- LET'S LOOK FIRST AT NEO-LIBERAL EDUCATION FROM A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHILE REAGAN AND CLINTON WERE DEFUNDING AND DUMBING DOWN US PUBLIC EDUCATION------THEY WERE INSTALLING THIS SAME NEO-LIBERAL EDUCATION POLICIES IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD MUCH TO THE WORLD'S CITIZENS DISMAY-----AS WILL BE OUR DISMAY IF WE DO NOT REVERSE THIS CORPORATIZATION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.
For those that believed what Obama's Department of Education and Arne Duncan released at the beginning of Obama's term-----that Race to the Top was a coalition of politicians like Maryland's O'Malley, education professionals, and teachers.......you can look at this article written during the Bush years about what was already the model that Obama installed. It was purely written by corporate think tanks with the sole goal of sending almost a trillion dollars in public education funding to Wall Street through privatization. So, to start you have to create reasons to create markets-----ways to use those markets to maximize profit----and a system of hiring and firing that meets with corporate standards of loyalty to the corporation and its ethos. Today's teachers have no sense of corporate loyalty----in fact teachers and parents fight to keep corporations out of schools---even advertisement. So, that is what Race to the Top and schools as businesses as is the policy in Baltimore pressed by Johns Hopkins. Please take time to Google this article---it is too long to post. It let's you see the history of neo-liberal education and today I visit China for what is this same policy on steroids. Think to yourself----why am I not hearing any of this? Who should be teaching us-----well, first it would be in university classrooms and debated on university campuses.....NOT A WORD HERE. Then we would have our politicians educating on these policies and there goals----NOT A WORD HERE. Then there would be labor leaders starting the fight for union teachers and for community schools for their union members----NOT A WORD HERE. Then you would think religious and justice leaders would come forward to educate about the ills of a Wall Street education system----NOT A WORD HERE. In fact, religious schools are the first tying themselves to Wall Street.
Republican voters need to know that Bush and neo-cons were central in moving these privatization policies tying schools to Wall Street. We see conservative citizens most disturbed by being told they have no control of education content and school operations. This is why it comes under the guise of Democrats even though Clinton and Obama neo-liberals are not Democrats----they work with Republicans.
Neoliberalism and Education Reform
| E. Wayne Ross - Academia.eduwww.academia.edu
Marketizing Higher Education: Neoliberal Strategies and Counter-Strategies, Les Levidow. Critical Pedagogy and Class Struggle in the Age of Neoliberal Globalization: ...
As you see below, this US neo-liberal education policy was unrolled overseas in developing nations before Clinton/Bush placed it on the table here. In every case----from South Korea, to China-----here you see an article from Malaysia----the shouts to get rid of this Western neo-liberal capture of their local education systems. NO ONE WANTS THIS. So, these several years of Obama's terms have been all about expanding US universities overseas------O'Malley made that his focus sending all kinds of education funding to building online sites like UMUC marketing it overseas and you know what?
THEY ARE NOT BEING ACCEPTED OR ABLE TO SUSTAIN THEMSELVES IN MOST CASES.
This is to what our education funding went when Reagan/Clinton neo-liberals started defunding and reforming our public schools for the worst. While parents used bake sales to fund schools-----Clinton and Bush were sending the money for what used to be well-funded US public education systems -----to building these US universities overseas. Fast forward these few decades AND NOBODY WANTS THEM. So, now Obama is doubling-down on this corporatized university structure in the US with his hundred billions 'stimulus' building research facilities attached to universities. Notice below the article uses the term
A DEMOCRAT WOULD NOT DO THIS------A WALL STREET CLINTON GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERAL WOULD. ALL MARYLAND POLS ARE CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AND BUSH NEO-CONS AS WELL AS CONGRESS----GET RID OF THEM
Below you see what Clinton neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons are bringing to America right now with these education privatization reforms. Can you see where Common Core will lead to the same capture of our American culture and ideas from the classroom instruction----all will be geared to making the best worker as this article states.
SOUL-SUCKING IS A PARAPHRASE.
Another World is Desirable
the Delegates of the International Conference on Decolonising Our Universities, June 27-29. 2011, Penang, Malaysia
We – people from diverse countries* in four continents – met in your lovely city of Penang for three days from June 27-29, 2011. We were invited by Universiti Sains Malaysia and Citizens International to discuss the future of our universities and how we could decolonise them. Too many of them have become pale imitations of Western universities, with marginal creative contributions of their own and with little or no organic relation with their local communities and environments. The learning environments have become hostile, meaningless and irrelevant to our lives and concerns.
In all humility, we wish to convey to you the gist of our discussions.
We agreed that for far too long have we lived under the Eurocentric assumption – drilled into our heads by educational systems inherited from colonial regimes – that our local knowledges, our ancient and contemporary scholars, our cultural practices, our indigenous intellectual traditions, our stories, our histories and our languages portray hopeless, defeated visions no longer fit to guide our universities – therefore, better given up entirely.
We are firmly convinced that every trace of Eurocentrism in our universities – reflected in various insidious forms of western controls over publications, theories and models of research must be subordinated to our own scintillating cultural and intellectual traditions. We express our disdain at the way ‘university ranking exercises’ evaluate our citadels of learning on the framework assumptions of western societies. The Penang conference articulated different versions of intellectual and emotional resistance to the idea of continuing to submit our institutions of the mind and our learning to the tutelage and tyranny of western institutions.
We leave Penang with a firm resolve to work hard to restore the organic connection between our universities, our communities and our cultures. Service to the community and not just to the professions must be our primary concern. The recovery of indigenous intellectual traditions and resources is a priority task. Course structures, syllabi, books, reading materials, research models and research areas must reflect the treasury of our thoughts, the riches of our indigenous traditions and the felt necessities of our societies. This must be matched with learning environments in which students do not experience learning as a burden, but as a force that liberates the soul and leads to the upliftment of society. Above all, universities must retrieve their original task of creating good citizens instead of only good workers.
For this, we seek the support of all intellectuals and other like-minded individuals and organisations that are willing to assist us in taking this initiative further.
Thank you for hosting us, the Delegates of the International Conference on Decolonising Our Universities, June 27-29. 2011, Penang, Malaysia
For more information please access www.multiworldindia.org
*Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda
Here is an example of the US exporting to a new market----Mexico trying to structure education just as was done in the Asian nations now demanding change----and you see Mexican citizens want no part of it----it is being forced on them as it is on American citizens.
Now, is Mexico ranked low world-wide because of teachers or because there is lawlessness and cartels creating chaos in the nation. Regardless which nation----all of the education needs this neo-liberal reform because education everywhere is not done well.
Mexican teachers protest education reforms
18 / 09 / 2013 (Wednesday) || 06:42 AM
Tens of thousands of teachers demonstrated in Mexico City on September 4, many vowing to disobey an education reform passed by Congress and championed by President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Holding umbrellas under a blazing sun, the teachers marched across the capital's main boulevard, snarling traffic yet again after two weeks of protests that failed to block one of the major national reforms pushed by the Mexican leader.
Pena Nieto hailed the Senate's final approval of the legislation, saying, "thanks to your important decision, the children and youth of Mexico will have better quality education."
The law aims to improve an education system that ranks dead last in the 34-nation Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development by stripping the power of unions over the classrooms and requiring instructors to undergo performance evaluations.
Mexican teachers have been able to sell their positions or pass them on to their children, but will now face tests to get jobs and promotions.
"The inheritance and sale of posts are over," Education Minister Emilio Chuayffet tweeted. "Merit is the right way to enter and grow in a teaching career."
But the teachers argue that the tests will fail to take into account cultural differences in the country, where many often lead open-air classes in remote villages where children first learn indigenous languages.
In the protest march, the teachers warned they would balk at taking the tests.
"We are entering a phase of resistance because we will ignore the evaluations," said Norma Cruz Vazquez, a union representative in the southern state of Oaxaca. "For us this is a betrayal and we will not recognise this reform."
Some 70,000 teachers have been on strike in Oaxaca since school started last month, leaving 1.3 million children without classes. Thousands of teachers from that state have set up camp in Mexico City's historic Zocalo square for the past two weeks.
The legislation is one of the centerpieces of what Pena Nieta on Monday called the "grand transformation" of Mexico.
He has struck a pact with rival parties that have also passed a reform to open up the telecommunications sector. He now plans to introduce more politically-sensitive legislation to open the state-controlled energy sector to foreign investment.
If you watch policy in your state the consolidation of universities is increasing just as public schools are closing. As a university closes and merges with another----the number of students being accepted at these larger universities rarely grows. We are seeing available slots in 4 year universities becoming more competitive and scholarships and financial aid defunded. Then, in comes foreign students often from wealthy families paying what are large tuition bills and VOILA-----our state universities don't need public funding----they simply need lots of students able to pay the ever higher price. With wealth distribution plummeting for the American people----you can see where the ratio of US to foreign students in our universities will change fast. The new immigration executive order by Obama allows all of these foreign grads to stay in the county to take jobs----Now, we need to look at the goal and just a short term to see American people will become ever lower in income and employment while an immigrant population takes much of the leadership and high-paying jobs. Look at autocratic societies like Bahrain/Libya-----which by the way is a Wall Street invention----and you see the same structure. This is how you bring a developed nation to a third world nation......wealth inequity and people with no political voice. WE LOVE IMMIGRANTS BUT WE LOVE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO EQUAL PROTECTION AND OPPORTUNITY FOR EDUCATION AND OUR RIGHTS TO LEGISLATE. Many of these students come from nations that do not have these structures....which is the point.
Trying to say this without sounding anti-immigrant is hard------it is not the number of immigrants coming to the US----it is the timing with the down-sizing of public education and access for the American people that is the problem. Remember, these foreign students are often no better than our American students academically----
January 07, 2015 14:46 UTC Education
Number of International Students Attending American Colleges and Universities Continues Rising
A new report says more and more international students are attending colleges and universities in the United States. It also notes a large increase in the number of international students from China.
These findings are from the latest edition of the Open Doors Report. The report is a joint project of the State Department and the Institute of International Education, a non-profit educational and training organization.
The report documents the record number of international students in the United States during the twenty-eleven, twenty-twelve school year. It says more than seven hundred sixty-four thousand four-hundred such students were attending American colleges and universities during that period. That represents an increase of almost six percent compared to one year earlier.
By comparison, the number of Americans studying overseas increased by one percent.
The report says one hundred ninety-four thousand students at American colleges and universities were from China. That is an increase of more than twenty-three percent over the year before.
Peggy Blumenthal is an aide to the president of the Institute of International Education. She described the effect of the increase in Chinese students.
“Now they have been coming for some time. But this year was the highest level ever, and it really showed in the figures, driving the whole global, international undergraduate enrollment to be higher than the graduate students.”
She says many Chinese families are able to pay for the highest-quality education for their children. The children mainly choose to study in America.
“We know many of them have enough income to be able to afford to send them anywhere in the world that they want to go. And for the most part, looking around the world, Chinese students still prefer to come to the United States as their destination of choice.”
Chinese students are not the only ones who want to attend American colleges and universities. After China, India sends the second largest number of students to the United States for higher education. India has about one hundred thousand students in American schools. South Korea is third with about seventy two thousand students.
Why do so many foreign students study in the United States? Peggy Blumenthal provides one reason.
“The advantage America has is that we have a huge system and a very diverse system. So there are over four thousand universities and colleges in the United States, and what that tells us is there is still a lot of room to host international students.”
Foreign students represent less than four percent of the total student population in American higher education. Ms. Blumenthal says this means there is still a lot of room for international students.
What the American people need to do is look overseas where the Clinton Initiative was all about creating neo-liberal governments and economies these few decades. Bahrain is literally created by Wall Street to be the nation it is now trying to create in the US. Take a look at how education and immigration reforms are center stage for a transition that changed the fabric of Bahrain society with foreign workers becoming the majority of the population and domestic citizens deeply impoverished----this is exactly what Clinton neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons are now doing in the US. Your Congressional and state house pols are all embracing this transition and Trans Pacific Trade Pact restructures our US government as the Bahraini government did in the 1970s.
WAKE UP AND GET ENGAGED IN POLITICS AND ACTIONS-----BE THE CANDIDATE!
You can see already the existence of these same structures in the US with wealth inequity and worker's wages and conditions of abuse. See how poverty, tensions, and violence with heightened security matches what is happening today. Bahrain is also ground zero for US universities and neo-liberal education.
The impact of globalization on Bahraini people »
Social Watch Bahrain1
The Bahrain’s economy is growing, along with per capita income. However, along with the increasing numbers of millionaires the middle class is shrinking and the lower class is becoming impoverished. There are increasing confrontations and tension between the impoverished groups and security forces. A strategy to shield society from the negative impacts of globalization is urgently needed.
Bahrain traditionally has had an open economy for trade, investment and exchange. Since its independence in 1971, the country has been a financial hub for international banks and financial institutions, joint Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ventures and a transit spot for trade and commodities. It has been a member of the World Trade Organisation since 1997, removing barriers to trade and investment and the movement of labour. Bahrain signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US which facilitates trade, investment and labour movement between the two countries. As a member of the GCC, Bahrain is negotiating with the European Union (EU) regarding a FTA and recently hosted an ASEAN-GCC conference which debated the prospects of concluding an FTA between the two economic groups.
Like many other countries, Bahrain has been influenced positively and negatively by globalization. This report will concentrate on the impact of globalization on the well-being of Bahraini residents and consider this from a number of angles:
1. Liberalization of the economy: The Government has been steadily pursuing economic liberalization, which means less and less state involvement in running the economy. This has in inevitably led to the State abandoning certain essential services it previously rendered to its citizens. It has also led to the opening of the market to competition between local and foreign companies. Furthermore, the reduction of restrictions on foreign residents has resulted in their occupying jobs traditionally limited to Bahrainis, such as legal counselors and auditors.
2. Privatization: In attempting to maintain pace with globalization and to be able to compete in an open market, the Government has resorted to privatizing a number of state institutions and services, including electricity and public transport. In addition, it has increasingly opened other sectors to private control, such as education, health care services, municipal services, administration of ports and air transportation.
3. Housing: The Government has increasingly lifted restrictions on the acquisition of real estate by foreign residents, especially for GCC citizens, which has led to a rise in ownership of land and property in residential areas. Bahrainis now find themselves at a disadvantage in terms of purchasing power compared to other GCC citizens. This has led to an acute housing crisis: the demand for state-subsidized housing is surpassing supply and there is currently a backlog of some 60,000 applications. As a result, many families have been obliged to move back into extended family accommodations, many of them congested and poorly equipped to deal with overcrowding.
4. Employment: Due to the lax policy control on the flow of foreign workers, especially cheap labour, Bahraini job seekers are in a weak position when competing for jobs that require specific educational backgrounds and skills. Foreign workers are also more willing to accept lower salaries and tougher working conditions. So, despite increased employment opportunities generated by a growing economy, unemployment is growing among Bahraini citizens, especially among women and those whose educational qualifications (e.g., liberal arts or sociology degrees) are not well matched with the new jobs.
5. Inflation: The inflation rate has increased steadily, exceeding 7% annually for the last few years. There has been no substantial concurrent increase in salaries, especially in the public sector. In view of this, Parliament agreed in December 2008 to a BD50 (USD 133) allowance/bonus to Bahraini families annualy, for the next two years. However, this does little to alleviate the impact of inflation for most workers, including the low-income foreign residents who are in the same situation, with wages failing to keep pace with inflation. The disparity between a minority with very high incomes and a majority with very low incomes is increasing. There are some Bahraini families who are living on BD 120 per month (USD 319). Although the Government denies that this kind of relative poverty exists in Bahrain, it has been identified by independent researchers as well as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).2
6) Changing social fabric: The steady increase in foreign workers, especially from Asia, over the last decade has resulted in the growth of the expatriate population from 37% of the total in 2001 to 50% in 2007, altering the fabric of society. Foreign workers tend to live in work camps, isolated from indigenous communities, in derelict areas of town and in small groups adjacent to indigenous communities. There is, in general, little integration of these workers into the public arena, in social activities and in NGOs. Moreover, the majority of these workers live alone, with no family, which is viewed as a departure from the social norm and has caused friction between the two communities, especially those adjacent to each other. In general, the lower standard of living and lack of social life among these workers generates an environment conducive to crime, especially sexual assault, burglary, theft and physical abuse/assaults. Poor living conditions, mistreatment from employers, such as the withholding of payment, often for months, has led many foreign workers to suicide, since they find themselves in debt and unable to send money back to families in their countries of origin.
Despite the fact that the Bahraini economy is booming with a high growth rate and increasing per capita income, the benefits of globalization have not extended to the population as a whole. There are increasing numbers of millionaires, and a shrinking middle class and impoverished lower class. The country has been witnessing repeated confrontations and tension between impoverished communities and security forces, especially in the villages, which is why the World Bank now ranks Bahrain low in political stability.3 There is need for a strategy to shield society from the negative impacts of globalization.
For those able to stand academic writing this article is a good look at what these neo-liberal policy-makers think of themselves. Remember, Clinton started the university as corporation with patenting and Federal research funding going to these universities for these few decades----not without surprise these universities are now listed as the wealthy. With the funding and the patenting came the students who graduate to go on to Wall Street et al and then comes the endowments from alumni----Federal funding, patenting, grads getting executive jobs giving to endowments-----and then, we have the Wall Street frauds earning these same universities billions of dollars as they were Insider Trading on policy and investment. Finally, Obama comes along and sends hundreds of billions of dollars in research facility building to these same universities AND YES----THERE BECOMES WEALTH INEQUITY IN UNIVERSITIES. Now, we have Ivy League schools that are product mills with corporate funding, investments, and department heads that are CEOs of a branch of corporate research. Much of it had nothing to do with being smart-----it was all in where the funding lands. As this article suggests-----the next step is declaring other universities unnecessary and half of US universities will be closed. This is true in each nation attaching to neo-liberalism. This is how we dismantle the entire public university system in a first world nation to create a very small group of universities WORLDWIDE that provide the leaders and politicians with everyone else in third world poverty.
THIS IS THE CLINTON/BUSH INITIATIVE
Needless to say, this corporatization of America's and the UK's greatest academic universities into product mills has killed education and intellectualism----it has killed basic research and common public data----and given us a bunch of wealth seekers AND REALLY BAD PUBLIC POLICY.
Consider that from the early 1900s public schools graduated students who attended public universities to become the CEOs of the US corporations that drove a thriving, innovative economy for decades------many prospered and quality and service great. Along comes Ivy League universities and their grads to grab control of government and look what we have ------absolute thuggery and products that offer nothing. So, the Ivy League universities became wealthier and left the US with no useful leadership. That is to where Clinton/Bush/Obama are trying to take us now----Ivy Leagues as the only useful higher education.
Who are the current grads left as the highest level of unemployed with college degrees? Not the Ivy League schools.
WE MUST SAVE OUR PUBLIC UNIVERSITY STRUCTURE IF OUR CHILDREN ARE GOING TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITIES AT LEADERSHIP AND CITIZEN PARTICIPATION.
Inequity is rising and it is all manipulation---not merit.
Published online Mar 20, 2010
Inequality Among Universities Increasing?
Gini Coefficients and the Elusive Rise of Elite Universities
Willem Halffman1 and Loet Leydesdorff2
One of the unintended consequences of the New Public Management (NPM) in universities is often feared to be a division between elite institutions focused on research and large institutions with teaching missions. However, institutional isomorphisms provide counter-incentives. For example, university rankings focus on certain output parameters such as publications, but not on others (e.g., patents). In this study, we apply Gini coefficients to university rankings in order to assess whether universities are becoming more unequal, at the level of both the world and individual nations. Our results do not support the thesis that universities are becoming more unequal. If anything, we predominantly find homogenisation, both at the level of the global comparisons and nationally. In a more restricted dataset (using only publications in the natural and life sciences), we find increasing inequality for those countries, which used NPM during the 1990s, but not during the 2000s. Our findings suggest that increased output steering from the policy side leads to a global conformation to performance standards.
Universities have increasingly been subject to output performance evaluations and ranking assessments (Frey and Osterloh 2002; Osterloh and Frey 2008). Performance indicators are no longer deployed only to assess university departments in the context of specific disciplines, but increasingly also to assess entire universities across disciplinary divides (Leydesdorff 2008). Well-known examples are the annual Shanghai ranking, the Times Higher Education Supplement ranking, and the Leiden ranking, but governments also collect data at the national level about how their academic institutions perform.
Not unlike restaurant or school ratings, university rankings convey the fascination of numbers despite the ambiguity of what is measured. A variety of interests convene around these numbers. Rankings seem to allow university managers to assess their organisation’s performance, but also to advertise good results in order to attract additional resources. These extra resources can be better students, higher tuition fees, more productive researchers, additional funding, wider media exposure, or similar capital increases. Rankings enable policymakers to assess national universities against international standards. Output indicators hold a promise of comparative performance measurement, suggesting opportunities to spur academic institutions to ever higher levels of production at ever reduced cost.
With university rankings, the competitive performance logic of New Public Management (NPM) further permeated into the academic sector (Martin 2010; Schimank 2005; Weingart and Maasen 2007). The complex changes around NPM in the public sector involve a belief in privatisation (or contractual public–private partnerships) and quasi-market competition, an emphasis on efficiency and public service delivery with budgetary autonomy for service providers, with a shift from steering on (monetary) inputs to outputs, through key performance indicators and related audit practices (Power 2005; Hood and Peters 2004). In the academic sector, NPM has expressed itself with reduced state regulation and mistrust of academic self-governance, insisting instead on external guidance of universities through their clients, under a more managerial regime stressing competition for students and research resources—although the precise mix of changes varies between countries (De Boer et al. 2007).
The expansion of performance measurement in the academic sector has incited substantial debate. Obvious objections concern the adequacy of the indicators. For example, the Shanghai ranking was criticised for failing to address varying publication levels among different research fields (Van Raan 2005). In response to this critique, the methodology of the Shanghai ranking was adjusted: one currently doubles the number of publications in the social sciences in order to compensate for differences in output levels between the social and natural sciences. Going even further, the Leiden ranking attempts to fine-tune output measurement by comparing publication output with average outputs per field (Centre for Science and Technology Studies 2008).1
In this article we focus on the debate about the consequences rather than methodology of output measurement. There is a growing body of research pointing to unwanted side-effects of counting publications and citations for performance measurement. Weingart (2005) has documented cases of ritual compliance, e.g., with journals attempting to boost impact factors with irrelevant citations. Similar effects are the splitting of articles to the ‘smallest publishable unit’ or the alleged tendency of researchers to shift to research that produces a steady stream of publishable data. Similar objections have been raised against other attempts to stimulate research performance through a few key performance indicators. Schmoch and Schubert (2009) showed that such a reduction may impede rather than stimulate excellency in research. As such, these objections are similar to objections voiced against NPM in other policy sectors, such as police organisations shifting attention to crimes with ‘easy’ output measurement, e.g., intercepted kilos of drugs, or schools grooming students to perform well on tests only. The debate about advantages and disadvantages of NPM is by no means closed (Hood and Peters 2004).
One of the contested issues in the rise of NPM at universities is whether the new assessment regime would lead to increased inequality among universities (Van Parijs 2009). According to the advocates of NPM, performance measurement spurs actors in the public sector into action. By making productivity visible, it becomes possible to compare performance and make actors aware of their performance levels. This can be expected to generate improvements, either merely through heightened awareness and a sense of obligation to improve performance, or through pressure from the actors’ clients.
For example, by making the performance of schools visible, NPM claims that parents can make more informed choices about where to send their children. This transparency is expected to put pressure on under-performing schools. To stimulate actors even further, governments may tie the redistribution of resources to performance, as has been the case in the UK Research Assessment Exercises. The claim of NPM is that this stimulation of actors can be expected to improve the quality of public services and reduce costs. In the university sector, NPM promises more and better research at lower cost to the tax payer, in line with Adam Smith’s belief in the virtues of the free market.
Opponents to the expansion of NPM into the university sector point to a number of objections that echo those made in other NPM-stricken public sectors. This is not the place to provide a complete overview of the debate; suffice it to say that the inequality in performance in the academic sector has been a crucial issue. While proponents of comparative performance measurement claim that all actors in the system will be stimulated to improve their performance, opponents claim that this ignores the redistributive effects of NPM. By moving university performance in the direction of commodification, NPM could create the accumulation of resources in an elite layer of universities, generating inequalities through processes that also produce the Matthew effect (Merton 1968). These authors stress the downsides of the US Ivy League universities, including the creation of old boys’ networks of graduates that produce an increasingly closed national elite, or the large inequalities of working conditions between elite and marginal universities.
In the same vein, critics claim that the aspirations of governments to have top-ranking universities, such as Cambridge or Harvard, may lead to the creation of large sets of insignificant academic organisations, teaching universities or professional colleges, at the other end of the distribution. In the case of Germany, where there has been much debate on inequalities among universities as a result of changes in academic policy, it has been argued that output evaluation practices reproduce status hierarchies between universities, affecting opportunities to attract resources (Münch 2008).2 In contrast to the belief in the general stimulation of actors, these critics appeal to a logic of resource concentration that is reminiscent of Marx’s critique of oligopolistic capitalism.
A third and more constructivist understanding of performance measurement suggests that major shifts in the university sector cannot be expected to lead to an overall increase in performance, nor a shift of resources, but rather a widespread attempt of actors to ‘perform performance’. If output is measured in terms of numbers of publications, then these numbers can be expected to increase, even at the expense of actual output: any activity that is not included in performance measurement will be abandoned in favour of producing good statistics. This reading of rankings considers them to be a force of performance homogenisation and control: a ‘McDonaldisation of universities’ (Ritzer 1998), under a regime of ‘discipline and publish’ (Weingart and Maasen 2007). These authors emphasise that the construction of academic actors, who monitor themselves via output indicators, may have even more detrimental effects than the capital destruction that comes with concentration. Output measurement is regarded as mutilating the very academic quality it claims to measure, through a process of Weberian rationalisation or an even more surreptitious expansion of governmentality, as signalled by Foucault (Foucault 1991).
Considering these serious potential consequences pointed out by the critics, there is surprisingly little systematic information on the changing inequalities among universities. Most of the debates rely on anecdotal evidence. Can one distinguish a top layer of increasingly elite universities that produce ever larger shares of science at the expense of a dwindling tail of marginalised teaching universities? Ville et al. (2006) reported an opposite trend of equalisation in research output among Australian universities (1992–2003) using Gini coefficients for the measurement. In this article, we use the Gini coefficient as an indicator for assessing the development of inequalities in academic output in terms of publications at the global level. The Gini measure of inequality is commonly used for the measurement of income inequalities and has intensively been used in scientometric research for the measurement of increasing (or decreasing) (in)equality (e.g., Bornmann et al. 2008; Cole et al. 1978; Danell 2000; Frame et al. 1977; Persson and Melin 1996; Stiftel et al. 2004; Zitt et al. 1999). Burrell (e.g., 1991) and Rousseau (e.g., 1992, 2001), among others, studied the properties of Gini in the bibliometric environment (cf. Atkinson 1970).
By providing a more systematic look at the distribution of publication outputs of universities and the potential shifts of these distributions over time, we hope to contribute with empirical data to the ongoing debate of the merits and drawbacks of comparative performance measurement in the university sector. Although we use indicators such as the Shanghai ranking or output measures in this article, we do not consider these to be unproblematic or desirable indicators of research performance. Rather, we want to investigate how the distribution of outputs between universities changes, irrespective of what these outputs represent in terms of the ‘quality’ of the universities under study. This implies that we do not want to take sides in the debate on the value of output measurement, but rather test the claims that are made about the effects of NPM in terms of the outputs it claims to stimulate. Which version is more plausible: the NPM argument of stimulated performance in line with Adam Smith, the fear of increasing elitism reminiscent of Marx’ logic of capital concentration, or the constructivist reading following Foucault’s spread of governmentality and discipline?