Capitalism, Audit, and the Demise of the Humanistic Academy

  • Charles Thorpe
Keywords: academic freedom


The crisis of values in academic life is symptomatic of the broader crisis of liberalism and of the intellectual role in globalized capitalism. The values in terms of which academic mores and ways-of-going-on have been formulated and defended have largely been those of liberal humanism. The core value of ‘academic freedom’ has been largely framed in terms of liberal conceptions of civil freedom. Yet, an aspect of capitalist global hegemony, particularly since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been the erosion of liberal humanism. Contemporary globalized capitalism is casting off its increasingly inconvenient liberal humanist ideological shell. The official derision of the value of “knowledge for its own sake,” as well the apathy of academics with regard to defending it, instantiate the way in which liberalism is less and less effective in constraining the brute force of capitalism.
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