chapter  1
14 Pages

The neoliberal capitalist system and education

WithAlpesh Maisuria, Svenja Helmes

Chapter 1, The neoliberal capitalist system and education, begins by providing a brief introduction and summary of capitalism, including its latest stage – neoliberalism. While it is not intended to be a comprehensive coverage of important ideas in capitalism, such as commodification and class consciousness, the subsequent discussions and arguments are underpinned by critical analysis of ideology, practice, and political economy, and so for clarity it is incumbent to provide a definition and coverage of its development (c.f. Maisuria and Cole, 2017). The general focus is on the ways in which education and universities in England have been reconfigured to be more like corporations (Ryan, 2017), serving the needs of capital. Specifically explicated is how universities have been subsumed into the needs of the economy and everything else is secondary (Maisuria and Cole, 2017). This means universities, as publicly funded organizations, must create labour capacity to fuel neoliberalism and industrial productivity, which is explained as part of the financialisation of higher education. There is engagement in a discussion about the creation of the knowledge economy which brings a neoliberal role and function to universities, moving education away from being a public service, which changes the identity of students who become customers. We conclude with a discussion about the commodification of education and knowledge, which makes life as an academic in the neoliberal university a conflicted and grim reality for many.