The Neoliberal Arts : How Colleges Have Sold Their Soul

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In September of 2015, Harper’s Magazine published William Deresiewicz’s essay The Neoliberal Arts: How colleges have sold their soul to the market. In this essay, Deresiewicz discusses how colleges have changed their mindset over the last century and how the world’s new neoliberal thinking has changed higher education for the worse. Deresiewicz believes that “The purpose of education in a neoliberal age is to produce producers.”(1) In his introduction, Deresiewicz compares the ideologies of colleges from the 1920s to today’s thoughts. He concluded that “College is seldom about thinking or learning anymore.”(1) He also believes that there is only one value of education now and that is commercial. The other values are tolerated only when they pertain to commercial value. With the new beliefs in neoliberalism, Deresiewicz determines that “The world is not going to change, so we don’t need young people to imagine how it might.”(3) This leads to education just being about information rather than free thinking. He then goes into discussing how there are others who have come to the realization that not everyone can have high paying jobs as well. Deresiewicz concludes that students only care about the skills needed to start their career not obtaining general knowledge. Colleges teach their students to be leaders for their own benefit not the benefit of others. The neoliberal society, Deresiewicz believes, has begun to give students “a sense of helplessness”(5) so they have no
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