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The Financialization of Education and Sonoma State University, Part II.

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{Part I: click here. This section, part two, of a four part series on Sonoma State University (SSU or "the college") is more abstract, a bit more theoretical. It has to be; in order to understand the financialization of the university, its corporatization and the dire consequences all of this poses to campus life we must critically understand the conceptual dimensions of financialization itself.


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Construction at Sonoma State (2012), by Project Censored and Danny Weil

As I mentioned in the first part of this series, SSU has been quite literally turned over to the exigencies of the private capital market and Wall Street bond underwriters with reckless abandonment. In this scenario, the campus can be understood as a "borrower'. SSU has also made a number of questionable loans and investments with its monies, lending more support to the conclusion that SSU is more investment bank than academic institution. In this case, the university has operated as a "lender'. Operating as a lender, SSU has gambled with both private endowment and public funds and lost pitifully. Couple this with the fact that more and more students borrow to attend SSU and we can see that debt plays a prominent if not central role in the life of the university and its stakeholders. It also, as we will see, plays a dominant role in the financial machinations of Wall Street, real estate hucksters and equity firms.

To understand the growing financialization of education, it is crucial to examine "financialization' as a concept and thoroughly define it. In this case, SSU is a part of the growing financialization of the entire global capitalist economy and although this is no place to engage in an in-depth discussion of capitalism, education, like all institutions, cannot be understood divorced from the economic system that underlies it and which it reflects.

Click here to read the entire article at Project Censored.

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I have a law degree (Stanford, 66') but have never practiced. Instead, from 1967 through 1977, I tried to contribute to the revolution in America. As unsuccessful as everyone else over that decade, in 1978 I went to work for the U.S. Forest (more...)
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