Page 1


Whole Earth Provision Company Nature Discovery Gifts amaze, inform, delight Choose from our business or family gifts of lasting value, for all ages, price ranges and any occasion. Call or stop by and let us make suggestions. i t 2410 San Antonio St. 4006 South Lamar Blvd. 8868 Research Blvd. “tatles,c,tic,;;r:yemors.v.rea.,..,;:u.A.NoAkI4 walititervirvoy erps:33,4”.4suzGuats-Vhr.irme:AcucuwaY come “a successful technology,” then it would be a great boon to HewlettPackard, which has developed the prototype software to be used. While Hewlett-Packard will be donating computers, computer software, and a support contract for hardware, the university will be providing students, training, faculty, space, and, perhaps most important, will be directing research in the direction desired by Hewlett-Packard. It should also be noted that, as HewlettPackard and most other major high technology firms hold a number of defense contracts, university researchers can be expected to engage in more and more military-related research. All these benefits to Hewlett-Packard are provided by the residents of this state through state money going to universities and through the tax incentives received by Hewlett-Packard. Since Hewlett-Packard seems to be the primary beneficiary of this state-corporate relationship and not the residents of this state, could the state’s share of the deal be better spent? Do the citizens of Texas get to make that decision? Not if the business community can help it. According to Irving Shapiro of Du Pont, “people have to disavow some of the things they have come to expect. The public sector is taking too much of the wealth that is being created [Dickson and Noble].” Another decision made for the people of the state but not by the people can be seen in the recent announcement of the creation of the Permian Basin Center for Energy and Economic Diversification. A joint project of the University of Texas and private industry, the center, according to Regents chairman Jess Hay, will be designed “to boost economic diversity of the region through application of research results, commercialization of technological developments, and other entrepreneurial activities.” So the business community makes some tax-deductible donations, and the university pitches in to help save business interests that have for so long 10 DECEMBER 20, 1985 depended on petroleum income. Certainly this will help the community in general, but why did the University set up an economic development center for the Permian Basin and not for the much harder hit Rio Grande Valley? Why is there no major economic development project at Pan American University in Edinburg? Because the decisions on university research and economic development are not made by the citizens of this state for the general welfare of the state. They are dictated by the captains of industry primarily for their own benefit. As Dickson and Noble point out, “university research will inevitably reflect less than ever the interests of less endowed and mobilized portions of the population consumers, environmentalists, and working people generally.” Certainly, with millions of corporate dollars invested in a university, that institution will be less inclined to support research that could lead to the regulation of industry . You can be sure the corporations will not be investing in such research, and you can also bet that those faculty members and students doing the research under corporation contracts will be in the vanguard of those denouncing regulation, particularly those researchers who move back and forth from university to industry, a practice occurring more and more often. In fact, a primary function of the college campuses in this corporate-gown relationship is to provide anti-regulatory expertise. Dickson and Noble quote Du Pont’s Edward Kane telling a group of MIT academics that no one “is wellserved by inefficient and uneconomic regulations. You in the universities are in a good position to present the argument and point the policy-makers to sensible directions.” In his December 5 speech to the Select Committee, Norman Hackerman was bemoaning the fact that regulation and legal causes of action are causing scientists to sever ties with industry. “Precisely the people who are responsible for increased longevity,” he said, “are those people who are blamed when someone gets hurt.” While Governor White, Mayor Henry Cisneros of San Antonio, and other proponents of high technology have never been known to cry out for greater -regulation of that industry, as that industry becomes a larger part of the local economic picture any effort to regulate it will be met with instant, official, rebuff. Any university research in the consumer interest which may point to the need for industry regulation will find tough sledding in the search for funding in the university or government bureaucracies. Limiting Democracy The picture this paints of academic freedom and the tolerance for dissident perspectives on campus is not bright. With greater dependence on part-time faculty on all campuses in the state, the insecurity of that kind of teaching position does not lend itself to rocking the academic boat. In addition, several campuses, most notably Texas Tech, are already embroiled in bitter campus disputes concerning academic freedom. The Texas Faculty Association’s Margerison expressed his concern about the adoption of a corporate model of governance in state colleges and universities. “We can’t be run from the top down like factories turning out plastic ducks,” he said. “What we want to turn out is self-sufficiency, and diversity, and creativity. ” The model of governance within a university is a reflection of the model of governance without. The threat we face with the increase of technological influence in our society is the diminution of our democracy. The mystique of high technology requires reliance upon the experts who understand the workings of the technology. The infusion of technological money in the universities will create a new class of experts, technocrats loyal to their benefactors, an elite of social engineers charged with the retooling of society. They will litter legislative committee hearings. They will fill governor’s commissions. You can forget about pesticide regulations because the experts will be produced to counter arguments about pesticide dangers. In talking about Aid to Families with Dependent Children, indigent health care, or prison reform, riskanalysis and scientific management will be produced to counter the testimony of those who suffer. In 1976, Carl Kaysen, a director of Polaroid and MIT faculty member, addressed the conflict between the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy and the