Dystopian future of education in the knowledge society Tibor Rutar
Summary: The concept of the knowledge society or, better, knowledge economy was initially developed in the USA in the 1960s, but it has also been gaining considerable momentum over the past two decades in Europe. Proponents of the knowledge driven economy, in which knowledge becomes the main productive resource, claim their idea represents a genuine shift to a new phase of capitalist accumulation, in which the old problems of chronic unemployment, material scarcity and competitive disadvantage are solved. In this article, we show that the claims of these ideologues are (a) misleading, and (b) that the mechanisms required for the implementation of such a society have detrimental consequences on the function and role of education and knowledge. The knowledge society is not a new, qualitatively different phase of capitalism, where systemic crises are eradicated; rather, it is a society in which educational and research activities are implicitly and explicitly subjugated to the requirements of a flexible labor market and the global competitive struggle. In other words, the once universally accessible schooling and nonmarket scientific research are restructured in such a way that they serve the imperative of production for the sake of profit, not the maxim of production for the sake of satisfying societal needs.