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Avoiding Bubbles – The California Dream Act

The California Dream Act.

The banking industry is likely California Dreaming about the day when more states get their act together. …For those of us who think that the US will see a bubble in the education industry caused by its efforts to distribute human kind’s knowledge communities outside of the affluent elite, they shouldn’t hold their breath.

The Cali Dream Act could seem like an altruistic attempt to empower our desperate relatives converging on US cities, but there are some fiscally desperate economics behind this proverbial triumph over “social evil”, as if such a thing ever existed…LOL

For-profit and Not-for-profit education is big business…consider the $4.9B income of the Apollo Group, owner of University of Phoenix or the pride of the west coast’s $16.5B endowment at Stanford University. All of these are affected by the arbitrage (my favorite word 🙂 ) in an industry… losing applicants with the confidence that a degree or certificate is honestly their best investment. 

One thing is for sure, the US is the largest knowledge community on the planet currently, and one thing it can still sell the world’s consumers on, is that they’ll want to tap into the experience in their quest to secure the ideal 20th century standard of  success. To be redundant, the 20th century American Dream is still the benchmark for making it in 2011 for the vast majority world around us…even as those of us investing in the future would harshly disagree.  Where better to catch a dream life than in California…or even Michigan, with residents exiting at record paces.

The reality is that undocumented immigrants are a new class of Americans or non-Americans to sell long-term deferred and/or short term deferred loans. Its an ideal way to build collateral on the balance sheet of a lending company ;-). I’m not only expecting for more states to echo California’s legislative desperation/foresight (call it how you like), but I am expecting for the near future to offer American educations with State and possibly Federal assistance (at a taxable premium + interest) to undocumented immigrants of the US… and even foreign nationals with no immediate intent on coming to the US for legal or illegal residency. It’ll be called globalization

The US education models designed by the non-profit traditional institutions and technologized (new word for me…lol) by the more agile for-profit institutions, will be distributed throughout the world at the rate of technologies acceptance in foreign countries.

And, of course, where there is government support (large pot of $), private speculation (smaller pots of $) will follow its low risks. fueling the distribution of what we know and what we are exploring.

Problems in Pragmatic Politics

During the second week of October 2010 Mayor Michael R Bloomberg pursued an agenda to prohibit users of federal and state aid, more specifically “bridge cards” or “half dollars” or “food stamps” depending on how you take your slang, from buying “pop” or “soda water” or “soda”. It was formally acknowledged by the Mayor as a push on anti-obesity. Policy analysts of sorts like George Hacker disagree with the Mayor’s aggressive agenda, and think that an educational campaign would better serve a community doped into poor beverage purchase by savvy marketing campaigns. With type-2 diabetes targeting 1:8 adults in NYC it’s become necessary to figure some kind of solution.1

What’s a pragmatic politician to do? What are the socio-ethical pitfalls of the two pragmatic strategies?

The difficulty with any leader, ever being pragmatic is that they will regularly fail to remedy problems by acknowledging their bias and the existence of archaic/modern political systems of sorts. While pragmatism has been a formal philosophical sect since the mid 1800s, it seems as though it has been widely hailed in the United States succeeding the four FDR presidencies. Bloomberg and his relative opponents in this pragmatic band-aid effort are all products of the triumphs of the FDR and WWII era (Boomers and X-ers), so they’d naturally subscribe to what they’ve known to work in the face of extreme adversity, nuclear warfare, social calamity, economic capitulation, etc….

Pragmatic politicians can’t afford to fix problems outright because of their philosophical gridlock, and lack of progressive (progressive: in its classical sense not its modern politically charged definition) vision. Regarding the – to or not to prohibit – scenario of the extended Bloomberg mayoral reign, both he and his opponents are seeking a short term remedy without properly root causing the problem of obesity in the city of New York. When considering the modern problem of lifestyle diseases like diabetes it is necessary to factor in the pursuit of happiness and recognize that although obesity and the like are cause by consumption of food products, they actually register with the consumer as marketed consumer goods – material consumption is not about material things, but it is about self definition, It’s not necessarily a good thing when you don’t know your makers/marketers.2 A real remedy to the problem would merit some investment in the affected public, but that is not to say that the educational initiative alone would remedy problems…we’ve seen how throwing money a problems produces few results.

The reality is that pragmatics won’t acknowledge in their rhetoric and policy is that it is cheaper and more convenient for a consumer to buy Orange Crush than Orange Juice. Policy that regulates what one can buy with their consumer currency and education combined won’t address the economic void between the food stamp holder and the 18 Billion US Dollar 88% of Bloomberg LP equity holder. I’m reminded of a drawing from the 1845 Eleazar Morton book A key to true happiness.3 The book is rare and text is out of print, but I have a copy and the argument, although designed for a primitive age of superstitions, is the same. The text ribbon at the bottom of the graphic reads “Poor Ignorant and Unhappy | Intelligent and Happy”, as a man with a sash that reads “The People” and a yard stick that reads “Universal Education — Intelligence”. On the left (wrong) end of the yard stick reside the ignorant, and the right (right) reside the intelligent.

The argument that Michael Bloomberg makes is one of adding a band-aid to a problem that stems from ignorance, lack of control, and desperation. Poor, ignorant people will have no incentive, even with government direction (unless they are forced), to buy food goods in their best interest.

What does anyone need with 18 Billion US Dollars? When there are segments of the population that they’ve sworn to protect that can’t find the means to procure 18 US Dollars on a consistent basis? As the M1&M2 (Federal Reserve reported Cash) figures continue to rise during decades of job depletion it is necessary to ask the ubber wealthy if they in fact value human resources and if they are willing to invest in the poor and ignorant population’s self-actualization (intelligence) instead of pragmatic remedies to political problems….when will we learn?

John Sexton confesses to mediocrity

John Sexton

Charlie Rose – John Sexton, President of New York University.

This interview was an extraordinary review of how the antiquated models of engagement from the 20th century are beginning to destroy to the modern day. From a birds-eye view this was a progressive conversation on education in the 21st century, but what is progressive about opening up universities where people can afford to go to school, and offering them access to the entire campus (online/other).

John Sexton admits in this interview to being the product of the advantages of his cultural and tribal affiliations during the mid-20th century. As he stated, every institution in which he applied turned him down for admittance, but his personal relationships advocated heavily for him to “belong” well in institutional American affluence….big titles, little responsibility….exclusive clubs, little accountability….high acclaim, little innovation… Sexton is a great example of the access to opportunity that was available to his boomer generation in the last century. In my opinion this generation’s chair holding strategy’s lack of progressive execution is a core cultural culprit of the enduring economic crisis.

By far the most astute ideal that Sexton talked about was an analogy built by someone else (Kevin Wheeler), called T-shaped people, in reference to progressive human resources.What Sexton doesn’t talk about is that he is consistently training the other-than T-shaped worker to enter the work force and that human resources analysts today don’t understand how to accommodate T shapes, as I point out in Integrationalism: Essays on the rationale of abundance after page 116 while elaborating on the ideal that livelihood provides incentives for us all to adopt or pass on a more divers and comprehensive set of educational goals. Sexton should be laying out strategy to T-shaped people in the modern world, not simply adding IT infrastructure and buildings in the satellite New York Cities…

Considering Sexton as a representative of the cream of boomer crops, is the round of self applause that this generation is giving itself justified or unwarranted?

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