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Coronavirus: The Collapse of Higher Education -Or its Revolution?

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This is the first time higher education has faced the dual-crisis of finance and health.

After World War II, the American higher education foresaw a significant expansion, which helped their economy to grow. During the Great Recession, a similar plot took place: College enrollments surged along with the tuition fees.

In an ever-expanding industry, a tremendous amount of money has been circulating since then: contributing to the economy and funding for infrastructures and research models — but in a rather unsustainable manner with unsustainable debt levels.

The global economy has faced several recessions. However, the current global economic crisis we are facing is different: it is more so focused on saving lives, and then saving the economy.

With travel bans, lockdown, and social distancing enforced to minimize the transmission of coronavirus, enrollments face new uncertainty.

This is the first time higher education has faced the dual-crisis of finance and health. Thus, it’s hard for institutions to strike a sustainable balance.

Higher education was already on the verge of collapse long before the coronavirus forced the world into lockdown.

In the past eight years, colleges and universities alike had been facing the decline in domestic enrollments, only saved by the significant increase in international enrollments. But since the commence of the US-China trade war, international enrolments had also fallen low.

To attract more students, enormous debts were used to invest in infrastructures such as student centers and research labs. Such investments require a continual cash flow. Recessions jeopardize that cash flow. The financial future of most of those institutions were already at risk. Their annual operating budget desperately depended on the students’ tuition fees, which have been increasing.

As previous recessions illustrate, higher education has always been one of the first budget lines to be cut due to declining state appropriation needed to balance budgets. Competing against expenses such as health and pension, higher education is an easy target, as it was throughout previous recessions.

To manage unsustainable debt, colleges and universities would shift the costs to the students by increasing tuition fees — quicker in public institutions than in private. Student debt would rise as the student loan limit is relaxed.

Over the years, financial aid has increased substantially — although not enough. But the institution’s debts and tuition fees will outweigh the financial aid.

For instance, in March 2020, the congress of the U.S. has approved $14 billion (economic rescue measure against the coronavirus)for the educational sector: over $6 billion in student aid; and about $7.5 billion for institutions. However, colleges and universities are already spending around $8 billion just to refund room and board charges for the current academic year, according to the American Council on Education (ACE). Only 1% of that student aid has been distributed.

During previous recessions, enrollments saw bloom. What about now?

Enrollments were highly positive during previous recessions. As earnings decrease and unemployment rises, a theory suggests that individuals will be more likely to attend college. Research from Dellas and Sakellaris (2003) shows that when the unemployment rate rises by 1 percent, college enrollment doubles.

Travel bans and lockdown enforced all around the world has helped in minimizing the transmission of the virus. But the preventive measures themselves cause further consequences. All these pandemic preventions spell trouble to bring in international students.

For (and from) such unprecedented times like this pandemic, ‘Survey’ was invented. Asking the right questions to the targeted demographic results in much-needed data to evaluate the next steps. The primary targeted demographic are students, but they are not the only one to participate in such surveys: teaching staff, board members, parents, and all higher education stakeholders need to communicate properly as well.

Few surveys have already been carried out.

830 Chinese students have been unable to return to the US to continue their studies, as per a COVID-19 survey by the Institute of International Education (IIE). About 100,000 Chinese students who were in China for their Lunar New Year holidays were unable to return to Australia due to the pandemic enforced travel bans. In the UK, about 60 percent of Chinese students who have already applied to study in the UK next year are either likely to cancel their plans or have yet to decide, as per a survey by Matt Durnin, regional Head of Research and Consultancy, East Asia at the British Council.

These numbers are highly relevant to evaluate the probable future of higher education as China is the largest source of international students in the world. And international students contribute tremendously to the global economy through their enrolments as well as their accommodation costs overseas. For example, in 2018, international students contributed $39 billion to the U.S..; $37.6 billion to Australia.

India comes second to China. About 70 percent of prospective international students from India want to continue with their applications to study abroad, according to a survey by Yocket, a Mumbai-based EdTech startup.

In such a crisis, international students also suffer more.

Academically, every student suffers equally, but economically, it’s different.

This is a myth.

Every student doesn’t suffer equally academically. Some are well-equipped with technology for online learning; some may lack technology; some proper internet connection. Some may be fortunate enough to have enough savings, taking away the toll of worrying about survival.

This panic hampers mental health. Lack of mental clarity will indefinitely hurt academically.

Accommodation is always cheaper at home country when the income source is out of the question. Data shows that international students contribute more from accommodation expenses and similar living expenses than they do from their tuition fees.

Meaning that, accomodation triumphs tuition fees.A highly relevant aspect. In April, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated that foreign students in financial difficulty should leave. The infamous speech garnished a lot of criticism, citing that Australia should not be ‘biting the hand that feeds it.’

Because, once the coronavirus transmission is subdued, the competition for international students will be of massive importance; one which has been in action long before the pandemic. Australia has lost points in this regard.

Meanwhile, other countries are using strategic plans such as easing immigration rules. For example, Canada has permitted international students planning to begin studies in Canada for spring 2020, to complete up to 50 percent of their courses online — a mitigating measure away from travel bans from their home countries.

More surveys will follow. For the time being, the logical answer each survey points towards is E-learning. But it has its own caveats.

Going offline: a new kind of ‘dropping out’

As the majority of the universities are shut down physically, they are opting for online learning, and students are justified in asking for a price cut on their tuition fees. The expensive fees seemed to be for the ‘college experiences’ of falling in love, partying in dorm rooms, and so forth besides the course itself.

The debate of online learning versus traditional learning carries on now more than ever before. Professors, including some outdated from modern technology, are trying their utmost to learn to operate online software. Most of the students who have access to the required technology will attend classes. However, most universities are lacking a proper system to even carry out the basics such as taking attendance.

Absency, in the pre-coronavirus era, used to occur frequently in high numbers for several causes. So did dropouts. Now, most of the world’s educational institutions are physically closed, and courses have been compelled to move online. Once, majorly used to browse social media, is now forced to share the screen time with their respective professors.

But the caveat is that more students than previously are missing class.Some don’t log in; some don’t complete assignments; and so forth.

Most of the absence come from low-income students, who lack access to home computers and stable internet connection — or lack thereof in its totality.

Generating participation is also more difficult than it is inside a normal classroom. But online, it’s even more so.

Online classrooms might do for now, but it is unlikely to ever replace traditional classrooms.

Collapse or revolution? Conclusion.

The Covid-19 pandemic will ensure many of the small institutions to collapse entirely by disrupting the cash flow. Meanwhile, the future of the bigger ones remains in doubt. Cannibalism: the financially strong one consume the weak.

The three aspects — uncertainty in enrolments, unsustainable debt levels, and growth in online courses — have a massive role to play for the future of higher education. International competition does matter as well.

At the moment, in shaping the new world order, China is regarded as one of the top countries. It has already started to reopen its economy. It has provided strict guidelines to its schools and universities on how to physically reopen in an ‘orderly manner’.

Before the pandemic, Xi Jinping dedicated measures to improve education at all levels in China and envisioned producing at least 40 world-class universities by mid-century (the figure will rise to 16 by 2030). In 2018, two universities from China (Peking University and Tsinghua University)ranked inside the World University Rankings (Times Highers, 2018) top 30; outranking several prestigious institutions in Europe and the US.

If China finds a way to retain its Chinese students against overseas countries — taking advantage of this pandemic and travel bans around the globe — higher education won’t be the only thing that gets revolutionized. The world economy will too.

As previously mentioned: In 2018, international students contributed $39b to the U.S.; Australia, $37.6b. Of those figures, Chinese students alone contribute approximately about $13b to the U.S.;$12.1b to Australia.

China has an immense opportunity here: to promote its universities against online lectures amid lockdown elsewhere. As with the US-China trade war, China has the upper hand during this lockdown. The future of Economies and Higher Education will be affected by how China grasps this opportunity.

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Should there be any censorship? (NO -NONE!)

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Conservatives say yes, there should be censorship, because otherwise what they feel is repulsive can become spread: they fear its spread and are convinced that censorship (by people who believe as they do) must be imposed. That’s NOT democracy.

Liberals agree with conservatives on this question, though they want different people to be doing the censoring, because some of their beliefs are different from conservatives’ beliefs. (Anyone who thinks that liberals — Democrats in the U.S. — aren’t ardent for censoring, should explain how that can be so, since overwhelmingly the political money donated by executives and other employees of the gossip-grapevine, Twitter, has gone to Democrats, and those employees decided to censor-out from their site the damning evidence against the Biden family — Joe, Hunter, and James — that the Republican Party’s N.Y. Post had published on 15 October 2020 under the headline “Emails reveal how Hunter Biden tried to cash in big on behalf of family with Chinese firm”. (Maybe Trump would have won that election if this report of the Biden family’s corruptness had been spread and discussed instead of squelched as ‘Russian disinformation’, as was done.) Then, the Democratic Party’s Politico ‘news’-site headlined on 19 October 2020, “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say” and buried two-thirds of the way down the key passage (which had been in the top third of the document), in these Deep-State operatives’ letter, the passage which included the fact “that we do not know if the emails [from Hunter Biden’s laptop computer], provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement.” The signers said there that they were signing ONLY to having “suspicions” that this had happened — but Politico suppressed that most crucial of all the allegations in the document. Also: Glenn Greenwald was forced out of the Democratic Party billionaire Pierre Omidyar’s “The Intercept” ‘news’-site on 29 October 2020 for submitting a news-report titled “THE REAL SCANDAL: U.S. MEDIA USES FALSEHOODS TO DEFEND JOE BIDEN FROM HUNTER’S EMAILS”. And, furthermore, the Democratic Party’s Washington Post headlined on 1 November 2020 the lie that “For Russia, Biden is the foe they know. The Kremlin is studying old playbooks.” As Greenwald subsequently pointed out, “Twitter’s ‘foreign govt hacking’ pretext for censoring was a lie, and they knew it.”) So, regarding censorship, conservatives and liberals are effectively the same but protect different lies and liars. The two groups believe and protect two different, competing, myths. That’s NOT a democracy. It’s rule by billionaires (who control those politicians and media), NOT by the public.

Libertarians say no, because anything that limits a person’s freedom is condemned by them on principle — they even are sometimes called “anarchists” because no principled line (no clear distinction) exists separating libertarians from anarchists (persons who oppose ALL government). HOWEVER, libertarians (even self-declared anarchists) disagree with one-another about whether the private sector, including corporations (such as Twitter), have a right to censor: some say yes, it’s part of their (the private sector’s) freedom; but some say no, no entity has a right to censor, because that limits another person’s freedom. Some say that ONLY parents have a right to censor what their children receive. CONSEQUENTLY: Libertarians don’t ACTUALLY have any clear and principle-based position, for or against censorship. Libertarianism provides no answer to this question — other than the myth that they are committed to everyone’s “freedom.” Libertarianism is a nullity, a nothing, on censorship: neither for it nor against it. It allows rule by billionaires (whose agents fool the public), and no democracy would.

Progressives say no: Nothing can possibly justify censorship of anything, except of demonstrable (provable) falsehoods. This means that, if a court of law cannot reasonably disprove an allegation, then the public must be able to consider the evidence both for and against it. Neither the Government nor any other entity has a right to prevent the public from considering and debating any allegation. A progressive is devoted to science, and science is based upon this same principle — ANY possible truth must be considered by the public. (A provably false statement cannot possibly be true.) Progressives can differ with one-another in allocating criminal versus civil liability for the spreading of allegations that are provably false; but, they are united in opposing ANY liability for the spreading of truths. The ONLY exception to this is that if the nation is legally at war and under “martial law,” then its Government has a right to censor, (or “classify”) allegations in order to protect the nation’s sovereignty against the legally declared “enemy.” That is the ONLY exception to the progressives’ principle that NO possibly true statement should EVER be censored by ANYONE. Progressivism — the ideology of science — advocates clearly for democracy, NOT for any aristocracy.

Here’s how the ideology of science functions — and why it needs to be applied in order for Government to serve the public’s interest instead of merely some fake ‘national interest’: On 2 August 2022, the pro-science magazine Current Affairs headlined “Why the Chair of the Lancet’s COVID-19 Commission Thinks The US Government Is Preventing a Real Investigation Into the Pandemic” and interviewed Jeffrey Sachs, who explained:

So you saw a narrative being created. And the scientists are not acting like scientists. Because when you’re acting like a scientist, you’re pursuing alternative hypotheses. And the scientists just wrote recently an op-ed saying the only evidence that this came out of a lab that’s been put forward is that it came in a city, Wuhan, where an institute was located. Well, that’s a lie. That is not the only coincidence that leads to this theory [He should have said “hypothesis” there]. What leads to this alternative hypothesis is the detailed research program the NIH funded that was underway in the years leading up to the outbreak. So I see the scientists absolutely trying to create a narrative and take our eyes off of another issue.

That’s the politicization of science, the corruption of science. Sachs documented their obfuscations and evasions — the censorship that has been occurring, which has been preventing the necessary research to identify how the covid-19 virus was created.

That’s a typical scientific example.

Glenn Greenwald is a progressive, and his position regarding the twitter censorship scandal that the billionaire Elon Musk released to the public on December 3rd after buying twitter corporation and firing its censors, said that “The sleazy, pro-censorship pack of liberal employees of media corporations united last night to attack @mtaibbi — as they do to any journalist who breaks a real story about real power centers — and, because they were so desperate to discredit it, showed what they are.” What they are, in America, is NOT democrats: The “Democrats” aren’t any more democratic than America’s Republicans (conservatives) are.

On 8 May 2022, I headlined and called public attention to “A crushingly powerful legal case against censorship has now been presented.” Linking to and quoting from the court-ducument, it seems to me to be an open-and-shut case for a decision against “the Biden Administration’s open and explicit censorship programs. Having threatened and cajoled social-media platforms for years to censor viewpoints and speakers disfavored by the Left [referring obliquely there to the Democratic Party], senior government officials in the Executive Branch have moved into a phase of open collusion with social-media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social-media platforms.”

On 3 December 2022, former President Trump disqualified himself from any further political consideration by patriotic Americans, by his advocating to terminate the U.S. Constitution if necessary in order to declare himself to have won the 2020 election. CNN and other mainstream ‘news’-sources that don’t link to their primary sources, because they don’t want their readers to be able easily to see and inspect for themselves what they actually say — what the actual evidence is — refused to link to Trump’s actual statement, but instead linked to anything else. For example, the Washington Post headlined about Trump’s statement, “White House rebukes Trump’s suggestion to suspend Constitution over 2020 election” (an intentionally indirect headline, which refused even to call attention to the fact that the former President was now urging cancellation of the U.S. Constitution, such as would a headline like “Trump Urges Termination of U.S. Constitution”). Their ‘news-report’ provided no link to Trump’s statement, which it supposedly was about. Lots of people pay subscriptions to read such trashy ‘news’-reporting. Anyway, here was Trump’s full and actual statement:

https://truthsocial.com/@realDonaldTrump/posts/109449803240069864

https://archive.ph/G8lqx

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC, & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential Election Results of 2020 OUT and declare the RIGHTFUL WINNER, or do you have a NEW ELECTION? A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great “Founders” did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!

Dec 03, 2022, 12:44 PM

He thinks that his being declared the 2020 winner is more important to America than America’s Constitution is.

Without the Constitution to serve as a basis for the nation’s laws, the ONLY available basis for the Government is dictatorship: even the possibility of a democracy no longer then exists. Trump is so petty that, in his view, restoring him to the White House is more important than his country having even a possibility of becoming a democracy. Unless the American people are complete idiots, Trump has now lost any possibility he might have had to return to the White House — or to any other political post. His statement there is the most outrageous and anti-democratic that any former U.S. Government official has ever publicly made. It should not be censored (including refusing to link to it); it should be widely debated in America’s public square. Perhaps America’s billionaires feel nervous about making the public aware of just how deepseated dictatorship now is in this country. It’s merely their banana republic, now. In fact, it not only is NOT now a democracy but instead a dictatorship — an aristocracy instead of a democracy — but it is even a police state.

America’s billionaires control their Government, and if they terminated their censorship instead of perverting or eliminating the U.S. Constitution as their agents have been and are doing, then it would no longer be their country — it would become, again, ours. That would terrify them, all the more so as we have been along this global-imperialist path, the MIC (military-industrial complex), now, ever since it became imposed, on 25 July 1945. And the farther that goes, the closer a second American revolution will become, but this time to remove from power not Britain’s aristocracy, but America’s own.

That’s why we have censorship in America. There is no other reason. There is no actual national-security reason, nor any other. It’s all a fraud. They need to protect and spread their lies (especially against ‘enemy nations’). It is now so deep that it cannot be exposed as it actually is, without producing a revolution — not Constitution-change, but regime-change, back to what (prior to 1945) was a Constitutional democratic republic. Ending the empire is the only way back to becoming, again, the Constitutional democracy that preceded 25 July 1945 in America. It is the only way to end the censorship, and the dictatorship, by and on behalf of the aristocracy — the Deep State.

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John D. and Henry: A Marriage of Convenience

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After oil had been discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859, a canny businessman realized its potential and began buying up the oil fields.  John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil eventually owned almost all until trust busters broke up his Standard Oil Trust.

Meanwhile a clever inventor was interested in bringing the automobile, heretofore a rich man’s toy, to the common man.  So it was that Henry Ford’s production line showed the world how it could be done.  Of course, the automobile of the day, coughing and sputtering, might have had a similar effect on the people but it brought independent transportation and its convenience to the middle class.  And John D. Rockefeller’s oil fueled it.

Between John D. and Henry and others like them in Europe and elsewhere, our poor planet became a warming greenhouse as the gases generated by these cars, and industrialization in general, rose to the atmosphere — the effects of which few if any had foreseen then.     

People in the early days were to invent steam cars and electric cars also but the convenience of refueling at John D.’s gasoline stations left them trailing in the dust of Henry Ford’s now lovingly named Tin Lizzie.

The Second World War saw the use of oil and its derivatives in cars, trucks, airplanes, ships and just about anything that could move.  Oil became a strategic commodity defended and fought for — without oil, armies came to a standstill.  Romania fueled the axis powers and thus became a target for the allies.  The war in North Africa became a struggle for control of the Suez Canal and access to oil from the Middle East.  The British controlled it; the Germans failed to wrest it. 

If John D. (1939) and Henry (1947) had passed away, their companies were thriving, enriched further by the demands of war.  Europe might be in shreds but America was whole and ready to supply its needs.

It was a time of peace, and America to Europeans was a land of milk and honey.  Hard work was behind it though, and nothing displayed the rewards of this toil than an automobile in the driveway — the flashier the better.  As Americans became richer, the cars became more luxurious and more convenient to drive:  automatic transmission, power-assisted brakes and steering, windows moving up and down at the touch of a button, as could the soft top on convertibles and so on. 

The huge cars birthed a new name:  gas guzzler.  Both Detroit producing the cars and the oil companies supplying the fuel became richer.  Greenhouse gases increased and could only go one way … up … coining new expressions like global warming.  Greenhouse is apt, for the sun’s rays come through but the heat generated cannot escape as easily as it would without the gas shield.      

Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, focusing on the use of pesticides and the subsequent harm to the environment, brought environmental damage to the attention of the world.  It did not take long to draw scrutiny also to vehicles blowing greenhouse gases out of the exhaust pipe.  The love affair with the automobile was coming to an end. 

But in a society built around it, reducing usage will take a while for the auto has become a necessity. 

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Who Rules America: How Money Dominates Politics

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According to the available data, the United States Chamber of Commerce spent approximately 831 million dollars on lobbying between the years 1998 and 2012, while the American Medical Association spent 269 million dollars, General Electric spent 268 million dollars, and pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent 219 million dollars. They make financial investments and provide support to their candidates, the majority of whom are elected to represent them in the United States Congress and vote by their agenda.

In Washington, power is technically distributed among three branches: the executive branch, which includes the White House; the judicial branch, which includes the Supreme Court; and the legislative branch, which includes Congress (senate and house of Representatives). The formal system of checks and balances that are designed to keep the democratic process moving in the right direction is described here. It is the political appointees that serve as judges, and there are nine of them on the Supreme Court, which is the court that has the authority. A hundred people make up the Senate, while 435 people serve in the House of Representatives.

Members of watchdog organizations who specialize in researching and analyzing hidden forces at work behind the scenes conclude that the role of the corporates of industry, which ranges from bringing legislative pieces into the house to get the law passed to implementing it, must be investigated. There is a corporate presence throughout the whole process of passing the law. Congressmen did not challenge it because they too are a product of the system, and as a result, they have an innate bias that favors a certain aesthetic. They have achieved success inside the system, and those who question them must engage in intense conflict to consolidate their authority.

Sheila Krunholtz, the director of the center for responsive politics, dispels the common misconception that the members of congress and policymakers control the levers of power. In reality, the donor and patrons of these people are controlling the strings of these politicians and the policymakers, as Krunholtz explains.

Financial institution is the most significant investor in the political parties, followed by the real estate giants as the second most significant investor. Politicians who want to run for the position need to swear that they would pursue policies that are favorable to the banking and real estate industries before they will be allowed to do so. The money that is spent in politics is not simply used to support candidates; it is also used to pay for lobbying. In 2011, 12,654 lobbyists spent a total of 3.32 billion dollars trying to influence politicians, agencies, and regulators. This includes pro-Israel and pro-military sentiments, which have a significant amount of influence. The informal network of those who control America is also a major influence on the formation of its foreign policy.

One kind of material power in the country is political, and the other is economic. The country has both sorts of material power. The power of the people and the power of the economy are always at odds with one another. If we ask the people of the United States how their government is doing its job, they will tell us that it is not doing its job, and they will also say that the voters are not in control. When asked who controls the United States of America, one of the country’s senators said, “An elite group of individuals who operate in a stratosphere worldwide and are beyond the constitution and reach of the government.” They have a vast number of available resources.

This is another danger to democracy since it makes it more difficult for average people to get their concerns heard. The donor of the funds desires a policy that is favorable to their company rather than the general public, and it is expected that politicians and congressmen would vote in their favor. The people and the political system are becoming more and more subject to the dominance of the strong hand of the economic system.

American politics are hijacked and it is being dominated by individuals who are ready to pay millions of dollars to elect or reject particular politicians. There is corporate plutocracy and the rules in Washington are established by the corporate lobbyist working on objectives to safeguard the greatest business interests in the nation. Money and special interest take control the American politics. Tiny elites of 100 contributors have contributed the 77% of the money that’s simply 1% of donors contribute 64% of the money. People who are donating most of their money to the political campaign. They are very powerful persons and expect something in exchange for their funding. They are incredibly astute business individuals who have earned a lot of money and they do not make investments without desiring an investment.

One America is a democracy where leaders are elected by the people per the Constitution, but the other is dominated by a secret society that influences the media, the economy, the government, and major companies. They had control of the investigative apparatus and the press. They may serve as a template for how the public perceives politicians in the United States. G. William Demoff’s “Who Rules America” is a well-researched book that explains how the government today is controlled by strong elite forces outside of the government.

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