“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, December 13, 2010

Britain reverts to type

The horror that is the budget cut situation in British academia must be resisted by any means necessary. Protesting against outrageous cuts and fee increases, we (students and faculty) started quite substantial actions here at UC last year that involved, in the end, SWAT teams, helicopters and firearms as well as more pedestrian activities such as letters to the editor.

If I hear the word “violence” used on the BBC one more time to describe property damage I think I'm going to be sick.

More on this in the days to come. But what occurs to me is, this is Britain regressing to BEFORE the Victorian period. Thatcher was all about crass utilitarianism. This is about wankers who need no education whatsoever to retain power. (I knew two of them at school and let me guarantee you they never paid attention in English lit.) This is a regression to the eighteenth century.

Cut all funding except for IT and engineering?

Over here people are wondering when was the last time they used a piece of British engineering—a decent toaster, maybe? Okay Britain is number one in torture implements (no joke) and number two in arms.


Unknown said...

Oh, toast.

Timothy Morton said...

Yeah, toasters might even be the torture implements...or toast itself?

zareen said...

Toast with marmite. My wife makes it, and the smell is torturous.

Henry Warwick said...

California schools are fucked for different reasons than other state school systems. It's called "Prop 13" from 1978. California schools, including Berkeley et al, were bascially of nominal cost in the 1960s, and if you got a decent grade in high school, you were basically promised a placement in the UC system. Free / nominal charge. In the 1960s California schools were the best. In the 1970s, the class of '46 paid off their mortgages, their kids were all "growed up" and their houses, especially in SoCal at the time, were worth around 10x what they paid in 1946, and they were paying 10x the taxes, as taxes were based on assessments. The class of 1946 got all pissy about that and like typical taxpayers, demanded services for free, ie.e., the same system with lower taxes. So, they changed the property tax law with Prop 13 so that one only pays taxes on the PRICE you pay for a home.

Bingo: collapse of revenue stream.

Dependence on income tax for state revenue, putting the state at the risk of the economy. When times were good (and as long as the oil flowed freely) that it made short term sense. However, when there were recessions, the state went into more debt, and dug itself a hole. It started demanding more and more money for tuition, and now Berkeley is one of the most expensive schools (for example) and the state is broke.

Taxpayers. They are consumers. And consumers want one thing: something for nothing.

Had California not passed prop13, this might have all played out very differently, as the high taxes could have prevented excesses in property prices...

And that's why California is toast.

Timothy Morton said...

I live in Cali so I know Prop 13. We did take a bite out of it by allowing congress to pass a budget with a simple majority (in the last election). I know there's a way to go but I reckon Reaganzombie batteries only last 1.5 more years.