Academocracy – Putting knowledge first.

“Elitists tend to favor systems such as meritocracy, technocracy and plutocracy as opposed to radical democracy, political egalitarianism and populism.”

My Idea – (Knowledge is Power)
An Academic Republic is an idea I’ve been thinking about for a while, it fits into a grand scheme of mine. The title is just academic and democracy squeezed together, but the idea falls under an elitist view: Representative democracy like we already have, but only those with a degree can vote. It sounds harsh and excluding, but it would only be acceptable alonside the rest of my set up:

  • Education up to and including University is free.
  • Re-entering unfinnished education, at any point, is free.
  • Only those with a degree/HND can vote. (Academocracy)
  • Bicameral system (HoC/HoL) of the type proposed in this previous post.

The plan is to encorrage the learning and persuing of ideas. A degree in the arts, sciences or any of the ones that already exist can get you a vote so people will just pick something they enjoy. You could do a degree in neurobiology then be a pastry chef if that’s the plan!!

An effect of delaying the vote until people have experienced university would hopefully stop the unnecessary sway of easily lead voters who just vote for whoever isn’t in power at the time. Rationality and the scientific method would be key in the new curriculums.

The outcome would be a paradigm shift in the global view of said nation as an intellectual icon. More importantly the produce of a highly educated society would be increased in quality if not quantity aswell. Simply by knowing more methods people will find more solutions for everyday problems. A sort of like reciprocal altruism between the nation and science.

Education wouldn’t be compulsory, if someone left school at 16 then at 20 decided they want to weigh in on politics they could continue education in what ever subjects they feel (maybe politics if that’s caught their eye) and after completing their degree – vote. Goverment funded “Catch-up Courses” would be introduced to get from GCSE level to A level in less than a year for people over the age of 18.

The curriculum would need a change, certain subject ideas i’ve had are Big Picture lessons, where the realworld applications of what you are learning at the time are shown to you by university lecturers. Another is Free Thinking lessons, where creativity (no matter how against the grain) is encoraged and you go to teachers with ideas for projects and they help point you in the right direction for learning. Marked solely on atttendance and something like once a month.

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20 thoughts on “Academocracy – Putting knowledge first.

  1. Very interesting. I like a lot of these ideas! I also like the differences between Big Picture and Free Thinking Lessons–I think both are important to a highly educated society.

    • I see on your blog that (among millions of other things!) that you’re interested in education, do you ever think about the curriculum? It often seems to be about getting kids to pass grades as opposed to learning.

  2. A lot of this appeals to me, but I cannot tell if my reaction is analogous to that of a millionaire who fights for tax cuts that he doesn’t even need — he supports it even though it hurts the rest of society merely because it benefits him. I am academic and thus would benefit from this system. I do believe the majority would benefit as well from more responsible and educated voters. But I am undoubtedly biased. I’m sure the ignorant want to be in charge too.

    • The plan would be to provoke the ignorant into coming over to the side of intellect, and hopefully ‘thin the herd’. Personally I see myself as a pseudo-intellect, so just trying is good enough for me.. Although after writing it I was almost instantly thinking of all the people who are not academic but are level headed and not driven by media or the general zeitgeist.

  3. I like the idea, but as commented above, I am biased.

    The idea of a higher education sounds like it would be beneficial to everyone. But that is because we have been educated to such a level. There are people who wouldn’t go near a university education if someone paid them. It’s just not for them.

    This can be because of hundreds of different reasons. Maybe they want to get into the working world early, maybe academic teaching never suited them and they wanted to do something more manual. etc etc.

    A system like this will discriminate against them massively and take away their public voice. They won’t have a higher education, and therefore this system, and a lot of people purporting it, won’t have any respect for them.

    Basically: the system assumes everyone wants a higher education and that it will be beneficial to them.

    • Yeah this is a fair point and also I was thinking the discrimination would be pretty rough because it would segregate into voters (degree holders) and non-voters (“uneducated”) which is going to be an attack on their intellect and basically frame them as a subclass, which is brutal!

      • Merely offer curriculum in ALL disciplines. Make sure there is approved curriculum that applies to ALL people. I really believe everybody wants to learn, it’s the methods of delivery, content and ability to inspire that will determine effectiveness and attendance levels. I am very interested in a holistic approach to education. I will spend some time at the end of the year researching and working in this field. I will let you know my findings, perhaps they can compliment and develop your ideas.

    • Well I actually propose: Citizen + Education/Time = Wise Voter

      But very good point! A complete assumption, I will have to have a look around but I doubt there’s anything more than conjecture in what a ‘wise’ voter is.

      • I believe wisdom, to a degree, can be taught. Although I never came across anything like it in my degrees. Perhaps incorporating experiential learning and classes focused on evolving the wisdom of individuals should be mandatory.

  4. You know some of my feelings on this idea, but two further objections i would have apart from the disenfranchisement of anyone who chooses not to go to university (which i think would lead to major problems of legitimacy and rioting) and the cost of everyone in the country receiving university education.
    The first would be that over the course of the last government, i believe standards fell to accommodate increasing the numbers of students which resulted from the governments 50% target going to university. If the target was upped to 100% of people going to university, the level of academia would have to be reduced to accommodate.
    My second contention would be that someone who wishes to be a pastry chef would be in a better position after 3 years of training/on the job experience as a pastry chief rather than 3 learning neuroscience, which they would then never make use of, at university.
    I think what you desire could be at least somewhat accomplished by reform of schooling, and i agree with your suggestions of improving the curriculum. I think we need to brainstorm more ideas to update and improve schooling up to 18 to make it more useful and relevant in the modern world, rather than punishing the uneducated by disenfranchising them.

    • I may have mislead by choosing to say pastry chef as that would require a lot of training. Imagine a girl, Alice, who has always been a neetfreak and loves to keep her room clean. She wants to be a cleaner when she grows up, but also she’s always asking questions on why people act how they do.. she’s not actually interested in the anthropology, but if the brain is doing this chemically. So whilst waiting to be 21 to vote – she takes a neuroscience degree because that’s a field that interests her. People will have more than one love in life and if people end up taking a career path and an academic path then maybe ‘general knowledge’ will change from 80s pop songs and who was on Eastenders..

      I was thinking about the rioting, I said to ScienceDefined about a massive class seperation and It’s obviously a big problem!

  5. I can see your point, but one of the issues we facing in western societies is the lack of trades. When looking at the figures the trade people; the plumbers, the electricians, mechanics are the new wealthy. We in Australia survived the GFC in part because of their deposable income. They spent and they kept the economy alive. We walked away relatively unscathed.
    While a degree is necessary for many occupations, my own included, it’s not the bar I would set. It’s true that the more educated a person the less religious they are likely to be and the fewer children they will have. Those are good things. But they are also more likely to have higher debt and stress. There are pluses with each group.
    My thoughts run towards a A complete overhaul of the education system rather than putting the money into paying for degrees for all. Not everyone thrives in academics. Some of the more interesting people I know left school at 16 and live good lives and do good things in the community. I don’t think this is the solution. In my mind it lies in the growth of the corporation and its entity in politics.

  6. I agree with the reasons for your proposal even as I question the proposal. What I specifically agree with is the increasing of education and theoretically increasing the number of informed voters. However, what I question is how much higher education actually correlates to informed voters and how much lack of higher education actually correlates to uninformed voters.

    I’m a college dropout as is one of my brothers. Both of us are smart and relatively well informed, although I’m more of an intellectual than he is. I’m sure I have read more intellectual and politcal books and articles than the average college graduate. I’m sure I’m more informed than the average voter. Yet your proposal would disenfranchise me.

    That is the problem. Lack of intelligence isn’t the only reason for someone to not have a college degree. And intelligence isn’t the only reason for someone to have a college degree. This is particularly true of the type of intelligence such as intellectual curiosity that would help create informed voters. I’ve met plenty of college graduates who weren’t particularly intelligent or well informed about politics, and many of them had little desire to become more well informed.

    So, increasing education overall would be good and creating better education for all citizens would be good. Of course, this should first focus on primary education which is in need of much improvement. It is hard to create informed voters through higher education when their primary education already failed them. You have to get kids when they are young in order to create intellectual curiosity. It is intellectual curiosity, whether through formal education or not, that will lead to more informed voters.

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