Why capitalism and business is possibly more liberal than academia

I am somewhat skeptical that academia is as liberal as it’s commonly purported to be.

Capitalism is much more inclusive compared to the insularity of academia. This possibly makes capitalism more liberal than academia, which is more like a priesthood, if liberalism is defined as openness and inclusivity. Business is about making one’s product accessible to a lot of people, whereas with academia obfuscation reigns. Although luxury goods are a possible exception to this, in capitalism the only price of admission is money, not the approval of peers (which is why it’s called peer review). It’s not like you need the approval of peers to buy a sports car.

Unlike the sports car, there is nothing intrinsically valuable about knowledge in and of itself. Nor is there any market value (except for perhaps patents). In the context of academia, the only value knowledge has is how it’s received by peers. In theory someone could be awarded a PhD in arithmetic (as in addition, not arithmetic geometry) and such an individual would hold the appellation of having a PhD. It would be worthless in the eyes of his or her peers, but it would technically for all intents and purposes still be a doctorate.

Liberalism is defined by more than a discrete set of object-issues, such as abortion rights or gun control, it’s also an attitude or worldview that, in theory, emphasizes inclusivity and tolerance. Liberal elitism is almost an oxymoron and is antithetical to the philosophical essence of liberalism, yet it’s common in academia and in government.

Also, academics seem to have little patience for things that deviate from some narrow worldview or conception of reality. Business people are receptive to feedback such as customer surveys and focus groups; academics less so. If you make a misstep in the private sector, likely your boss will try to explain how you messed up and give you a chance to rectify the situation, but in academia if you get a bad grade there is no recourse, or on Reddit subs and communities heavily populated by academics, your posts get shadowbanned, downvoted, or removed again with no recourse or appeal. Same for Wikipedia, which is ‘free’ but famously undemocratic. ‘Markets’ at least offer room for error, for debate, for negotiation, etc. People complain that business is impersonal and profit-motivated, but academia is likely even more impersonal and consensus-motivated.

The IDW, which spans the center-left to the center-right, is almost entirely composed of academics, not businesspeople. Although there are pundits who are not academics, such as Joe Rogan, there is not a single businessperson of any of the major IDW figures.

Businesspeople are always preaching about inclusion and diversity, and not just limited to Fortune 500 companies either. This is why they tend to support open border: more potential customers.

Also on social media profiles, some of the most liberal/woke people I have encountered, as in supporting Bernie or BLM, are employed in private sector professionally (not wage-slave work) instead of academia. Silicon Valley for example is very ‘blue’ yet also very successful capitalistically. Some of this is probably due to private sector jobs being more common, but it sorta disabuses the notion that the private sector must be more conservative than academia or government.

Overall, for all that the left preaches about tolerance, inclusion and open-mindedness, academia tends to be anything but. This possibly makes busines and capitalism more liberal than academia, at least by that metric.

1 comment

  1. They, whether academic or corporate, pretend to like inclusion and tolerance but in reality there is little of that going on these days. That’s more of a deep fake used to promote a parasitical class who cannot compete with white men. They need quotas and cancel culture to push the chimera of diversity. In other words, coercion. The question remains, at what point will things start to break down entirely. For instance, rolling blackouts. Or people unable or unwilling to use mass transit systems, or public school systems. Corporate management in places like Netflix are already fighting open rebellion in their ranks.

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