5.b.7 – Who manages culture and information today?

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July 7, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

Who manages culture and information today?

Managing the word of mouth among friends like in a human coral is a simple matter because it has always been for its nature a decentralized activity; the opposite is true for the management of schools, newspapers and television stations. The schools in our tradition have always been managed by the State, which selects the teachers and establishes programs for each subject, using the same criteria across the nation; in this way a certain uniformity throughout the country is ensured, which is very useful, so that the degrees may have the same value everywhere are issued. This system, when properly applied, can provide an advantageous uniformity, but in a non democratic State it does not in any way guarantee the quality of schools. In such a context, if the service is poor, people do not have a way of imposing that it is improved, or to suggest how it should be.
Currently people can only organize themselves, with the great effort that this entails, to conduct protest demonstrations, demanding, like a mass of subjects, that their proposals are heard (there is no need to stress that sovereign people do not protest, but provide and require: have you ever seen a sovereign to recommend to another authority? Or parading with banners to protest?). Now and then requests are heard, but seldom answered. Alternatively, the citizen should remember which to which party the minister of education belongs, not to vote it for the next election and hope that the message is understood, which is very unlikely since that party has participated in many policy initiatives, many of which are not agreed by everyone, maybe other are good, so for which of them will be punished? The same would happen attributing responsibility to the whole government coalition. With a single vote one cannot clearly express his opinion about the work of the government on school, health, work, security and everything else; so if a government had also run well in many areas, so much better than the previous rival government, people could not express their dissent about the school policy without adversely affecting other sectors of the community.
People therefore cannot intervene to obtain an improvement of schools, but with regard to universities things are even worse. Universities in fact enjoy more autonomy than the State schools: it follows that, in many cases, they should not give account either to the State nor to citizen, who is then completely excluded from a formal point of view. Universities are run by the so-called barons, irremovable professors who must give account for their behavior only to the political or economic lobbies that have supported their appointment.
University professors are appointed holders of the chair after many years, during which they are kept in conditions of semi slavery, underpaid and serving the elderly, because on them will depend their admission in the elite of professors holders; only those who show loyalty to the system can hope for advancement as to get the chair it is indeed necessary to undergo the examinations of the older course professors. We must not forget the hidden influence of politics on funding for the university through which the parties unofficially affect all academia life, including the professors’ careers.
The result is a university governed by a caste of noble type (the “barons”), all focused on maintaining its power; in such a context, one can well imagine how much the innovations of all kinds and new ideas in general can be disliked and opposed. Over time the universities are likely therefore to change from a center of production of culture and innovation into institutions symbol of backwardness and mental closure, as well as of the arrogance, given the attitude held by some teachers against students and their assistants, who do not have adequate legal defenses against their harassment.
A similar situation is found in newspapers, which today depend for their survival on the State funding and are thus subservient to the most dishonest and corrupt politicians, who so control both culture and information. While for the State television, the situation is obvious, for what concerns the private ones the party lobbies may affect them in at least two ways: by affecting the license to occupy the channels (which are limited in number) or by encouraging the purchase or the majority shareholding of the television stations to friends and people loyal to the party.
We can therefore say that the control of citizens on the management of culture and information is zero, while that of unscrupulous politicians is almost absolute.

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