"For Sale University" and the Randian banksters of BB&T
If some ambitious academic plans to carry on the great Outis Philalithopoulos's path-breaking work on academic choice theory , may I suggest that this iconic image, from FSU's public relations office, would be highly appropriate in a case study? Perhaps as the first of a series?
And what did BB&T buy with its check? A whole economics department at FSU -- "For Sale University"! Still from the press release:
In addition, the finance department will offer a new course, "Free Enterprise and Ethics." Included in that course will be a lecture series based on BB&T's core values [!] (www.bbt.com/about/corporategovernance) titled "Perspectives on Free Enterprise." Eventually this new course will become part of a new Certificate Program in Free Enterprise and Ethics.
The BB&T Program of Free Enterprise also will support four new doctoral [sic] fellowships and the undergraduate organization Students in Free Enterprise.
"This gift will allow us to introduce our students to thorough discussions of the moral foundations of capitalism [yes, yes, of course]," said Caryn Beck-Dudley, dean of the College of Business. "It is an exciting development for the College of Business and a true demonstration of the importance of public-private partnerships. Contributions from corporations like BB&T help our state universities attract top students and faculty [for some definition of "top"], particularly in the fields of finance and economics.
As Philalithopoulos remarks:
The core claim of Academic Choice is that valid economic theories are an underprovided public good, due to a combination of academic entrepreneurship and rational public ignorance.
Clearly, in this happy marriage of convenience between FSU and BB&T, we have a willing seller, and a willing buyer. Academic entrepreneurship indeed!
* * *
That FSU thinks outsourcing its curriculum to a bank is a PR triumph tells you all you need to know about that "public" "university."
SaintPetersBlog gives background on BB&T, in a post filled with linky goodness, and concludes"
[BB&T] appear to be just as aggressive as the Kochs in buying into university economics departments. ... So if you bank with BB&T, you can sleep soundly knowing you’re doing your part to advance Rand’s philosophy at a university, possibly near you.
Obviously, move your money.
More importantly, and ironically, our neo-feudal Galtian overlords, who profess to believe that property rights trump all, are also busily destroying the chain of title system and the rule of property law through MERS, showing that Objectivism is the exercise of naked "I've got mine, now Fuck you!" power in fact that it always was in fiction.*
NOTE * If BB&T wants to get people to read Atlas Shrugged, wouldn't it make more sense to buy an English Department, instead of an Economics Department? Assuming, of course, that Rand writes in English.
NOTE Via Nieman Watchdog.
UPDATE I know you've been wondering whether BB&T reached into your pocket for some bailout money, and the answer -- I know this will surprise you -- is that they did, with an interesting twist:
BB&T recently accepted more then $3 billion in bailout money from the federal government. BB&T realizes it goes against their corporate philosophy, but spokesman Bob Denham says it was something they were forced into.
“We did not like the program, we opposed the program we wish it had not been implemented, but that said you want to look like a team player," Denham said. ...
Denham says that BB&T took the money even though bank officials thought the bailout was the wrong way to fix the economic crisis
“We were strongly opposed by it, we didn’t think it was necessary. We certainly had plenty of capital already and was lending money,” Denham said.
“But once we were, once we had discussions with the treasury and they really wanted us as well as most of the other banks to participate, we felt like it was something we had to do,” he said.
So there you have it, "the moral foundations of capitalism" as practiced at BB&T: "But M-o-o-o-o-o-m! All the other kids are doing it!" I rest my case.