A Wantless, Workless World: How the Origins of the University Can Inform Its Future
From China to North Africa to Europe, the earliest institutions of higher education arose as a set of strategies to protect and encourage practices of productive leisure. These were knowledge-production practices the surrounding social and economic order might not otherwise have seen fit to value: self-directed time organized to meet collectively agreed-upon standards. Practices of productive leisure have also become targets for colonial regimes seeking to undermine local civilizations for their own ends. Today, in an era of growing labor precarity and the specter of technological unemployment, higher education is poised to ensure that the benefits of the transformation underway circulate to a broader set of people than is currently the case. Updating the medieval guild structure of universities with cooperative enterprise, and platform cooperativism in particular, can facilitate the capture and sharing of economic surplus. By protecting productive leisure through higher education, automation can yield widespread dividends of liberated time.
KeywordsCooperatives Elemental media Higher Education Medieval history Time Working hours
- Brooks, M. K. (1912). Votes for women: Rose Schneiderman in Ohio. Life and Labor, 288.Google Scholar
- Brynjolfsson, E., & McAfee, A. (2016). The second machine age: Work, progress, and prosperity in a time of brilliant technologies. New York London: W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
- Butler, J. (2014). Ordinary, incredulous. In P. Brooks (Ed.), The humanities and public life (pp. 15–38). Fordham University Press. https://doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823257041.003.0002.Google Scholar
- Coleman, E. G. (2013). Coding freedom: The ethics and aesthetics of hacking. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Conaty, P., Bird, A., & Ross, C. (2018). Working together: Trade union and co-operative innovations for precarious workers. Co-operatives UK.Google Scholar
- Epstein, S. A. (1991). Wage labor and guilds in medieval Europe. UNC Press Books.Google Scholar
- Gershon, L. (2014). The rise and fall of “education for leisure”. JSTOR Daily.Google Scholar
- Giroux, H. A. (2013). Public intellectuals against the neoliberal university. Truthout.Google Scholar
- Gorbis, M. (2017). To fix income inequality, we need more than UBIWe need universal basic assets. Quartz.Google Scholar
- Gorz, A. (2011). Critique of economic reason (2nd ed.). London: Verso.Google Scholar
- Guerriero, M. (2014). Are college campuses obsolete? The New Yorker.Google Scholar
- Hansmann, H. (1996). The ownership of enterprise. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Hayes, S., & Jandrić, P. (2017). Learning, technologies, and time in the age of global neoliberal capitalism. Knowledge Cultures, 5(2), 11–17. https://doi.org/10.22381/KC5220171.
- Hockett, R. (2007). What kinds of stock ownership plans should there be—Of ESOPs, other SOPs, and ownership societies. Cornell Law Review, 92(5), 865.Google Scholar
- Hughes, C. (2018). Fair shot: Rethinking inequality and how we earn. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
- Hunnicutt, B. K. (2013). Free time: The forgotten American dream. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
- Hutchins, R. M. (1969). The University of Utopia (2nd ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Illich, I. (1971). Deschooling society (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
- International Co-operative Alliance. (n.d.-a). Co-operative identity, values & principles. https://ica.coop/en/whats-co-op/co-operative-identity-values-principles.
- International Co-operative Alliance. (n.d.-b). Facts and figures. https://ica.coop/en/facts-and-figures.
- Kelso, L. O., & Kelso, P. H. (1986). Democracy and economic power: Extending the employee stock ownership plan revolution (1st ed.). Cambridge, Mass: HarperBusiness.Google Scholar
- Kleiner, D. (2010). The Telekommunist Manifesto. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures.Google Scholar
- Lee, T. H. C. (2000). Education in traditional China: A history. Brill.Google Scholar
- Lulat, Y. G.-M. (2005). A history of African higher education from antiquity to the present: A critical synthesis. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.Google Scholar
- Michel, L. (2012). The wedges between productivity and median compensation growth. Economic Policy Institute Issue Brief, 330.Google Scholar
- Murray, C. (2006). In our hands: A plan to replace the welfare state. Washington, DC: AEI Press.Google Scholar
- Neary, M., & Winn, J. (2009). The student as producer: Reinventing the student experience in higher education. In The future of higher education: Policy, pedagogy and the student experience (pp. 192–210). London: Continuum.Google Scholar
- Neary, M., & Winn, J. (2017). Beyond public and private: A framework for co-operative higher education. Open Library of Humanities, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.16995/olh.195.
- Newman, J. H. (1905). The idea of a university defined and illustrated. Longmans, Green, and Co.Google Scholar
- Parker, G. G., Alstyne, M. W. V., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). Platform revolution: How networked markets are transforming the economy and how to make them work for you. W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
- Pedersen, O. (1997). The first universities: Studium generale and the origins of university education in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Poltermann, A. (2014, April). André Gorz’s concrete Utopia of the knowledge-based society. Heinrich Böll Stiftung Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo. https://rs.boell.org/en/2014/04/29/andr%C3%A9-gorz%E2%80%98s-concrete-utopia-knowledge-based-society.
- Rashdall, H. (1895). The universities of Europe in the middle ages. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Schneider, N. (2014). More noble exercise. Lapham’s Quarterly.Google Scholar
- Schneider, N. (2016). Curricular cop-out on co-ops. The Chronicle of Higher Education.Google Scholar
- Schneider, N. (2018a). An internet of ownership: Democratic design for the online economy. The Sociological Review, 66(2).Google Scholar
- Schneider, N. (2018b). Everything for everyone: The radical tradition that is shaping the next economy. New York: Nation Books.Google Scholar
- Scholz, T., & Schneider, N. (2016). Ours to hack and to own: The rise of platform cooperativism, a new vision for the future of work and a fairer internet. New York: OR Books.Google Scholar
- Selingo, J. (2018). The false promises of worker retraining. The Atlantic.Google Scholar
- Standing, G. (2011). The precariat: The new dangerous class. London: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
- Thomas, A. (2004). The rise of social cooperatives in Italy. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 15(3), 243–263. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:VOLU.0000046280.06580.d8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Whitfield, E. (2017, January). Nevermind guaranteed income, we want the cow. Fund for Democratic Communities. https://f4dc.org/2017/nevermind-guaranteed-income-we-want-the-cow/.
- Zuckerberg, M. (2017, July). Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10103857892105091.