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The Great Grad-School Experiment in Utopian Socialism
Slate ^ | April 8, 2014 | Rebecca Schuman

Posted on 04/10/2014 1:54:26 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife

The Student Union of Michigan ran an interview last week about a gutsy move by six Duke graduate students: For the past two years, they have collectivized wages. That is, they take their “stipends” (university-speak for “paychecks,” a sleight of verbiage that gets universities out of all sorts of labor laws) and put them into one big bank account. This way, for example, if you have an engineering student who makes a whopping $25,000 a year because he’s got summer funding, he or she subsidizes the medieval historian with two kids who gets only a swift kick in the groin from June to September.

The students didn’t like how the university doled out funding unevenly (and at times secretly so), thus creating a culture of “individual poverty and scholarly competition,” so they decided to pool wages and create a culture of “collective wealth and intellectual collaboration.” The best part, according to them, was that they circumvented the bureaucracy entirely, evening out—voluntarily and in private—disparities that were created to make them compete against each other............

(Excerpt) Read more at slate.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: communism; duke; education; socialism
How special.
1 posted on 04/10/2014 1:54:26 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Voluntary and so is not anything like a socialist government.

Neither is sharing your money with your spouse or mom socialism.


2 posted on 04/10/2014 2:09:29 AM PDT by InMemoriam
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
So Slate starts pushing for outright socialism.

Unexpected.

By 2015, they will be pushing for outright communism.

3 posted on 04/10/2014 2:10:14 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Early 2009 to 7/21/2013 - RIP my little girl Cathy. You were the best cat ever. You will be missed.)
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To: InMemoriam
I've also read other college experiments in socialism where it didn't end pretty.

The problem of the Commons always appears.

It will here, too.

4 posted on 04/10/2014 2:12:51 AM PDT by Lazamataz (Early 2009 to 7/21/2013 - RIP my little girl Cathy. You were the best cat ever. You will be missed.)
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To: InMemoriam

“Voluntary and so is not anything like a socialist government.”

True.

But their philosophy is.

I wonder how they would view a grad student (or treat them) if they opted out of this arrangement.


5 posted on 04/10/2014 2:13:02 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Do they share their grades too?


6 posted on 04/10/2014 2:14:36 AM PDT by dynoman (Objectivity is the essence of intelligence. - Marylin vos Savant)
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To: Lazamataz
So Slate starts pushing for outright socialism.

She frames her piece as observing the situation -- chiding professors for not doing what these students have done.....wondering if the grad student's "collective" arrangement (financially, intellectually) to prevent competition will carry over into the workplace after graduation. But she praises them because they're doing something about "income equality" while others just talk about it.

7 posted on 04/10/2014 2:17:39 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: dynoman; All

From the link to the interview in the article above.

......”SUM: Tell us about the Duke Collective. How did it come about? What does it do?

DC: It essentially began out of necessity, where a couple of our friends had no means to ensure their livelihood during the summer — or at least, thought they couldn’t ensure their livelihood through their current habitual and epistemological limits. So we thought, my roommate and I, that we often engage in wage sharing practices with our friends on a daily basis, whether it be buying them a drink or going out for dinner, so why not extend that logic beyond its traditional limitations and see where it takes us.

And so it initially began as a kind of emergency fund, where we didn’t put our entire wage in but only some of our stipend for collective use, mostly as a substitution for a lack of summer funding opportunities to friends who were on international visas, and therefore weren’t allowed to work, at least not legally. So it started with three people in the summer: myself, my roommate, and a friend of ours who isn’t a graduate student.

Then, as time went on, more friends heard about the project and wanted to join in. So it grew to about 6. We then had a few discussions about why we were limiting it to a kind of charity fund, as opposed to going all in, with the idea that we should try and have our economic relations also reflect our social relations, that is, we are totally reliant on others for our subsistence, so why not reflect those relations economically, and see what comes of it — noting that individuated wage and salary structures are probably the strongest enforcer in giving one a sense of individual autonomy, masking our collective reliance beneath an ideology of autonomy. That is, first you get paid individually, and then you start to believe you can survive on your own — a kind of Pascalian materialism that Althusser drew on in his ISA essay..........”

http://studentunionofmichigan.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/graduate-student-workers-of-the-world-collectivize-your-stipends/


8 posted on 04/10/2014 2:22:16 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; Liz; AT7Saluki
Common Core...


9 posted on 04/10/2014 2:22:40 AM PDT by Libloather (Embrace the suck)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

College students learn about communism when they rent a house together. By the end of the year they can’t stand each other.


10 posted on 04/10/2014 2:26:01 AM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: Libloather

“It takes a village.”


11 posted on 04/10/2014 2:27:06 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Vince Ferrer

From the Duke interview:

“............In any case, now it functions as an everyday practice. We pay our bills through the account, groceries, etc. There are few if not all together zero rules. It’s actually quite mundane — because we are fairly homogenous class, with rather equal pay (though there are upper year students who no longer receive funding but I can go into that later), it hasn’t created drastic changes on our daily life except in little but important ways — there is no talk of who pays for what when; our homes and cars are shared fluidly; we’ve tried incorporating to get discounted rates on wifi, heating, plumbing, and so on; money as a form social mediation has to some degree been mitigated in our circle, though it is obviously still present once we emerge out of our urban collective.”


12 posted on 04/10/2014 2:28:23 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

And when they need something they can’t pay for from the ‘collective’ are mom and dad there to help?


13 posted on 04/10/2014 3:05:40 AM PDT by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: dynoman

>>Do they share their grades too?<<

If they were true LIBs, they would have to. Otherwise, they’re a bunch of students sharing expenses.


14 posted on 04/10/2014 3:14:32 AM PDT by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners. And to the NSA trolls, FU)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Granted it’s not really their money, so it doesn’t gall them as much as doing it with earned salaries would, but I wonder how long such an experiment would last if one or more of these “collectivized” grads were explicit about how they’re not paying anything in, but still using the money; particularly if they used it frivolously.


15 posted on 04/10/2014 3:18:29 AM PDT by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Good for them, voluntary communism, now let them try it when they get in the real world.


16 posted on 04/10/2014 3:24:01 AM PDT by Graybeard58 (God is not the author of confusion. 1 Cor 13: 33)
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To: Libloather

What the devil is that? It reads like the hagiography of St. Barry 0dinga of Indonesia ... Might as well be fawning over “Dear Leader”.


17 posted on 04/10/2014 3:29:43 AM PDT by NorthMountain
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To: Libloather

OMG, is that for real? What a bunch of bilge!


18 posted on 04/10/2014 4:01:48 AM PDT by exDemMom (Current visual of the hole the US continues to dig itself into: http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I notice that the group is small, only 6 students. So a certain amount of accountability is built into the system.

Such a scheme *could* work, but only if those who are in on it contribute and take roughly equal amounts. And the only way they could develop that kind of group dynamic would be by carefully screening anyone entering the group, and dealing with non-conformists strictly and quickly through censure or removal from the group.

Even with such a small group, the most likely situation is where one person contributes the bulk of the money, one takes the majority of the money, and everyone else is somewhere in between. And while the primary contributor may talk about how great their little experiment works, after a while, he or she will build up resentment over being the one that *always* pays. Then he or she will leave the group (along with his/her money), although possibly without giving a straight reason why.

Such a situation is difficult to maintain on a small scale where there is intergroup accountability. Scale it up to the point where the contributors and takers don’t know each other (like what we have in the real world), and it does not work.


19 posted on 04/10/2014 4:22:36 AM PDT by exDemMom (Current visual of the hole the US continues to dig itself into: http://www.usdebtclock.org/)
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To: exDemMom
I can imagine the group dynamics working in several different ways. A lot would depend on how great the income differentials are, and whether the lower-income participants make up the difference in household chores. (I would, in such a situation; otherwise I'd just be a mooch.) They will find that informal barter gets complicated and that the cash nexus is a great simplifier and leveler.

Also, the group clearly hasn't had a big disagreement about spending priorities yet. That's only a matter of time.

20 posted on 04/10/2014 4:28:49 AM PDT by sphinx
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Six people sharing income voluntarily... My family does the same thing, big deal.


21 posted on 04/10/2014 4:29:05 AM PDT by outofsalt (If history teaches us anything it's that history rarely teaches us anything.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

My son is going to F.A. U. for his M.B.A. and he is constantly telling me horror stories of the liberal agenda they are pushing.
You b white and male , you b garbage.
You b black, female, latin, illegal or anything non white you b ok.
You white males and females are garbage.
Least that’s the crappola they b pushing.


22 posted on 04/10/2014 4:42:13 AM PDT by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) obammy lied and lied and lied)
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To: exDemMom
I wonder how “they” pay there “collective” taxes.
23 posted on 04/10/2014 5:19:40 AM PDT by justrepublican (Screaming like a "Vexatious requester" at a Wellstone memorial...........)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Uh, guys, if socialism is so bitchin’, why does it have to be enforced. A few liberals with an agenda volunteering to share their money does not make for a model of your fatasy.


24 posted on 04/10/2014 6:23:18 AM PDT by Blue Collar Christian (Vote Democrat. Once you're OK with killing babies the rest is easy. <BCC><)
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To: Blue Collar Christian
Uh, guys, if socialism is so bitchin’, why does it have to be enforced.....

Exhibit 1: Obamacare

25 posted on 04/10/2014 6:26:04 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Vince Ferrer

It’s also called “your first wife.”


26 posted on 04/10/2014 6:55:06 AM PDT by prof.h.mandingo (Buck v. Bell (1927) An idea whose time has come (for extreme liberalism))
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

So, six people decided on their own to live, work and
collaborate a certain way. That’s not the same as
a government telling them to do it.....


27 posted on 04/10/2014 7:08:42 AM PDT by indthkr
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Six voluntary participants who have a friendship bond. Not a true sample.

Try 600 strangers in a common fund, practicing collectivism, involuntarily. You’ll get a different result, surely.


28 posted on 04/10/2014 7:42:23 AM PDT by lurk
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
Voluntary collectivism can be a fine thing. The early Church practiced it in some cases. It is commonly seen in families, church congregations, etc.

People who practice voluntary collectivism should not be derided, or lumped in with authoritarians collectivists. With proper "content of character", such arrangements can be beneficial to all members of the collective.

On the other hand, authoritarian collectivism is a Tyrannical abomination, and should be invariably repudiated and resisted.

29 posted on 04/10/2014 1:54:15 PM PDT by sargon (I don't like the sound of these here Boncentration Bamps!)
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