Capitalist Society Says ‘Hasta La Vista’ to Affordable Education
The homeless need a place to go for the holidays? Capitalism says sorry, you’re not a consumer, so screw yourself. Arabs want to be treated like people? Capitalism says no way, it’s more profitable for Fox News and Rupert Murdoch to portray you as sinister and wicked miscreants. The Earth is in crisis because of anthropogenic global warming? Capitalism says too bad, General Electric, Nike and Macy’s have to make a profit.
Students are in debt in college and jobless after college because of outsourcing? Capitalism says tough luck, profit before people. It is to this last point that we turn our analysis of the current economic situation in our postmodern capitalist economy. It does not follow that one must choose a radically communist approach to solving the crisis in education; more socialist approaches to education would be more equitable and sustainable.
Robert Dynes is the 18th president of the UC system but doesn’t care about 18-year-olds, suffocating them with debt for trying to be good citizens by being college students. Since he took office in 2003, undergraduates have emerged from their college careers with over $18,900 in debt, and given the ever-rising cost of tuition, living and other expenses, such as books and laptops, there is reason to believe that this figure has increased considerably since that time.
According to Campus Progress, the total student debt in the United States is more than $438 billion, outpacing the starting salaries of jobs in teaching and social work. This alters the career choices of students and curtails the scope of their life choices, which is doubly frustrating since we believe that higher education should increase opportunity. Campus Progress states that between 2001 and 2010, two million academically qualified students will not go to college because they cannot afford it.
The movement to solve this problem does not come from the new UC president, Mark Yudof. Despite promising to solve the budget crisis, which is much larger than the UC Regents want to admit, Yudof still works closely with private CEOs, investors and stockholders deemed “worthy” enough to have a say while students who do not make six-figure incomes are silenced. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, as head of the University of Texas system, Yudof’s total pay was $742,209, which is over $300,000 more than former UC President Dynes’s fully compensated salary.
Campus Progress estimates that U.S. student debt could reach up to $40,000 per student by graduation. Certainly, no one wants to drown in $40,000 of debt. The good news is that activist students from around the state are joining forces to lower tuition and fees, democratize the Regents system and implement socially conscious programs