chapter  14
7 Pages

Taking Aim at the Heart of Education: Critical Theory and the Future of Learning


The global depression that began in 2008 has a direct link to the neoliberal and unregulated market economy and has impacted dramatically on communities and nations around the world. Critical Theory has always inserted itself into debates about the self-understanding of the current age. The task of interpreting current situations has also always been to the fore in the work of Jürgen Habermas. He continues to be a vocal public intellectual recovering the progressive traditions from Kant and the Enlightenment and is, according to Bernstein, “the philosopher of democracy” (1991, 207). When he was recently asked in an interview (published in the German newspaper Der Zeit) about the collapse of the international system and what aspect of it worried him, he answered:

What worries me most is the scandalous social injustice that the most vulnerable social groups will have to bear the brunt of the socialised costs for the market failure. The mass of those who, in any case, are not among the winners of globalisation now have to pick up the tab for the impacts of a predictable dysfunction of the fi nancial system on the real economy. Unlike the shareholders, they will not pay in money values but in the hard currency of their daily existence. Viewed in global terms, this avenging fate is also affl icting the economically weakest countries. That’s the political scandal (Assheuer 2008).