-benefit’ firms will integrate social, environmental and financial value creation. All at the same time. And if that sounds pie in the sky. http://www.fourthsector.net/attachments/39/original/The_Emerging_Fourth_Sector_-_Exec_Summary.pdf?1253667714 shows North Carolina on board to foster this new sector that blurs the distinction between public and private. It has Aspen Institute support which means virtually all the big foundations involved with Common Core are also involved with promoting this Fourth Sector idea. Won’t this go well with Aspen’s Effective Teacher eval push? Evals will likely go a long way towards forcing the classroom teacher to cooperate with “psychologizing” individual students as envisioned above. Plus I found this same paper being pushed in Australia. That means this is a global reimagining.

In the last post I talked about Otto Scharmer’s Seven Accupuncture Points paper but not what he called Capitalism 3.0. What his and Senge’s Systems Thinking work in the schools and businesses and on higher ed campuses is intended to achieve as the End Game. And remember we have the UN-affiliated IHDP describing Senge and Scharmer as pursuing the vision of the future that they and Paul Ehrlich’s MAHB are also pursuing globally. I am thus not alleging anything.  Scharmer’s economic vision functions much like Zuboff’s distributed capitalism. He envisions value-chain relationships of the politically chosen enterprises in “distributed situations” that “link all players along the value chain, from sourcing raw materials to the end consumer.”

Scharmer wants a “new coordination mechanism” other than private choices driving this value chain of goods and services “that revolves around creating collective action that arises from shared attention and common will.” That does sound decidedly like central planning and coercion but I am sure the generative metaphors and schemata and social and emotional learning in K-12 will prime the personality not to mind this time. Then Scharmer moves on to what is really the essence of what everyone really seems to be wanting from Systems Thinking. And I say that after tackling Donald Schon’s very graphic 1971 book Beyond the Stable State yesterday. Just trust me or we will be here all day. If these profs do not actually use the M word as Barber did they keep describing its fundamental tenets as their aspirational vision.

I am going to cite a long passage from Scharmer (p 12 if you pull report) but he is speaking for a large number of others and this is the End Game that goes with both global education reforms AND all the hyping about whether manmade carbon dioxide is leading to imminent catastrophic global warming. Think Vehicle for Change. Excuse for Change. Desired Vision of the Future.

“are we willing to accept that we are not separate from each other, but are economically and socially a highly interdependent field of interrelationships and communities?

And if we agree that the multi-level connection exists, are we willing to lend a hand to each other? If the answer to that is yes, then the highest-leverage economic intervention would be to simply create a basic human right to a basic income for every human being that, if combined with free or inexpensive access to healthcare and education, would create a level playing field that gave everyone a chance to pursue their aspirations and dreams–to put their real creativity into the service of the larger community.”

That’s what all these profs envision. It’s what Uncle Karl and his good friend Friedrich wanted too so long ago. It’s what the Fourth Sector is getting at and Capitalism 3.0 and distributed capitalism. And it utterly ignores human nature and the results of comparable aspirations in the past. And I tackled the futility of this before with some help from Friedrich Hayek here http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/being-grateful-for-what-we-know-and-appreciating-why-it-matters/

But we all deserve a public debate on what is really being sought and whether it can work. I am ready. But right now this vision is coming in the backdoor uninvited while we are in another part of the house or at work ourselves.

We have every right to insist if it wants another chance in the 21st century, this radical vision must knock on our front door and make its case. To all of us.