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Eduction for Industry

that needs to be put into question. For Althusser
only repeats in Spinozist form the operation which
is common to all epistemological theories of demarcation of science from other kinds of theoretical
discourse. That is, to attempt to provide a philosophical justification for a particular social selection and hierarchical distribution of theoretical discourses, a certain ‘regime of truth’ in Foucault’s
,phrase (26). This real, institutional demarcation
among discourses organized into disciplines is
certainly historically contingent and probably
epistemologically arbitrary to the extent that, for
example, a different conceptual system could have
served as the basis for the phySiCS which capitalism required in order to develop its mastery over
the forces and means of production. It is also conditioned from end to end by the operations of
political power. Althusser’s conception of SCience,
it seems, denies that contingency, that arbitrariness, and, insofar as he insists on the ‘objectivity’

of scientific knowledge, denies that it has any but
external relations to political power.

Fundamentally the same operation is carried out
by the empiriCist alternative to Althusser’s
Spinozist absolutism, recommended by such
diverse figures as Karsz and Lakatos (27). The
proposed demarcation between science and ideology,
or non-SCience, remains theoreticist, to the extent
that it looks for differentiating features within the
discourses themselves, their method or their
conceptual structure. On this view, however, the
difference is an empirical matter which must be
formulated theoretically through the analysis of

particular sciences and particular ideologies. One
is thus faced with the problem of how to conduct
such an enquiry without having already a concept
of the difference, and, more importantly, the question of where this prior concept comes from, . if not
from the existing social institutionalization, hierarchization and valuation of certain kinds of theory.

This seems to have been- the case with Popper, for
example, who began his search for a demarcation
criterion from the conviction that Marxism and
Psychoanalysis were unscientific in a way that the
physics of Newton or Einstein were not (28). Thus,
from the standpoint of this broader perspective,
Althusser’s theoretical tactic of defending Marxism
as a science occupies the same theoretical space as
Popper’s denunciation of it as a non-science some
30 years ago. The project of a theoreticist demarcation of science being common to both, Popper
uses it as a weapon against Marxism, whereas
Althusser simply takes up the opposing position.

That is hardly a position likely to encourage reflection on the ideological role of the demarcation
itself, or on that of the epistemological values
claimed for those discursive formations accepted
as SCientific, their progressivity, rationality or
obje,ctivity. Such reflection is one of the essential
tasks facing a historical” materialist theory of the
sciences.

26

.LVl Foucault, ‘The Political Function of the Intellectual’, Radical Philosophy
17, summer 1977, p13
27 S Karsz, ibid, p64, Lakatos, ‘History of Science and its Rational
Reconstruction,’ in Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science. Vol. VIII,
ed. R C Buck and R S Cohen, D Reidel Publ. Co, 1971
28 K R Popper, Con ectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific
Knowl_~~g~. N.

arper ore 00 S.

EDUCATION rOR INDUSTRY
RoyEdgley
Unlike other old folk who reach such an advanced
age, compulsory universal education in England has
not celebrated its centenary with a telegram of
congratulations from the Queen. On the contrary,
the Prime Minister, to say nothing of a range of
lesser luminaries from the Secretary for Education
down, has suggested that the quality of our education
leaves a lot to be desired. Having examined and
found wanting so many of its pupils in the past, the
education system is now getting a dose of its own
nasty medicine: it is widely said to be failing too
many in a different sense, and itself needs to be
taught a lesson. Who will educate the educators?

Chiefly, it seems, industry. By the standards set
by industry, the quality of our education is inadequate’ and only by aspiring to them will it reach the
required heights.

These doubts about the quality of education have
been of two general kinds, both springing from the
conviction that between education and industry there
is a ‘gap’ where there should be ‘links’. On the one
hand, it’s said that students are not reaching high
enough levels in the subjects they study, and in
particular that they are falling short in both literacy
and numeracy. On the other hand, the subjects they
study, espeCially at the more advanced stages, are
in many cases of the wrong sort: too much of the
arts and humanities, too little science, mathematic~, and technology. I shall be concerned chiefly
with the former.

One fairly predictable response to this opening of
‘the great debate’ has been horror at the conception
18

of education involved in the criticism, though the
reaction has for some been tempered by acknowledgement of our dire economic crisis and of
society’s right, as paying the piper, at least to
some extent to call the tune. We should not, it
seems to have been felt, dig in our heels too
stubbornly against the proposed changes, provideq
they are recognised as a temporary and partial
adjustment to meet an emergency, neither permanently nor wholly diverting education from its real
ideal: knowledge and learning for their own sake,
or cultivation for leisure, or the initiation of the
young into our cultural heritage, or the conversion
of barbarians into rational autonomous beings fit
for our liberal democratic civilisation. On this view,
quality in education is defined in terms of standards
set not by industry, nor by any other part of the
vulgar economic bUSiness of producing material
goods, but by high culture, that is by pure science
and mathematics, philosophy and history, literature
and the arts. The standard curriculum signifies the
continuing influence of the Aristotelian ideal of
liberal education, the education of a gentleman, its
vocational content both incidental and restricted to
‘the professions’, law, medicine, civil service,
church, and teaching itself.

I will return to that. First, let us look more
closely at the contrary claim, that an essential
measure of quality in education is its success or
failure in turning out people with the abilities and
skills required by industry. The view I want to focus
on is not directly that, but an underlying assump-

tion common to both those who make the claim and
to many of their opponents: the assumption, namely,
that modern industrial development requires an
increasingly skilled workforce whose educational
demands have outstripped the abilities supplied by
schools, colleges and universities. Mr Callaghan
said it in his speech at Ruskin College on 18
October 1976: ‘In today’s world, higher standards
are demanded than were required yesterday and
there are simply fewer jobs for those without skills.

Therefore more is ‘demanded from our schools than
in our grandparents’ day. ‘ Mrs Shirley Williams
repeated it at the Rockingham College of Further
Education four days later: ‘We must not forget that
whether or not standards have been maintained,
requirements are constantly rising. An increasingly
complex society demands better educated and
trained young people.’ I shan’t bother to quote on
this subject any representatives, aristocratic,
academic, or otherwise, of ‘the stupid party’: it’s
common knowledge that they have been urging this
truth for many years, in pursuit of their aim of
making education a more smoothly functioning
component of the capitalist system. Not only the
Right and the Centre, but also some of the Left,
share the assumption. For instance, in his Marxist
Pers ectives in the Sociolo of Education
Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1974 , Maurice Levitas
writes (P28): ‘… our industrial society’s economy
is demanding a progressively higher proportion of
highly qualified personnel in the labour force ..•
Industrial society in its most recent developments
constitutes a culture which cannot accept, in the
long. run, the belief that only a tiny proportion of its
children and young people can grasp the meanings
which inhere in higher education.’ The Crowther
Report made the point as far back as 1959: ‘The
growth in the proportion of highly skilled jobs and
the decline in proportion of unskilled jobs imply
a reassessment of what must be attempted by people
of only average intelligence.’

‘” Humanisation of labour

U

The general situation that forms the backg~ound
of this consensus is indisputable. The mode of
production is becoming increasingly technological,
systematically and consciously incorporating our
growing scientific knowledge as a productive
resource. The process by which machinery powered
by natural forces progressively diminishes the
grime, sweat, and toil of physical labour also
raises the intellectual content of work as a whole;
and it’s easy to suppose that because the former
change is distributed throughout the mass of jobs,
so also is the latter. For statistics show some significant changes in the overall composition of the
industrial workforce this century: first, a vast
growth in the ratio of ‘administrative’ to ‘proquction’ jobs; second, an absolute and proportionate
increase, within administration, of technologists,
i. e. engineers, SCientists, deSigners and technicians; third, as part of this growth of administration,
a big increase in the proportion of clerical, service
and sales workers; and fourth, within the category
of manual workers, a reduction in the proportion of
labourers and a corresponding increase in the proportion of craftsmen and operatives. All of this,
confirmed by tQ.e statistics, suggests a proportionate reduction in the number of unskilled jobs and an
increase in the number of skilled and semi-skilled
jobs. Hence the picture of industrial capitalism as
the engine of general intellectual advance throughout the community: as manufacture climbs the

teclmological slope it requires more intelligence;
a gap is opened up between its demands and the
available skills supplied by the education system;
and if we establish links across that gap, industry
may drag education up to its own continuously advancing intellectual level. We move towards the
dream of theorists of post-industrial or teclmologiCal society: a ‘knowledge society’.

Let’s ignore the observation that while British
industry produces so much unemployment it might
be better served by education for leisure. As far as
‘the great debate’ is concerned, we can say that the
overall educational quality of work made available
by industry is a function of two magnitudes, one
intensive and the other extensive: the degree of
skill of each type of job, and the number of jobs of
each type. For instance, manual workers in
industry form about the same proportion of employees now as they have done for several decades, but
within that category the proportion of labourers has
steadily declined while the proportion of craftsmen
and operatives has correspondingly risen; and this
has been taken to show that the ratio of skilled and
semi-skilled to unskilled manual jobs has risen.

But as Harry Braverman points out in his remarkable book Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century (Monthly
Review Press, 1974), these concepts of skilled,
semi-skilled, and unskilled work, aligned with the
cl~ssification of industrial manual workers into
craftsmen, operatives, and labourers, are highly
questionable. Indeed, philosophers who specialise
in ‘conceptual analysis’ would do well to meditate
on his argument (Chapter 20) as an example of
really substantive analysis of concepts.

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19

~

Anyone who has ever done any factory work, or
who knows closely anyone who has, will already
have begun to question these questionable concepts
and the accompanying theory of industry’s rising
educational demands. In case any readers of this
article don’t fall into either of. those two classes,
I’ll remind them of the literature on worker alienaHon, with its extensive evidence that for most
workers industrial work involves fragmented, repet.

itive, and boring activities that engage next to
nothing of their intelligence, responsibility, or
initiative. A recent example of this literature is
Studs Terkel’s Working (1974), in which, for
instance, one of the people he interviewed, Nora
Watson, says ‘Most of us, like the assembly line
worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit.

Jobs are not big enough for people’.

Taylor’s theory of scientific management, with the
Taylor-Gilbreth conception of time and motion
study treating the worker as an adjunct of the
machine: all point inexorably to the de-skilling of
labour.

Automated salvatl·on ~t

But is this tendency itself being overtaken by a
crucial new development, the growth of ‘postindustrial’ society? Some educationists, e. g.

Entwistle in his Education, Work, and Leisure
(Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1970), have seen automation as a qualitatively different factor from
mechanisation. With mechanisation, ‘industry
requires people to be unthinking automata: it is the
graveyard of enterprise and skill’ (P7). But ‘auto~
mation makes it possible and desirable for increasing numbers of people to function in professional or
quasi-professional terms in jobs which require the
At the- very outset of the Industrial Revolution
exercise of judgment, intelligence, and skill’ (P30);
and ‘The expansion of work opportunities which can
Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations both described a
powerful debilitating tendency in the growing
be a consequence of the automation of industry will
certainly require from workers much greater knowdivision Of labour under capitalism and proposed
State education as a remedy: ‘The understandings of ledge, intelligence and skill’ (p43). What evidence
the greater part of men are necessarily formed by
is there that automated industry, when we get it,
their ordinary employments. The man whose whole
will require higher levels of .intelligence and skill?

life is spent in performing a few simple operations
I mean evidence, not a priori arguments that it
. •• has no occasion to exert his understanding. . .

must be so, nor the propaganda of those with a
He generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it
career-stake in automation. On what I take to be
is possible for a human creature to become. .•
the fairly plausible assumption that automation in
The uniformity of his stationary life naturally
America is ahead of automation in England, and
corrupts the courage of his mind ••. It corrupts the
because evidence on this subject is so scarce by
activity of his body and renders him incapable of
comparison with utopian assumptions and advertisexerting his strength with vigour and perseverance
ing, I refer the reader to one of the few serious
in any other employments than that to which he has
students of the topiC, James R Bright, of the
been bred. His d~xterity at his own particular trade Harvard Business School. Aware of the wishful
seems in this manner to be acquired at the expense thinking, Bright prepares us for his conclusions as
of his intellectual, social and martial virtues. But
early as the preface of his book, Automation and
Management (Boston, 1958): ‘A controversial area
in every improved and civilised society, this is the
state into which the labouring poor, that is, the
of this study will lie, no doubt, in my conclusions
great body of the people, must necessarily fall.’

regarding the skill required of the work force in the
As Marx impishly adds after quoting this passage,
automated plant. The relationship of skill require’For preventing the complete deterioration of the
ments to the degree of automaticity as a declining
great mass of the people by division of labour,
rather than increasing ratio is not commonly
A. Smith recommends ‘education of the people by the accepted, or even considered.’ In the conclusion
State, but prudently and in homoeopathic doses’

of his paper ‘Automation and Skill Requirements’

(Capital, Book I, Part IV, Chap XIV).

(National Commission, The Employment Impact of
Like a number of distinguished modern education- Technological Change), Bright states the conseists, then, Adam Smith saw industrial capitalism as quences for educational demands: ‘I suggest that
requiring not more but less skilled manual workers, excessive educational and skill specification is a
and State education as necessary not for supplying
serious mistake and potential hazard to our economindustry with intelligence but on the contrary for
ic and social system. We will hurt individuals,
counteracting industry’s tendency to stupefy labour. raise labour costs improperly, create disillusion
The 20th century confirms this early diagnosis of
and resentment, and destroy valid job standards by
the capitalist work ethic. At its opening stands
setting standards that are not truly needed for a

De – sling
k -11-

Ford’s pracrcr

I.,.

20

.

~

inVjntiOll of the assembly line an.dt1_g_irV_enrtia_skl·r-‘-tI_Sth_al-tl–1c~om+e_b+a_C+k-+tO-+th_a-l-t_’.1-Ll
I

j ,

information begins to “short circuit” the stage of
conscious attention and gives rise to appropriate
action unconsciously. •• In industry this stage of
For a realistic view of industrial skills we need
only to turn to someone intimately involved in their skill is sometimes referred to as “experienced
workers’ habit” in contl’adistinction to “experienced
systematic analysis and the consequent design of
workers’ speed”. :The latter, attained with conscious
training programmes for workers: W. Douglas
Seymour, author of Industrial Skills (Pitman, 1966). attention, may be as fast as the former, but is
Seymour does his best to convince us of the accom- seldom so consistent and presumably involves more
“effort'” (p152).

plishment of skilled workers in industry. But his
So industrial skills, on this account, require no
own words too often qualify the praise. First,
particular intelligence, can be learned in four or
summarising results of training experiments on
five weeks or less, and are properly exercised with~
machine operations; specifically the capstan lathe,
out conscious attention. It would be difficult to
he says, ‘There is no evidence to indicate that
imagin’e anything less capable of providing criteria
intelligence plays much part in the ability to learn
of quality in education. Education seems the very
tasks of this sort’ (p143); and later, in a summary
of findijpgs about industrial skills and their acquisi- antithesis of industry.

tion, ‘Intelligence, as measured by non-verbal
intelligence tests, has been fOWld to have no significant influence on the trainee’s acquisition of skill,
In w}1at way, then, is the content of the production
e. g. on the capstan lathe’ (p166). Indeed, one of the process more intellectual? As Braverman points
book’s major themes is that the key process by
out, ‘The question is precisely whether the scientiwhich an industrial worker’s skill improves is ‘the
fic and “educated” content of labor tends towards
change. of sensory channel to one which either will
averaging, or, on the contrary, toward polarization.

provide the information more immediately or will
• .• The mass of workers gain nothing from the fact
free an otherwise overloaded channel. .• The
that the decline in their command over the labor
commonest example • •• is the use of proprioceptive process is more than compensated for by the increasing command on the part of managers and
channels instead of visual channels, as when, in
learning to ride a bicycle, we learn to pedal without engineers. On the contrary, not only does their
watching our feet’ (p147). Second, ‘the primary
skill fall in an absolute sense (in that they lose craft
criterion of skill throughout. these observations was and traditional abilities without gaining new abilities
that of (worker) productivity, i. e. the rate of peradeq’flte to compensate the loss), but it falls even
formance or speed of carrying out the task satismore in a relative sense. The more science is incorporated into the labor process, the less the
factorUy. •• Most people can perform most of the
tasks which are reqUired of semi-skilled operatives wo~ker Wlderstands of the process; the more sophiin” industry, but most people either fail completely
sticated an intellectual product the machine becomes
to perform such tasks to the standard of speed
the less control and comprehension of the machine
required, or take an Wlconscionable time in
the worker has. In other words, the more the
worker needs to know in order to remain a human
acquiring the speed skills. From an industrial
viewpo.mt, the time required to attain a satisfactory being at work, the less does he or she know’ (p425).

standard of performance is important ••. ‘ (p145).

In rational activity, brain controls hand, and craft
Speed is vital not only in performance but also in
work Wlifies this hierarchical relationship in the
acquisition of skill, and carefully designed training
person of the craftsman, whose hand is thereby’

programmes’based on thorough analysis of industWlder his own authority. Capitalism hierarchically
rial skillS, and replacing the traditional method of
div~des capital from labour, subordinating labour to
learning known as ‘sitting by NeHie’, are described the power and authority of capital, and in itS
as reducing the necessary training time e. g. from
specific mode of the division of labour divides the
sixteen to five weekS, from twelve to four or three
‘controlling brain from the subordinate hand in
weeks, from nine to four weeks, and so on. Third,
accordance with its own hierarchical structure:

the final stage.in the acquisition of an industrial
since ‘hands’ need managing, the system inevitably
skill is described as ‘Diminishing Conscious Atten- tends to suck the intelligence out of labour and contion ‘: ‘A final integration of performance occurs
centrate it in authority on the side of capital,
when the operator “triggers off” a whole series of
represented by management and machinery. In
responses to a single signal. •• Such “triggering.

Marx’s words: ‘ ..• once adopted into the production
off” occurs frequently on industrial tasks •••
process of capital, the means of labour passes
There also occurs at this stage a psychological
through different metamorphoses, whose culminachange in the organization in so far as the incoming tion is the machine, or rather, an automatic system
of machinery .•• The worker’s activity, reduced to
NEWS FROM
a mere abstraction of activity, is determined and
regulated on all sides by the movement of the machinary, and not the opposite. The science which
compels the inanimate limbs of the machinery, by
ACATAWGUE OF NEW RADICAL
their construction, to act purposefully, as an autoPUBLICATIONS
maton, does not exist in the worker’s conSCiousness,
but rather acts upon him through the machine as an
News from Neasden is advertising disguised as bibliography. ‘However
that may be, it contains in convenient form much information on new
alien power, as the power of the machine itself .••
radical publications (books, pamphlets, reprints etc) which should be
The accumulation of knowledge and of skill, of the
useful to publishers, booksellers and bookbuyers alike.’ Monthly
general produc~ive forces of the social brain, is
Review, November ’76. News from Neasden is published in February,
August and October and sent free to bookshops. We charge publishers
thus absorbed into capital, as opposed to labour,
for entries. Since the February ’77 issue we have included about 3,<XXl
and hence appears as an attribute of capital. •. In
words of 'real' reviews. We hope to increase this as we get rrnre book·
shop sales and subscriptions, The annual subscription is £1 or $.1,
machinery, knowledge appears as alien, external to
Libraries £3,00 or $6.

him (the worker) ••• ‘ (GrWldrisse, trans. by Martin
Nicolaus, Penguin, pp692-95).

22 FLEET ROAD, LONDON,NW3 2QS
We should pe:rhaps add to this that not only does
21

Unintelligent skills

Appendages of the machine

NEASDEN

persons to be in jobs that utilize less education than
they have.’ Attacking ‘the education craze’, and
what he calls ‘the popular assumption ••• that widespread technological change in America is” respon …

sible for the demand for better..;educated workers’

(Pp82-3), Berg claims that “‘Achievements” appear
to have exceeded requirements in most job categories’ (P14) and records his ‘suspicions about the
wisdom of uSing educational credentials as a
screening device’ (P80). ‘~he “quality” argument’,
he says ‘… had not been impressive ••• neither
were arguments that jobs were changing so fast in
content as’ to require better -educated people •••
educational achievements were changing much more
rapidly than jobs ••• a finding that induced cautious
interpretationS about the “automation revolutitn” •• ”
Other data increased our suspicions that there may
be a significant margin of education that goes beyond
what employers need even for good plant and corpor~
ate performance ••• The National Industrial Conference Board • •• is probably right when it concludes
from its data that ” ••• Employers may have
tailored their requirements to match the qualifications, of ••• labor'” (pp80-81). Thus it precisely is
not the case, as alleged by John Cunningham,
writing in the Guardian’s ser.ies ‘Schools for the Job
on-Wednesday 3 November 1976, that though ‘Overthinking’, but is himself equally naive in rejecting
all, companies say they are not being handicapped
by labour problems at the moment… The Prime
this possibility on the grounds that ‘most peo’ple’

(in this case industrial workers) are incapable of
Minister’s worries are most surely founded in the
‘logical thinking’ and have interests of an affective
statistic which shows 30,000 vacancies at universities and polytechniCS for science and engineering
rather than an intellectual kind (pp69-70). The
presumption of this view is that somebody who is
students.’ What this signally failS to recognise is
capable of ‘logical thinking’ could exercise this
the possibility that such a ‘foundation’ is itself
based on the same ideological mystificatioo as the
capacity while working as a machine operative.

Bantock should try it, and let us know which side of ‘worries’ it is supposed to support: the existence of
his own divide he ‘falls on.

tl}ose 30, 000 vacancies in higher education’tnay
Like the change within the composition of the
reveal something about the policy of ‘manpower
category of industrial manual workers, the increase planning’ in accordance With which science and
in the proportion of clerical, service and sales jobs engineering faculties have been expanded, but it.

relative to those in manual work as a whole repreproves “nothing about the needs and capacities of
sents a growth in physically light and clean work,
industry.

and in this case moreover a growth in ‘administration’ relative to ‘production’, much of it ‘office
Why would employers seek to employ, and pay for,
work’ and ‘white collar’. Again the temptation is to
workers with more education than they need for the
associate this change with an advance in the skill
and intelligence required of workers, office work
job? Given Berg’s crude measure of educational
being traditionally located on the side of manageachievement, number of years of schooling, we may
ment and brain rather than on the side of ‘manual
suspect here that with characteristic hard-headed
realism employers regard schooling as functioning
labour’; but again the evidence reveals a powerful
in the way Illich suggests, as an agent of subbrdinatendency towards de-skilling as the organisation of
offices is progressively rationalised on the printion to established authority. If so they may have
ciples already applied to factories, the work itself
been disappointed. If Berg is right, employers are
inexorably degraded by hierarchical fragmentation
not only paying excessive rates in accordance with
and mechanisation, which extract its content of
inflated educational criteria, they are also getting
intelligence, responsibility, and initiative, and with inferior workers: more educated employees tend to
them promotion prospects. If those jobs require a
be both more dissatisfied with their jobs and less
basic level of literacy and numeracy, that casts
efficient in terms of productivity, turnover, and
doubt on the assumption that the ability to read and
absenteeism. It is of course evident, as is pointed
write is in itself an essential measure of educational out by the Schools Council Working Paper, No. 7,
quality, rather than a necessity imposed upon us,
‘Closer Links between Teachers and Industry and
through the schooling process, by societies like
Commerce’ (1966), that employers seek certain
ours.

.

qualities of character and personality among their
w()rkers, especially obedience, a sense of discipline”
and loyalty. But ten years ago, at any rate, British
employers, presumably in contrast to their American
Assuming again that the Ameri~an” experience is
re~evant, and ahead of the British, we should reflect counterparts, drew a distinction between these
characteristics and academiC ability, and valued the
on the warning comprehensively argue~ in Iv~r
latter less highly, it seems, than their present
Berg’s Education and Jobs: The Great Training
descendants: as the Working Paper says, ‘Teachers
Robbery (Praeger, 1970). In the words of Eli
were impressed (sic) by the fact that many employGinsb.erg’s summary in his Foreword: ‘His most
ers were prepared to forgo high academiC attain …

critical finding is that with the passage of time
ment in favour of well developed personal qualities’

there has been a tendency for a larger group of
22

the scientific knowledge involved in the production
process ‘not exist in the worker’s consciousness’

but, as we have seen, the worker’s consciousness,
as consciousness of what he is doing in his job,
itself hardly exists at all. Notoriously, industrial
workers who exercise their skill Without conscious
attention compensate for the boredom of their work
by exercising their minds in the only way possible
under these conditions, in the escapism of daydreams ‘and fantaSies, a process sometimes encouraged by such distractions as ‘music while you work’.

In his Culture, Industrialisation and Education
(Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968), G H Bantock rightly
describes as naive John Dewey’s idea that industrial
work could release the mind ‘for a higher order of

Schooling in deference

Great Training Robbery

who reserve real education for an elite and conSign
to the schools the job of ‘socialisation’, or training
of the emotions, or for leisure and hobbies. All
bear witness in their own way to the fact that for
most people in our society, the work they do, the
A Journal of Radical Perspectives on the Arts
fundamental activity that takes up half their waking
Ten Theses on the Failure of Communication in the Plastic Arts by
time and decisively shapes their whole life, is not
Kenneth Coutts-Smith
fit for human beings. The real but suppressed
.

A Measure of The Measures Taken: Zenchiku, Brecht and Idealist
question is not how education can convert barbarians
Dialectics by Roger Howard
into rational autonomous individuals fit for our
Beneficent Roguery: The Detective in the Capitalist City by John M.

liberal democratic civilization, but rather whether
Reilly
our liberal democratic civilization, which is the
Toward a Theory of the Lyric: Georg Lukacs and Christopher Caudwell
civilisation of industrial capitalism, ~s fit for
by Eileen Sypher
people: people Who, far from beginning life ‘as
In the Belly of the Monster: The Filipino Revolt in the US by E. San
barbarous egoists needing socialisation, begin as
Juan, Jr.

social beings and are ‘socialised’ into alienated
My Education by Carlos Bulosan
individuals.

“Be American” by Car/os Bulosan
Measured in Berg’s crude terms the so-called
Ideology as Demiurge in Modern Art by Ferenc Feher
‘gap’

between industry and education is in fact an
Preliminary Notes on the Prison Writings of Gramsci: The Place of
“‘inconsistency” between education and occupation’

Literature in Marxian Theory by Jean Thibaudeau
(p119). In terms of the standards of quality involved
The Theater of Pirandello by Antonio Gramsci
in
the school’s commitment to high culture, educaBrecht and the Dynamics of Production by Marc Zimmerman
tion is indeed the negaticn of industrial capitalism,
The Marxism of Lucien Goldmann in The Philosophy of the Enlightenbut its ‘harmless negation’, a negation entirely in
ment by Norman Rudich
the head. The ideals and values of literature, art,
Visions of Defiance: Work, Political Commitment and Sisterhood in
and pure SCience, replaCing religion, distract the
Twenty-One Works of Fiction, 1898-1925 by Nan Bauer Maglin
mind of society from its industrial work: they conPainting and Ideology: Picasso and Guernica by Bram Dijkstra
stitute the bourgeois counterpart of pop culture,
Salvation and Wisdom of the Common Man: The Theology of The
and
both cultures represent at the social level the
Reader’s Digest by Ariel Dorfman
machine operative’s escapist fantasies and express
The San Francisco Mime Troupe Commemorates the Bicentennial with
the same alienating character of the mode of producFalse Promises/Nos Enganaron by Theodore Shank
tion. But the progressive transformation of scientiSingle copies for $3.50 and subscriptions (two issues) for $7.00 (add $1.00 outside NOrth America) are available from Praxis, p.a. Box 207, Goleta, California
fic theory into technological practice, as we see, is
93017 USA. Praxis is distributed in the U.K., EUrope and the Commonwealth bV
making it increaSingly difficult for education to
Pluto Press, Unit 10 Spencer Court, 7 Chalcot Road, London NW1 8LH, England.

Bookshop price: £2.20; subscriptions £4.

avert its gentlemanly gaze from the vulgar realities
of advanced commodity production, in which know(pp11-12). What has happened in these last ten years ledge descends from the cosmological heights and
to change that industrial demand-for an army of sub- assumes material form, in the economic base as a
missive morons? Given the stagnant state of
resource involved in the production of commodities,
British industry over that period, unions more
and in the process itself is appropriated as a
ready to use their political muscle, and the. ferment commodity, produced and distributed by the education sy1:;tem. Education should stop trying to avert
in education, from the student protest movement of
its gaze. The invitat~on to establish ‘closer links’

the late 1960s down to the recent affair at William
with industry should be accepted with both hands Tyndale, the evidence points strongly to the suspibut also with the head: nQt, that is, on the terms
cion that behind the current industrial demand for a
usually assumed in ‘the great debate’, which
more educated workforce lies the hope that more
education of the kind suggested will help to restore
according to John Fairhall’s accooot of the Educaamong students the discipline needed in the subtion Secretary’s conception sets itself the question
‘how education can improve the image of industry’

ordinate ranks of industry’s political hierarchy. It
(Guardian, Thursday 25 November 1970). No doubt
is no coincidence that the demands for minimal
most industrialists and some in education will see
levels of literacy and numeracy, together with a
that question as identifying the ‘link’ required. But
shift from those centres of student unrest, arts and
the contradictions of capitalism are reflected in all
social SCience, towards the more conformist
the sectors of society, and ‘the great debate’ will
natural sciences and engineering, should be com.define one more site of the continuing political
bined with an attack on ‘progressive’ education and
a call to return to more formal methods of teaching. ·struggle. As education inevitably establishes links
The real meaning behind the words ‘More education’ with industry, many teachers and students, certainis: ‘~ess insubordination’.

ly the socialists among them, will resist the
cosmetic operation being planned, and will insist
on raising the question ‘Education for industry, or
The words themselves contradict their :meaning.

.. in its present form – against it?’

Education is essentially subversive, and its subversive potential can be contained only by the
special social institution of schooling. Contained but
not eliminated; and the tensions take a particularly
acute form in the conflict between an expanding
education system and a mode of prodUction which,
as its own educational content expands, concentrates
that content on the side of capital and progressively
de-skills labour. The conflict is reflected in various attempts at resolution, from the institutional .

separation between minority higher education and
universal schooling to the theories of educationists
23

Education vs. Industry ?

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