[p2p-research] Towards a post-scarcity New York State of mind

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Wed Aug 5 21:48:34 CEST 2009

Michel Bauwens wrote:
> such a voucher system would achieve first of all a hyper-commercialization
> of education and a further splintering of schools .... most parents would
> not choose to homeschool their children, as they have no time for it, they
> would still use schools ...
> so I think the best option is to democratize well-funded public schools,
> while given the freedom to homeschool; public schools were not just a
> prussian project, but also a social demand from the labour movement for
> universal literay and citizenship; as bad as it may look, it was better than
> sending children in the mines .. this is still the dream of billions of
> humans, who see education, and schools, as emancipatory
> as bad as contemporary society is, most parents would still prefer that
> their children be socialized to partly adapt to the requirements, rather
> than leave them to survive at the margins ... you can't see education apart
> from broader social change requirements ... vouchers in current society
> would in my opinion be harmful ...
> isn't it the case that homeschooling is now mostly done by conservative
> evangelicals, and that these parents privatise and indoctrinate their
> children in a single belief system? the other alternatives are probably
> either being wealthy, or very committed, or belong to some alternative
> community ...


I made a point by point commentary, but let's look at this another way.

You (like I) have been heavily schooled, and done well in it, and been 
highly praised and rewarded for that. Admitting that was counter-productive 
for our happiness or the survival of humanity would be an incredible 
emotional leap.

That is kind of like this surreal situation by Monty Python:
"Here at Lughtborrow are the five young men chosen last week to be eaten by 
a crocodile for Britain this summer. Obviously, the most important part of 
the event is the opening 60 yard sprint towards the crocs. And twenty-two 
year old Nottingham schoolteacher Gavin Watterlow is rated by some not only 
the fastest but also the tastiest British morsel since Barry Gordon got a 
bronze at Helsinki. In charge of the team is Sergeant Major Harold Duke. "

You also work in academia, as do many on this list and many who are the 
backbone of the free culture movement. Admitting that the larger framework 
that leads up to academia is harmful would lead to an incredible amount of 
cognitive dissonance as well as be risky for your livelihood.

Peer-to-Peer, as you have pointed out, is already baselessly being attacked 
as a threat to national security. Adding on to the peer-to-peer movement any 
resistance to schooling may just be too much for it on a practical basis, as 
in opening the P2PFoundation for off-base but easily-believed critical 
remarks like "What? They not only want kids to steal stuff, they want them 
to not get an education, too? What scoundrels!" And look what happened to 
this guy:

On the other hand, if what I say is true, schooling (at least in the USA) is 
one of the biggest limiting factors to a peer economy. So, it's a sad and 
difficult situation, all around IMHO, whatever position it is practical or 
emotionally tenable to take on it. And of course, I also may be completely 
wrong. :-) It's OK with me if you think so. :-)

--Paul Fernhout

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