dedicated to my daughters Anna and Ella
Democracy should not be confused with the “freedom” of binary
choices, the publication of opinion polls or the crowding of people
into statistics. These are its pretense.
Today the fundamental decisions, which effect the unnecessary pain increasingly suffered across the planet, have been and are taken unilaterally without any open consultation or participation. The new tyranny, like other recent ones, depends, to a large degree, on a systematic abuse of language. Together we have to reclaim our hijacked words and reject the tyranny’s nefarious euphemisms; if we do not, we will be left with only the word shame.
Shame, not individual guilt
[accessed 17 January 2003]
Under the cover of current GATS negotiations, the world’s multinationals are trying to expand their access to services. The USA’s Coalition of Service Industries brings together the main multinationals working in the US services industry. With encouragement from the WTO itself, they have targeted the national health services of European countries as their prime objective for privatisation in the current negotiations on GATS.
In many of the world’s poorest countries, privatisation of essential public services has already taken place as a result of structural adjustment programmes imposed by the IMF and World Bank. The effects of this privatisation programme have been disastrous, as the World Bank itself admits.
The introduction of school fees where there was previously free education has driven many poor families to withdraw their children from school, while hospital fees have put basic health care beyond the reach of millions.
The central problem with the free trade agenda is that it pits the world’s most powerful corporations against the fledgling industries of developing countries, and removes the regulations protecting them.
John Pilger, Globalisation, Privatisation, Liberalisation
[accessed 20 January 2003]
Where Do We Stand?
In the present round of the ever faster spinning wheel of the liberalisation plans of the World Trade Organisation, the aptly called Millenniums Round of the General Agreement of Trades in Services (GATS) negotiations, education – as well as health services, water distribution and others – is high on the list of those public sectors which are forced open for so called market forces and deregulation.1) In other words, they have to be prepared to serve the interests of international corporations demanding unlimited access to national (and former public) markets.2)
After the piteous shipwreck of the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) in 1998, the underlying notions of these GATS-negotiations constitute the most serious, far reaching, profound and radical threat to democratic decision making for societies in hitherto traditional public areas, a threat the full scope of which hardly has been realized by most educational experts, not to mention the public in general. For students and parents alike the privatisation and commodification of education will bring spiraling tuition costs, a growing intellectual conformity as well as an increasing inequity of access to higher education. The Canadian philosopher John Raulston Saul has called this development a “coup d´etat in slow motion” although these strategies of transnational corporations and banks could actually be more precisely characterized as a coup contre d´etats.3)
The Position of “Europe”
At the opening ceremonies of the learntec convention and fair in Karlsruhe on 4 February 2003 EU-Commissioner Viviane Reding as well as Deputy of the European Parliament Erika Mann stated that the European Union does not plan to subject higher education to these demands. While this public stand should be applauded neither earlier contradictory positions of the European Commission nor the complete intransperency of the negotiations do bode well for the future. The last word certainly has not been spoken yet, so let me develop a different scenario.
During the last years the European Commission (EC) has explicitly highlighted education as one of the key areas being ripe for liberalisation while the gist of the small print of the proposed GATS agreement is concealed: the rapid decline of state monies for education with the long range goal of wholly privatising higher education.4)
The recent information or rather dis-information policy of the EC regarding the possibility for public debate about these vital issues is a perfect case in point. While the deadline for requests for market access, which had been decided at the Fourth Ministerial Conference of Trade Ministers at Doha, Qatar, in November 2001, had been set on 31 March 2003, the EC only issued a website for public consultation on 12 November 2002.5) How serious potential criticism of this pseudo-information, which for a long time was only available in English and avoided any serious debate of the hottest issues, was taken by the EC clearly was indicated by the extremely limited time frame. While submissions for changes had to be in by 10 January 2003, the EC planned to inform the EU governments about its position only a week later on 17 January 2003 – a provocation and clear indication of ignoring the interests of the public.
While all of this is not really surprising, the social, economic, political and cultural stakes are extremely high. In the EC´s own words: Services constitute the single most dynamic economic activity in the EU accounting for at least two thirds of GDP and employment. Services also account for more than half of the EC’s incoming and outgoing foreign direct investments. The EU is at the same time the biggest world exporter and importer of services, with 24% of world trade in services (while it covers 19% of world trade in goods.) 6)
Today we are confronted with two extremely opposing interpretations of the function of education. On the one hand, education has traditionally been seen – not only by European Social Democrats and Christian Socials but also by the proponents of the New Deal, the Fair Deal and the Great Society in the United States – as an instrument for the improvement of the equality of chances for the young and as a national public priority as well as a human right. On the other hand, contemporary education policies since the 1980s – following the motto schools will respond better to paying customers, just like any other business – more and more have resembled strategies to create educational institutions for the systematic furtherance of inequality on a national and global scale. Needless to say, its proponents cling to the public relations myth of creating even more equality of chances.
This opposition means nothing more or less than a struggle between bitterly divided camps – one of them working for the expansion of free public education for all while the other has been systematically creating the bases for an international corporate framework which by definition must result in a shortage of education for those who cannot pay for it – which is the great multitude of the world´s population.
Is eLearning content a commodity or an educational asset?
If applied intelligently and with social responsibility it of course could be both. This question posed by the organizers of this conference would have been utterly absurd – not only for technical but also political reasons – a few decades ago. Yet this is not any more the case in the era of “liberalisation”, “deregulation”, and “neoliberalism”, which, we all know, is neither “neo” nor “liberal” or has very much to do with a “free market” but one that is privately owned – which is quite a different proposition.7) And the growing corporate pressure for the global privatisation of university and adult education makes this question anything but absurd. Private corporations, which already control about 20% of the two trillion Euro spent on education worldwide, aggressively try to extend their market share. 8) Since the 1970s we have undergone constant carpet bombing with neoliberal messages about “the free market” as a cure for all by our engines for consent management, also known as free media. The most important recent change, William Pfaff reminded us, though has been the elevation of the role of money in determining how America [and therefore the world?] is governed. This was never small, but acquired a new dimension with the Supreme Court ruling [Buckley v. Valeo in 1976] that declared money spent to elect candidates and promote private and commercial interests in Washington is a form of constitutionally protected free speech. That changed a representative republic into a plutocracy. 9)
Though even the end of history was proclaimed after the breakdown of the Soviet Union, the recent United Nations Development Reports clearly come up with quite different readings of history. They are documenting a rapid growth of inequality in the race for the most important resource of the 21st century: education. It is clear that the development of artificial intelligence and the decoding of genetic codes have already occupied the space, which in earlier times was held by the search for gold and the conquest of countries as a certain road to economic power.
Already by 2010 the Infotainment giants expect as high profits from their educational offerings – distributed via a global education system of TV channels, CD-ROMs, DVDs, cable systems and the Internet – as from their entertainment products. 10) And this market will grow immensely. The UN Development Agency estimates a greater number of people looking for education during the next thirty years than all students since the beginning of human civilization and the present taken together. But while the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, famine, diseases, violence and, last but not least, war will sadly diminish these unfortunate children, the numbers of students looking for higher education alone will double within the next 25 years and reach 170 million worldwide. 11)
The biggest future market
Education and knowledge thereby will become the greatest future market and the central question is: who will sit in the control cockpit? Will it be monitored by democratic institutions or by a relatively small number of private corporations? Without doubt the struggle over this gigantic education market will not only dwarf other economic conflicts but, in the present political climate, also immensely favour the interests of U.S. corporations and a small number of other corporate giants against those of public institutions globally.
Education as a world market? We are not talking peanuts but really big money. The two trillion Euro spent on education annually amount to one 20th of world GDP. U.S. educational exports alone bring in more than 7 billion dollars per year, which makes it the fifth largest sector in the export of services. Needless to say, U.S corporations are at the vanguard of corporate incursions for breaking down national barriers. As Glenn R. Jones, CEO of virtual university Jones International Inc. and head of one of the principal lobbying groups consulting the WTO, notes, education is one of the fastest-growing of all markets. Private training and the adult education industry are expected to achieve double-digit growth throughout the next decade.12)
In the early 1980s the first and best pupil of the policy of privatisation of education was Chile under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Since then the combined pressure from the IMF and the World Bank in many of the poorer “Third World” countries enforced drastic cuts in state spending on education, as well as health, welfare and other areas. Teachers were sacked, schools closed, and universities deprived of funding. The situation rapidly became catastrophic.13)
In Europe, with a traditonally strong state interest in education, the subject is highly sensitive. But under increasing pressure from the European Round Table of industrialists (ERT), the reforms required to privatise state education are cautiously, gradually and secretely being put in place. The ERT´s lobby at the WTO talks put it bluntly: Responsibility for training must be assumed by industry once and for all... education should be considered as a service to the economy. Even under this logic, in which profit-making entities are privatised and loss-making ones are subsidised by the taxpayer, there is still room for public education systems. But the place will be the cellar, a room without a view. In the truly sensational words of the OECD: The only role of the public sector will be to ensure access to learning for those who will never be a profitable market, and whose exclusion from society in general will be accentuated as others continue to progress. 14)
Most important in our context: the introduction of eLearning and new information and communication technologies (ICTs) does not only offer an ideal pretext for increasing privatisation of education and the downsizing of the public sector but also favour educational ideas along the lines of U.S. models. While the number of teachers has been reduced and their salaries cut, ever higher portions of national education budgets have been used for introducing information technology in schools – much to the delight of companies making software and educational products. This shift in public spending towards private companies meets the ERT’s primary objective. The second is to provide the economy of the 21st century with a modern workforce, which is mobile, flexible, and capable of lifelong learning – in its own time and at its own expense. 15)
So there is much more to what has been termed in perfect Newspeak ( © George Orwell) “educational reforms”. In reality, universities are not simply undergoing a technological transformation. Beneath that change, and camouflaged by it, lies another: the commercialization of higher education. For here as elsewhere technology is but a vehicle and a disarming disguise.16)
So, what is at stake? While I do not hold with simplistic utopian-dystopian perspectives, the dramatic advances in ICTs will lead to fundamental changes of the whole environment and structure of higher education – not just the classroom will be transformed but teaching, learning, managing and obtaining services also. So we are dealing with “four interlinked processes of producing, using, consuming and governing ICTs in higher education.” But while “knowledge is a key resource” it must be clear that ICTs do not create knowledge but reconfigure access to knowledge and expertise. 17)
Let me make something clear at this point: I am not a Luddite and have been a pioneer in the area of eLearning in Austria. Online and multi-media components have played an important part in all of my work for quite a few years. I have lectured and taught widely on related topics in Europe and the United States and my project “History @ Internet” is internationally renowned. In 2001 I was invited as science host for the website of the Austrian National Radio and Broadcasting Corporation ORF, which is the most visited website of Austria. It has been an uphill struggle but I have tried to inform my colleagues that all educators must understand – eventually – that the times will be over soon when students accepted teachers whose multi-media competence does not even compare with the gameboy know-how of six year olds.18)
There can be no doubt that developments in the areas of the Internet in general, web-based education and eLearning in particular, offer many decisive advantages:
Yet while improvements in the area of accountability and quality are most welcome one does not have to be a Luddite to realize the significant implications especially in the areas of oversight and control. It is clear that new media will not only challenge traditional approaches to teaching but practices of research and publication as well.
Simply put we are confronting the problem whether teachers and students will be dealing with a free web of (hopefully) emancipatory knowledge and information or 1) at best a web of corporate guidance or 2) at worst a net of corporate control and disinformation. The fronts are clear: while one side enthuses about the “emergence of effective new models of electronic learning”, critics fear automation of education as a neoliberal strategy “which will destroy jobs and undermine quality”. While one side claims that the new media will improve learning and extend the best instruction to the world, the other holds that the invasion of eLearning and corporate control will undermine the “quality of teaching and erode the intellectual and academic climate of the university”. Whatever view one takes it is more than clear that all of this constitutes an extreme challenge for the dominance of traditional institutions of academia, which have been further undermined by new forms of eLearning resulting in “fundamental shifts in the geography of educational institutions”. 19)
As my colleague, the doyen of European distance education, Asa Briggs reminds us, eLearning does indeed have the potential to open access to higher education, but it comes at a price, and that price is not cheap. While the greatest allure of information and communication technologies is their potential, through tele-access, to broaden ways into higher education, there are always financial impediments. There is always too the alarming spectre of a broadening and deepening ´digital gap´ which may perpetuate rather than eliminate economic, social and cultural inequalities, national and international. 20) Or, as Manuel Castells, warns us, e-business is not the kind of business that is exclusively conducted on-line, but a new form of conducting business. 21)
Whether eLearning will be a completely new form of learning remains to be seen but it will become increasingly difficult, whatever the pull of nostalgia, to manage universities (and schools) totally different from other economic institutions.
Unrecognized by (or concealed from) many, these dramatic changes will most probably lead to an end of open public access to higher and adult education, raising costs, concentration on the usability and marketability of studies, evaluation of studies by already established international U.S. corporations, pressures on, if not censorship, in the area of freedom of teaching and research, a dramatic decline of educational quality at least in the public sector and – lower taxes for the rich. Austria´s “first and fully independent private university”, a strange U.S.-Austrian hybrid, offering business and international law courses, IMADEC university, incorporated in 1999, has a most revealing advertising campaign: IMADEC – the elite knows why. 22)
But does it? Or am I a member of the elite because I know why?
The stakes are high
The continuous retreat of European governments from a full support for public education, the abolishment of co-determination, the introduction of tuition fees – all in the name of the profitability of educational investments and of a greater professionalism of the trade of knowledge and know-how as a commodity – have prepared the ground for the commercialisation and internationalisation of the educational sector on an unprecedented scale. All of this is happening on the background of a massive trend towards a corporate takeover of the public education sector by the education industry. Traditional European universities – squeezed in between for-profit universities, commercial institutions in the tertiary sector, training by corporations and transnational media giants with their edutainment programs – will have to counter quickly if we do not want to lose the primacy over our cultural capital.
While the public education systems will be on the losing side of this economic struggle on a global scale, not too surprisingly the vehemently promoted model of a global education market will also have profiteers who, colloquially speaking, may be subsumed under the category of the usual suspects. The driving forces are to be found among those countries and their leading universities and infotainment corporations which already have gained the best positions in the field for some time: the United States (and their “Coalition of Service Industries”), Australia, New Zealand, and, within the European Union, Great Britain, one of the chief exporters of educational commodities. Incidentally these are the same countries which since the UKUSA agreement of 1947 have developed the most powerful global intelligence gathering organisation in the world – ECHELON. 23) The ultimate control of this global system for the interception of communication – whether private, commercial or governmental – is in the hands of the U.S. National Security Agency. 24)
The American Century of Education?
For a variety of reasons – keyword: the American Century – the United States and their allies are in the best starting position to expect the biggest pieces of the future global education export pie. Corporations of these nations have been the avant-garde in the field of “virtual universities”, eLearning, online- and distance-education. 25) Their educational packages often proffered in a combination of the latest industrial and aesthetic design of hard and software, global market(ing) power, and their symbolic power emanating from some of the most highly prestigious universities of the Anglo-American empire, create a product that will be a tough competition for most educational institutions not only in Europe. 26) Worst hit will be small countries, especially those of the “developing world”.
Given the present economic, political, social and cultural parameters it is to be assumed that any extension of online-teaching will structurally count for a radical reinterpretation of the meaning of education – from public good to commodity. But the price we will all have to pay will not only be economic but astronomic. 27)
These policies which will further exacerbate inequalities on national as well as global spheres will directly leed to a further explosion of violence, terror and (cultural) wars. The “Five Wars of Globalization” – the illegal trade in drugs, arms, intellectual property, people, and money – has been booming already for quite a while. 28) “Seen in a sober light”, Riccardo Petrella (Catholic University de Louvain, Belgium, and adviser to the EC) reminds us, these education systems will be sources of power for those who believe to have the most progressive and therefore most powerful knowledge. On the other hand, those who will be excluded or rejected certainly will react against this discrimination and this new form of class thinking and racism, which is based on knowledge. 29)
eLearning and Globalization of Communication
Reaganomics and Thatcherism have had a tremendous impact on the media world and deregulation – the code word for corporate unaccountability – has been made the global standard by the transnational corporate economy. During the last two decades we witnessed dramatic changes in the area of communications and the 1990s constitute an extremely important watershed in the era of global media. Despite the power of U.S. media after the Second World War, most media systems had been predominantly national before the 1990s. Recent technological developments as well as massive changes within the interior structures of the infotainment business dramatically contributed to this development.
For the first time the collapse of the Soviet Union made a really global communications market possible. It remains to be seen, whether the democratic potential of education will be minimized by the introduction of the U.S. market model. Though technically more difficult to control, it is not unimaginable that the economic infrastructure of the Internet and eLearning will follow this trend of getting controlled by private corporations which define their claims as quasi-natural and unchangeable.30)
The creation of a “real” global “market”
The creation of a really global commercial media market, which is controlled by less than ten global transnational corporations, is more than an economic matter; it also has clear implications for media content, politics, culture and education. We are presently experiencing an unprecedented struggle between media, software, and telephone companies for the control over electronic shopping, television cables, new digital telephones, satellite technology, communication systems and the spoils of global eLearning. The world buys what it sees and hears. This is the conclusion Walter LaFeber reaches in his brilliant Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism which demonstrates the utmost cultural-political-economic synergy as a result of the cooperation between media moguls and transnational corporations or, in other words, the results of global corporatism instead of a free market. 31) Whether television, video, the Internet, or universities, no stone will remain unturned. Those companies, which will control the data networks, will also control the flow of monies, goods and ideas of the next century – including those sectors of education which will have been commodified.
It is no secret that the popularity of American popular culture and its immense money making potential have created the Empire of the Fun. 32) Indeed, over the last twenty years the major Hollywood companies were being turned into image empires with tentacles reaching down, not only to movies and TV programs, but also to books, records, theme parks, toys, clothes, kitchen utensils, travel agencies and even hardware. The feature film business no longer exists in its own right but is increasingly becoming part of an integrated global image business central to the broader media strategies of entertainment companies and conglomerates. However, the major studios are the fundamental building blocks of the emerging entertainment blockbuster companies.33) And they will remain so in the Internet age, which will see a growing struggle for the control over access. However wide the net of this infotainment empire may be cast, the products offered show anything but global diversity. As Bruce Springsteen sarcastically commented in “57 Channels (and Nothin´ On)”:
The biggest economic battles over the last decades have nearly all been fought over infotainment companies and that struggle is indicative for what is presently happening in the area of eLearning. As John Chambers, CEO Cisco Systems, the global leader of web servers, already predicted in 1999. The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail usage like a rounding error. 35)
So the business of America is much more than show-business. Much less noted are the pervasive American successes in the fields of eLearning as well as “high culture”. Not only the business world, from production to management, from public relations to sales methods, has become modelled on American practices, but the world of arts and sciences as well, where whole theoretical frameworks, techniques and technologies were adopted at tremendous speed. The whole debate of public reform in general and that of university reform in particular has been inundated by US-practices to a degree where their adoption seems to be a natural sine-qua-non for success.
The Internet has become the most important (cyber)space for economic, cultural, political and military competition on a global scale, thereby raising the stakes for the future relations between the United States and her allies and foes alike. 36) It was President Clinton, who, in a rarely practiced moment of openness, characterized the Internet as the new battle field of an economic world war which the United States were inclined to win. 37) In this conflict, hardly even noticed by most Europeans, the United States for a long time have held many advantages. Needless to say, this pole position is dramatically improved by the present administration´s immense investment into a new arms race and Full Spectrum (Military) Dominance 38) which, combined with the US Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Department, the Office of Global Communications and the Total Information Awareness Agency, offer possibilities for research, control, military and industrial espionage and surveillance to an unprecedented degree that puts George Orwell´s Big Brother fantasy into a quaint historyland. 39)
What can “Europe” do?
Time is more than pressing: „Distance Education“ (nomen est omen) and eLearning are quickly getting off their kid gloves and hundreds of (mostly) U.S. institutions in cooperation with the infotainment industry are speedily improving their commercial education products. It is only a question of time until a student at any point on the globe can study at the most renowned institutions of higher learning – if she or he can pay for it. That many of these institutions are concentrated in the United States has more to do with European failures than most of us dare (or care) to admit. 40)
What must be done? If the EU could agree to concentrate massive research capacities not only into the certainly important area of technology – as the Sixth European Union Framework Programme for Research and Technology (2002-2006) clearly does 41) - but even more so into the intelligent and humane application of digital technologies in the area of public education, then there is no doubt at all that Europe could become the “Hollywood of education” – cooperating and sharing with all during the 21st century. In the 20th century Europe lost the struggle over the hegemony of popular culture to the United States by its own fault. But although U.S. software and programming languages are ubiquitous no natural law exists, which decrees that Europe also will have to lose the competition in the area of education. It is clear that this means more and not less money intelligently and creatively invested in public education with financial and social responsibility. (Not only) Europe needs a new exemplary social-economic contract. We have the requisite resources: the brains, the know-how, the diversity and the business acumen. We need massive investments into public education, the arts, culture, landscape and city conservation and research that will guarantee a sustainable development which is the only way to secure a long range profit for the people as well as business. The slogan cannot be profit over people but people and profit. The alternative – increased military spending, the building of ever higher fences and rising crime rates – will be much more expensive. And we have to act quickly. The ivory trade rightfully has been ostracized internationally. And ivory towers too will be torn down.
All of this without a doubt constitutes an immense challenge to humanity but also a chance, especially for social sciences and the humanities. The increasing total transparency of human beings is paralleled by an ever increasing intransparency of the structures of power which make one demand absolutely indispensable: every historian of the 21st century earning that description will perforce also have to be a hacker.
Two final points: First, Adam Smith has become the patron saint for neoliberal ideologists despite the fact that he vehemently opposed any form of economic concentration with its distortion of the market. But he is not the only philosopher-economist, whose work was radically abbreviated and distorted by his acolytes. In the context of the privatisation of education, Smith´s unknowing disciples are barking up a completely wrong tree. In the fifth book of Smith´s Wealth of Nations, he especially refers to education as one of those goods which should be publicly taken care of: It is a duty of „the sovereign or commonwealth“, he emphasizes, to erect and maintain those public institutions and public works, which, though they may be in the highest degree advantageous to a great society, are, however, of such a nature that the profit could never repay the expense to any individual or small number of individuals, and which it therefore cannot be expected that any individual or small number of individuals should erect or maintain. Therefore, according to Smith, next to the military and the judicial systems, two kinds of public institutions should be erected and maintained, one for „the education of youth“ in public schools „for a very small expense”, “where children may be taught for a reward so moderate that even a common labourer may afford it“ and one for „the instruction of people of all ages“. 42)
Second, no other public system of education of any industrialised country has been as drastically privatised over the last 30 years as that of the United States. 43) But the increasing corporate takeover has not at all resulted in an improvement but on the contrary in a dramatic dumbing down which certainly is not an example to be followed. Already in 1983, the U.S. National Commission on Education titled its report “A Nation at Risk”, bemoaning a rising tide of mediocrity which belied our democratic promise that all, regardless of race or class or economic status, are entitled to a fair chance and to the tools for developing their individual powers of mind and spirit to the utmost.
And: If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. 44)
The (dis-)information society cannot simply be characterized as an inevitable force for progress. On the occasion of his 80th birthday in the beginning of 2003 the outstanding US-computer pioneer and critic Joseph Weizenbaum warned: Computers like all other instruments are neither value-free nor non-ideological but inherit the values of the societies in which they are incorporated. In a rational society they potentially fulfil a series of useful functions but until such a society is established they have to be viewed critically. In a highly militarized society, like the United States at present, they are instruments of murder. 45) Needless to say, this is not at all an exclusive problem of and for the United States but of and for all modern computerized societies – and perhaps even more for those who are not – with dire consequences for every citizen of planet earth.
A recent scientific poll by the magazine National Geographic of the US-population between 18 and 24 years, exactly the age group now preparing for war in the Middle East, showed that only one in eight of young Americans could find Iraq on a map, 70 percent could not find New Jersey, 49 percent missed New York and 11 percent even could not locate the United States. 46) The Jeremiads about similar tests have been legion since the Carter administration more than 20 years ago. There is no doubt that the United States has a number of the most brilliant educational institutions and is inhabited by many of the best educated, cultured, friendly and hospitable people in the world. I have had the privilege of experiencing all of that on many occasions and am much the richer intellectually as well as personally and grateful for it. But in the present economic climate even elite institutions like Stanford University or Duke University are experiencing a dramatic financial crisis.47) And it is not the best the U.S. educational system is producing that is our concern here but the worst – for a continuously growing number of people. 48)
Neither U.S. critics like the U.S. National Commission on Education nor I or other European critics are anti-American when opposing the global corporate takeover of education, politics which have hurt the majority of the people of the United States at least as much as those of other countries. 49) A system generating results like the above may finally really have to rely on intelligent bombs to find “the enemy”. But it certainly would be the opposite of an intelligent choice as well as disastrous for Europe – if that term should have any meaningful cultural connotation – to copy such a system uncritically.
1) Lecture delivered at the learntec convention, Karlsruhe, 4 February
2003, key session A
2) Oliver Prausmüller, „Die letzte Grenze? Progress 1/2002. See Reinhold
Wagnleitner, "Sitting in the Jungle of the Global Market Place, Watching
the American Tiger Prance: Some Fast Food for Thought on American Cultural
Imperialism" in The New Global Popular Culture: Is it American? Is it good
for America? Is it good for the world? Edited by Ben J. Wattenberg
(Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1992)13: 1-8.
3)Maude Barlow, „The Corporate Colonization of Higher Education“ (2000)
[accessed 15 January 2003]
4) International Pupil- and Studentactions: GATS: The Threat to higher
education. A briefing on current World Trade Organisation negotiations
[accessed 15 January 2003]
5) EC Trade in Services
[accessed 9 January 2003]
7) Pierre Bourdieu, „The Essence of Neoliberalism“ Le Monde diplomatique
[accessed 17 January 2003]
8) Masaio Miyoshi, „Der versilberte Elfenbeinturm: Globale
Wissensindustrie, akademischer Kapitalismus” Lettre International Heft
[accessed 15 January 2003]
9) William Pfaff, “Will the New World Order Rest Solely on American Might?”
International Herald Tribune 29 December 2001. I am indebted to William
Pfaff for information about this Supreme Court decision. Email Pfaff to
Wagnleitner, 19 January 2003. See Buckley et al. v. Valeo, Secretary of the
United States Senate, et al. SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES, Argued
November 10, 1975, Decided January 30, 1976
[accessed 23 January 2003]
10) David Puttnam, The Undeclared War: The Struggle for Control of the
World´s Film Industry (Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997)
11) “Dollars and Degrees” Newsweek 13 January 2003: 36-37.
12) Laurence Kalafatidés, “Education on the Ropes” The Guardian 16 November
2001. Laurence Kalafatidés is a member of the Observatoire de la
Mondialisation and vice-president of the Institut pour la Relocalisation de l'Economie
[accessed 11 December 2002]
16) David Noble, “Digital Diploma Mills: The Automation of Higher
Education” first Monday 1998
Herbert I. Schiller, Information Inequality: The Deepening Social Crisis in America (New York, London: Routledge, 1996)
17) Here I follow William H. Dutton´s and Brian D. Loader´s argument in
their “Introduction” to William H. Dutton and Brian D. Loader, Digital
Academe: The New Media and Institutions of Higher Education and Learning
(London, New York: Routledge, 2002): 1-32.
18) Hompeage Reinhold Wagnleitner
Homepage Geschichte @ Internet
Website ORF Science
Website Capella University
[accessed 20 January 2003]
Salzburg Seminar American Studies Center Session 20: The Internet: Networking, Research and American Popular Culture, November 26-December 5, 1997
[accessed 23 January 2003]
19) Dutton and Loader, “Introduction”.
20) Foreword by Asa Briggs in Dutton and Loader, Digital Academe: xviii.
21) Manuel Castells, The Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet,
Business, and Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001): 102.
22) Imadec Austria
[accessed 19 January 2003]
23) The UKUSA Community
Federation of American Scientists, ECHELON
Dossiers Echelon: Les grandes oreilles américaines
“Das Originaldokument Enfopol vom 3. September 1998”
[accessed 20 January 2003]
24) European Parliament Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception
System, approved September 5, 2001
See James Bamford, The Puzzle Palace: Inside the National Security Agency, America´s Most Secret Intelligence Organization (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1983); Duncan Campbell, “Somebody´s listening” New Statesman 12 August 1988
[accessed 24 January 2003]
25) Reinhold Wagnleitner, Geschichte @ Internet: Epoche der Desinformation?
ORF ON Science 11 January 2001
R. Wagnleitner, Hollywood versus History ORF ON Science 20 January 2001
R. Wagnleitner, Der digitale Hörsaal ORF ON Science 27 January 2001
[accessed 3 January 2003]
26) The best compilation of the major international players as well as a
number of sources can be found at Ingrid Lohmann´s fine seminar website
„DER WELTHANDEL MIT BILDUNG“, Summer 2003, University of Hamburg:
[accessed 15 January 2003]
See „Gutachten für die Max-Traeger-Stiftung: GATS-Verhandlungsrunde im Bildungsbereich“ by Gülan Yalcin und Christoph Scherrer unter Mitwirkung von Thomas Fritz und Sebastian Haslinger, March 2002. This is one of the best summaries of the problems involved in German and can be found at the following website:
[accessed 20 January 2003]
27) Reinhold Wagnleitner, „Globalisierung wovon reden wir eigentlich?“
Aurora-Magazin Winter-Frühjahr 2003
[accessed 22 January 2003]
28) Moisés Naím, „The Five Wars of Globalization“ Foreign Policy
[accessed 24 January 2003]
29) Interview printed in Progress 1/2002.
30) Herbert Schiller, Information Inequality (New York, London: Routledge,
31) Walter LaFeber, Michael Jordan and the New Global Capitalism (New York:
W.W. Norton, 1999)
32) Reinhold Wagnleitner, "The Empire of the Fun, or Talkin´ Soviet Union
Blues: The Sound of Freedom and U.S. Cultural Hegemony in Europe" in
Diplomatic History vol 2, no. 3 (Summer 1999): 499-524. Available online
without footnotes in Austrian Information Washington, D.C., vol. 52, no.
3-6/7, March-July 1999
[accessed 23 January 2003].
For a list of my topical publications see Appendix II.
33) Janet Wasko, Hollywood in the Information Age (Oxford: Polity Press,
1994). Benjamin R. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: How the Planet Is Both
Falling Apart and Coming Together And What This Means for Democracy (New
York: Times Books, 1995)
34) Bruce Springsteen, “57 Channels (And Nothin´ on)”
[accessed 31 January 2003]
35) Thomas L. Friedman, “Next, it’s E-ducation” The New York Times, 17
November 1999: A25.
36) Rudolf Maresch and Florian Rötzer (eds.), Cyberhypes: Möglichkeiten
und Grenzen des Internet (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 2001)
37) Harald A. Friedl, "Cyber-Paradies für Arme? Statt Reisfelder und
Demokraten gedeihen im virtuellen Weltdorf "Internet" hauptsächlich
Info-Müllberge - auch ohne die vier Milliarden Menschen unter der
Armutsgrenze" Kulturaustausch via Internet - Chancen und Strategien, Haus
der Kulturen, Berlin
[accessed 9 January 2003]
38) Full Spectrum Dominance
[accessed 15 January 2003]
H.J. Krysmanski, „Zur geopolitischen Bedeutung der Machteliten der USA“
[accessed 17 January 2003]
See also H.J. Krysmanski´s seminar series “Aspekte der Globalisierung”
[accessed 17 January 2003]
30) Florian Rötzner, “Überwachungsmonster USA” telepolis 17 January
[accessed 20 January 2003]
Florian Rötzner, “Präsident Bush hat jetzt seine eigene Propaganda-Abteilung“ telepolis 22 January 2003
[accessed 27 January 2003]
40) Carl Shapiro und Hal R. Varian, Information Rules: A Strategic Guide
to the Network Economy (Harvard Business School Press, 1998); Kevin Kelly,
New Rules for the Economy: 10 Ways the Network Economy Is Changing
Everything (Fourth Estate, 1998); Keith Harry, Higher Education Through
Open and Distance Learning (London: Routledge, 1999). Visit the World
[accessed 18 January 2003]
41) The Sixth European Union Framework Programme for Research and
[accessed 3 January 2003]
42) Adam Smith, book 5, chapter I, part 3, article II and Smith, book 5,
chapter I, part 3 quoted in
Ingrid Lohmann, “Commercialism in Education: Historical Perspectives,
Global Dimensions & European Educational Research Fields of Interest”
Information on Ingrid Lohmann´s pionieering work in this field can be found at her website:
[accessed 18 January 2003]
43) See Inequality.org
[accessed 24 Januar 2003]
44) Paul Gagnon, „What Should Children Learn?“ in The Atlantic Monthly
National Commission on Education 1983, A Nation at Risk
[accessed 12 January 2003]
45) Joseph Weizenbaum, „30 Jahre Computerkritik“ telepolis 8 January 2003
[accessed 12 January 2003]
46) Amerikaner finden Irak nicht auf der Weltkarte“ SPIEGEL ONLINE -
[accessed 16 January 2003]
47) “Finanzkrise an US-Elite Unis: Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei” SPIEGEL
ONLINE 13 December 2002
[accessed 24 January 2003]
48) The restructuring of the U.S. economy during the last decades of the
20th century and its role in the era of globalisation is analysed most
recently in Malcolm Sylvers, Die USA Anatomie einer Weltmacht: Zwischen
Hegemonie und Krise (Köln: PapyRossa Verlagsgesellschaft, 2002)
49) Euopean University Association: GATS (WTO) and the implications for
higher education in Europe
[accessed 18 January 2003]
US DEMANDS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN GATS NEGOTIATIONS (those pertaining to the EU)
Below is the formal request the USA is asking for under Education and Training Services. The impact would be to open up these services where they are still publicly delivered and to lock in permanently privatisation in countries that have liberalized under IMF/World Bank conditionality. Please note that under full commitments, governments must give subsidies to foreign education corporations on the same basis as they do to local, public institutions. In all likelihood, the US is making the same request under the FTAA services negotiations.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING SERVICES (HIGHER EDUCATION, ADULT EDUCATION AND OTHER)
Higher education includes all tertiary education (i.e., education beyond secondary education), including degree courses taken for college or university credits or non-degree courses taken for personal edification or pleasure or to upgrade work-related skills. Such education and training services can be provided in institutional settings, such as universities or schools, or outside of traditional settings, including workplaces, homes, or elsewhere.
The U.S. requests on education also include adult education and „other“ education, as well as training services and educational testing services. Training services are very similar to education services, but training courses are generally less theoretical and more job-related than academic courses, often requiring hands-on operation of tools, equipment and certain devices. Educational testing services include designing and administering tests, as well as evaluating results. These services are a fundamental and essential part of the learning process, used to evaluate the student as well as the course material.
In GATS W/120, higher education is classified in section 5C, adult education in section 5D and „other“ education in section 5E. Training services are classifiable in the same categories. In CPC, education and training services are classifiable in sections 923, 924, and 929. Educational testing services may be covered as business services in technical testing (W/120 1Fe), as well as under educational services. CPC 86769 covers „other“ testing services.
Market Access and National Treatment
Members who have not already done so are requested to provide full commitments for market access and national treatment in modes 1,2, and 3 for higher education and training services (as defined above), for adult education, and for „other“ education. Consistent with the commitments, countries remain free to review and assess higher education and training, by governmental or non-governmental means, and to cooperate with other countries, for purposes of assuring quality education.
Special Requests of Individual Countries:
EU Member States: Assure that EU commitments on education apply to all Member States. Undertake further commitments to provide market access and national treatment for testing services. Consistent with the commitments, countries remain free to review and assess higher education and training, by governmental or non-governmental means, and to cooperate with other countries, for purposes of assuring quality education.
EU-Greece: Remove restriction that the granting of degrees is limited to Greek institutions only. Recognize degrees issued by accredited institutions of higher education (including those issued by branch campuses of accredited institutions); and adopt a policy of transparency in government licensing and accrediting policy with respect to higher education and training.
EU-Italy: Remove requirement in Italy that foreign entities teach only non-national students.
EU-Ireland: Remove quantitative limitation of educational institutions in Ireland.
EU-Sweden: Adopt a policy of transparency in government licensing and accrediting policy with respect to higher education and training.
Complete demands under:
[accessed 9 January 2003]
Reinhold Wagnleitner´s topical publications:
„Die kulturelle Neuorientierung Österreichs nach dem Zweiten Welktkrieg: Prolegomena zum Phänomen der symbolischen Penetration“ in Zeitgeschichte 11(Juni/Juli 1984)9/10: 326-344.
„Der kulturelle Einfluß der amerikanischen Besatzung in Salzburg“ in Eberhard Zwink (Ed.), Salzburg und das Werden der Zweiten Republik. VI. Landes-Symposium am 4. Mai 1985 (Salzburg: Landespressebüro, 1985): 47-58.
„Die Kinder von Schmal(t)z und Coca-Cola: Der kulturelle Einfluß der USA im Österreich der fünfziger Jahre“ in Gerhard Jagschitz und Klaus-Dieter Mulley (Eds.), Die „wilden“ fünfziger Jahre (St. Pölten, Wien: Verlag Niederösterreichisches Pressehaus, 1985): 144-172.
„Die Verbreitung des amerikanischen Traumes: US-Kulturpolitik als Mittel der Westintegration im Kalten Krieg“ in Landstrich 5(1985): 74-92.
„Propagating the American Dream: Cultural Policies as Means of Integration“ in American Studies International XXIV (April 1986)1: 60-84.
„The Irony of American Culture Abroad: Austria and the Cold War“ in Lary May (Ed.), Recasting America: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cold War (Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press, 1989): 285-301.
Coca-Colonisation und Kalter Krieg: Die Kulturmission der USA in Österreich nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg (Wien, Verlag für Gesellschaftskritik, 1991)
(Ed. with Walter Hölbling), The European Emigrant Experience in the U.S.A. (Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 1992)
„American Cultural Diplomacy, the Cinema, and the Cold War in Central Europe“ in Working Papers in Austrian Studies, 92-4, Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, April 1992: 1-19.
„Sitting in the Jungle of the Global Market Place, Watching the American Tiger Prance: Some Fast Food for Thought on American Cultural Imperialism“ in The New Global Popular Culture: Is it American? Is it good for America? Is it good for the world? Ed. Ben J. Wattenberg Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1992)13 :1-8.
„Die Kulturmission der USA: Coca-Colonisation und Kalter Krieg“ in Weg und Ziel 50(1992)1: 2-9.
„Observations on a City in Distress: A Private Letter from Vienna by U.S. Diplomat Martin F. Herz, May 1948“ in Austrian History Yearbook Vol. XXIV (1993): 189-200.
„Propagating the American Dream: Cultural Policies as Means of Integration“ in Richard P. Horwitz (Ed.): Exporting America. Essays on American Studies Abroad (New York, London: Garland Publishing Inc., 1993): 305-343.
„Amerikanisierung als Weltkonsum: Vom neuen Global-Burger zum Informationsproletarier“ in gdi impuls, 4(1993): 52-60.
„American Cultural Diplomacy, Hollywood, and the Cold War in Central Europe“ in Rethinking Marxism 7(Spring 1994)1: 1-17.
„American Cultural Diplomacy, the Cinema, and the Cold War in Central Europe“ in David W. Ellwood and Rob Kroes, Hollywood in Europe. Experiences of a Cultural Hegemony (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1994): 197-210.
Coca-Colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War“ (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1994)
„Der kulturelle Einfluss der amerikanischen Besatzung in Salzburg“ in Salzburg 1945 - 1955. Zerstörung und Wiederaufbau (Jahresschrift des Salzburger Museums Carolino Augusteum 40/41, 1994/95): 223-235.
„Radio und Kalter Krieg. Die US-Radiopolitik und die Entwicklung des österreichischen Rundfunks zur Zeit der alliierten Besatzung 1945-1955“ in Theo Mäusli (Ed.), Schallwellen. Zur Sozialgeschichte des Radios (Zürich: Chronos Verlag, 1996): 1-27.
„Der kulturelle Einfluß der US-Besatzung“ in Erich Marx (Ed.), Befreit und Besetz. Stadt Salzburg (Salzburg, München: Verlag Anton Pustet, 1996):137-146.
„Die Marilyn-Monroe-Doktrin oder das Streben nach Glück durch Konsum: Die US-Popkultur und die Demokratisierung Österreichs im Kalten Krieg“. IWM Working Papers No. 5/1997
„Where´s the Coke? There´s The Coke!“ in Christina Giorcelli and Rob Kroes (eds.), Living with America, 1946-1996 (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 1997): 61-69.
John G. Blair and Reinhold Wagnleitner (eds.), Empire: American Studies (Tübingen: Günter Nar Verlag, 1997) (= SPELL. Swiss Papers in English Language and Literature 10 )
„The Sound of Forgetting Meets the United States of Amnesia: An Introduction to the Relations between Strange Bedfellows“ in David F. Good and Ruth Wodak (eds.), From World War to Waldheim: Culture and Politics in Austria and the United States (New York, Oxford: Berghahn Books, 1999): 1-16.
Coca - Colonisation und Kalter Krieg: Die Kulturmission der USA in Österreich nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg
e.journal bü.cher (June 1999)
„The Empire of the Fun, or Talkin´ Soviet Union Blues: The Sound of Freedom and U.S. Cultural Hegemony in Europe“ in Diplomatic Historyvol 2, no. 3 (Summer 1999): 499-524.
The Empire of Fun, or Talkin’ Soviet Union Blues: The Sound of Freedom and American Cultural Hegemony in Europe During the Cold War Austrian Information Washington, D.C. Volume 52, No. 3-6/7, March-July 1999 (four installments)
Coca-Colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War (netLibrary 1999: eBook ISBN: 0585028982. Publisher: Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c1994 Print ISBN: 0807844551)
Sili-Colonisation, Geschichte und Internet: Global denken, lokal handeln e.journal literatur primär neue.medien (November 1999)
„The Empire of the Fun, or Talkin´ Soviet Union Blues: The Sound of Freedom and American Cultural Hegemony in Europe“ in Michael J. Hogan,„The Ambiguous Legacy“: U.S. Foreign Policy in the American Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999): 463-499.
Reinhold Wagnleitner and Elaine Tyler May (eds.), „Here, There and Everywhere“: The Foreign Politics of American Popular Culture (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2000) (=Salzburg Seminar Publications)
„Introduction“ (with Elaine Tyler May): 1-13.
„Encartafication or Emancipation: The Internet as the New American Frontier?“ in Wagnleitner and May, Here, There, and Everywhere: 309-328.
„The Empire of the Fun: Die Vereinigten Staaten und die Demokratisierung Europas nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg“ in Thomas Fröschl, Margarete Grandner und Brigitta Bader-Zaar (Hrsg.), Nordamerikastudien. Historische und literaturwissenschaftliche Forschungen aus österreichischen Universitäten zu den Vereinigten Staaten und Kanada (Wien, München: Verlag für Geschichte und Politik R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2000) (= Band 24 Wiener Beiträge zur Geschichte der Neuzeit, Verlag für Geschichte und Politik): 211-230.
„Geschichte @ Internet: Wir werden alle global professionals sein oder wir werden gar nicht sein.“ in Manfred Lechner und Dietmar Seiler (Ed.), zeitgeschichte.at. 4. österreichischer Zeitgeschichtetag ´99 (Innsbruck: Studienverlag, 2000) (CD-Rom)
„Von der Coca-Colonisation zur Sili-Colonisation“ in Kölner Beiträge zur Anglo-Amerikanischen Geschichte Ed. Michael Wala Heft 1: (August 2000)
„Von der Coca-Colonisation zur Sili-Colonisation“ in Kölner Beiträge zur Anglo-Amerikanischen GeschichteEd. Michael Wala Heft 1: (August 2000) ISSN 1616-0312
„The Sound of Forgetting Meets the United States of Amnesia: An Introduction to the Relations between Strange Bedfellows“ ak.tu.ell ejournal
„Global denken, lokal handeln: Wir müssen die Demokratie nicht neu erfinden, sondern endlich nur Ernst nehmen“ ak.tu.ell ejournal
“Geschichte @ Internet: Epoche der Desinformation?“ ORF ON Science 11 January 2001
“Hollywood versus History” ORF ON Science 20 January 2001
“Der Digitale Hörsaal” ORF ON Science 27 January 2001
“Das Web und die Interpretation der Welt” wienwebplus 17 February 2001
“Geschichte @ Internet II: Ein Relaunch im Zeitalter der Titanic” ORF ON Science 10 March 2001
“The Sound of Music“—die Realität der Fiktion ORF ON Science 30 March 2001
„Zeit-Geschichte in den Zeiten der Deregulierung“ ORF ON Science6 April 2001
„10 ½ Thesen zum World Wide Web (W3) - Erster Teil“ ORF ON Science 13 April 2001
„10 ½ Thesen zum World Wide Web (W3), Teil zwei“ ORF ON Science 20 April 2001
„Globalisierung auf einen Blick“ ORF ON Science 27 April 2001
„ Coca-Colonisation und Kalter Krieg: ´Amerikanisierung´ als historisches Phänomen und der ´Fall´ Österreich „ in Ursula Lehmkuhl, Stefanie Schneider und Frank Schumacher (Eds.), Kulturtransfer & Kalter Krieg: Westeuropa als Bühne und Akteur im Amerikanisierungsprozess Erfurter Beiträge zur Nordamerikanischen Geschichte 3/2000: 12-23.
„Die digitale Revolution der Lehre“ ORF ON Science 18 May 2001
„Amerikanisierung? - Globalisierung? - Bildung!“ ORF ON Science 31 May 2001
„America™ - The United Corporations of America“ ORF ON Science 22 June 2001
„Geschichte @ Internet: Bilanz eines Semesters II“ ORF ON Science 14 July 2001
Coca-Colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1st ed. 1994, 2nd ed. 2001)
„Wem gehört die Welt? Aspekte der Globalisierung bei H.J. Krysmanski“ ORF ON Science 25 October 2001
„No Commodity Is Quite So Strange As This Thing Called Cultural Exchange“: The Foreign Politics of American Pop Culture Hegemony Geschichte @ Internet
„´No Commodity Is Quite So Strange As This Thing Called Cultural Exchange´: The Foreign Politics of American Pop Culture Hegemony“
in Amerikastudien/American Studies 46 3(2001): 443-470.
„American Pop Culture Hegemony“ in ejournal ak.tuell (January 2002)
„Jazz: die klassische Musik der Globalisierung“ Satchmo Meets Amadeus
„Jazz: the Classical Music of Globalization“ Satchmo Meets Amadeus
„Globalisierung - wovon reden wir eigentlich?“ Aurora-Magazin Winter-Frühjahr 2003