Earlier this week, Rick Salutin joined in the conversation about the problems of Coates and Morrison’s Walrus article, “Uses and Abuses of University,” in his column for The Star. In addition to standing up for an education in the liberal arts, Salutin’s column makes the following wonderful point: “Universities didn’t create the economic mess or jobs ‘mismatch.’ It was created by governments, think-tanks, opinion leaders and the business classes, who demanded globalization and used it to ship jobs to low-wage areas — not just in manufacturing but in “knowledge” work like call centres. They broke it, they should own it.”
Even better, Salutin asks readers to “consider this” about contemporary society in Canada:
Productivity continues to increase, through automation etc., while overall wealth expands, perhaps doubling in the last 30 years. Even without maldistributed income, it would make sense to shorten the work week, share jobs and expand most people’s leisure time. But you need an articulate population to discuss these matters, and an educated one to cope with the “free” time that would result. Expanded university roles make sense in such a light, versus the stupid, irrational patterns that now blight so many lives.
Thank you, Rick: that’s the kind of enlightened and enlightening contribution that Canada needs from its newspaper columnists!