Some Thoughts On Education And Political Priorities Dominic Cummings Pdf
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- Dominic Cummings
- Odyssean Education Plays the Coronavirus: Ideation and the Immune Institution
- On the worldview of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove
Before the coronavirus crisis, academics in higher education were preparing for an intensification of the culture wars, when left-wing academics are denounced by right-wing politicians and their supporters as purveyors of communist propaganda Dickinson These attacks are often personal and avoid intellectual engagement with communist science.
This threat has not gone away. The misrepresentation of Marxist theory in public debate undermines the capacity of a society to respond effectively to the many global emergencies facing the planet. While Marxist theory is a basis for academic research and teaching in higher education, it rarely gets the opportunity to show the power of its exposition in public debates.
In this paper, I want to express the qualities of communist science as part of a contribution to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, showing how communist science expands our capacity to deal with social dangers. While I disagree with Cummings, his essay contains many significant scientific ideas.
The content of the curriculum is interdisciplinary: mathematics, statistics, computing and quantitative methods, the natural sciences, as well as political economy and philosophy. The epistemological framing is complexity theory, cybernetics and adaptive systems thinking. The key to this way of teaching and learning is to look for integration and connectivity between disciplines for students and politicians to gain an understanding of the life-world system as a whole, so that seemingly intractable problems can be solved.
OE does not include any meaningful engagement with the social sciences. The Homeric Odyssey that underpins the idea of Odyssean education has been the subject of much interpretation by political philosophers. Cummings is an advocate of science, but recognises its capacity to unleash a deadly threat by accident or design, for instance, a pandemic.
To counter this threat, he develops a theory of institutional immunity. Cummings is against the concept of herd immunity, which, he argues, is based on unconvincing assumptions about human behaviour. Instead, he favours a non-linear model of contagion control. With an approach based on evolutionary biology, he suggests institutions can build up a successful immune system: a rapid and reactive decentralised decision-making process, enhanced by machine intelligence, that can respond flexibly to the demands of a novel crisis.
His interest in immunity extends to his own function in government. Cummings argues centralised democratic bureaucratic planning is a failed model of social defence. For Cummings, decision-making is best when organic and self-regulating, responding in the moment to the self-interest of each individual for the benefit of society as a whole.
Decision-making resembles a free market, and the free market becomes a law of nature. Political economy and the natural sciences coincide. The UK has one of the highest rates of death from coronavirus in the world. The government has been criticised for its response to the crisis. The lack of readiness is the result of a long-term project to undermine the National Health Service NHS , starving it of funds and introducing market principles to enable its sale to private providers.
Infection control at the start of the pandemic was left to individuals: hand washing and social distancing—a consumer choice model of public health policy. As a result of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus crisis, parts of the UK university system appear to be on the point of collapse, requesting emergency government funding to avoid the failure of its student loans-based system Jarvis The funding model is derived from the liberal marketised debt—driven approach to social development.
The student loans model in England is more vulnerable to the economic repercussions of the coronavirus crisis than publicly funded higher education models across Europe. This government response recklessly avoids the reality that the coronavirus crisis has been a disaster for free market ideology.
Labour may have lost the general election but socialism has won the argument. The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the inability of free market economics to sustain human health, life and well-being in difficult times.
The emergency response by the Conservative government to protect jobs, businesses and the NHS has been to nationalise the economy and promise the NHS whatever it needs. The press report that it was Cummings who objected to the herd immunity approach and argued for the partial lockdown Crace So much for the market. Bring back the state. Communist science is against the state. The state is the avoidance of communism.
I will say that again. So what is communist science? Communist science does not proceed by indoctrination but by scientific method: the rigorous critique of everything that exists, including labour and the state. While Odyssean education searches for integration and connectivity in a world of complexity, communist science knows that everything is already connected through the matrix of generalised commodity exchange under the law of money enforced by the state.
Money is not only a means of exchange and store of value but the supreme form of social power Clarke Cummings does not mention capitalism. He must think we live in an undetermined social universe. Cummings does not mention colonialism. De-colonialism requires a critique of capitalism. Marx did not set the natural and social sciences against each other but sought their reconciliation: as one science for the benefit of humanity and the natural world Marx OE seeks to protect a society based on a market-led model of social development from external threats, like a pandemic.
For communist science, the market and its logic of instrumental rationality is a threat to human civilisation: the threat is endogenous not exogenous. Capitalism is already a catastrophe. That is why capitalism must be overcome. This is not as unrealistic as it might sound. The free market has, in response to the pandemic, been suspended. Ideas matter. Not fixed or dogmatic ideas, but ideas worked on through a process of strong ideation. Critical practical reflexivity on the nature of things—including the conceptual ideas on which the process of reflexivity is based Gunn —to facilitate health, well-being and peace of mind; finding ways to live with the coronavirus and respond effectively to other contagions and global emergencies.
Universities have a key role to play. Under great duress, they are contributing to the efforts to contain and live with coronavirus, creating a vaccine, researching the effects of the pandemic, making protective clothing and much more. University staff and students and their unions continue to struggle for funding and to protect jobs and working conditions.
Following communist science, universities can be organised around the democratic common ownership of the means of socially useful production of knowledge and exchange, with a curriculum based not around complexity and interdisciplinarity but on the unity of the natural and social sciences, articulated, aestheticized and politicised through literature and the arts Neary and Winn Disaster communism Solnit The modern university returns to its radical roots: a revolutionary epistemology to challenge its own scientific assumptions, with its institutional form yet to be decided Neary —an institution immune from its own delusions.
Clarke, S. Keynesianism, monetarism and the crisis of the state. Basingstoke: Edward Elgar. Google Scholar. Collini, S. Inside the mind of Dominic Cummings. The Guardian, 6 February. Accessed 6 May Crace, J. Shall I be like my mother, who danced in the streets during the blitz?
The Guardian, 1 May. Cummings, D. Some thoughts on education and political priorities. Dickinson, J. Is this a turning point in the campus culture wars.
Wonkhe, 2 March. Engels, F. London: Wellred. Foster, J. Marx and ecology: Materialism and nature. New York: Monthly Review Press. Gunn, R. Marxism and philosophy: A critique of critical realism.
Capital and Class, 13 1 , 87— Horkheimer, M. Dialectic of enlightenment. London and New York: Verso. ITV News. Jarvis, A. Package of measures proposed to enable universities to play a critical role in rebuilding the nation. Universities UK, 10 April. Kernohan, D. The education Policy Odyssey of Dominic Cummings.
Wonkhe, 1 August. Klein, N. Shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism.
Odyssean Education Plays the Coronavirus: Ideation and the Immune Institution
Although the fact that it took place in the context of the broader Coronavirus crisis meant that it received relatively little publicity or attention, the central argument of this article is that the lecture provides great insight into the ideas shaping government policy, in general, and into the inner mind of Dominic Cummings, in particular. The Ditchley Annual Lecture dates back over fifty years and is used to focus attention on a specific pressing theme, to build a network of interested people and to draw new talent into future debates and discussions. To review the list of previous lecturers and topics is to look upon an incredibly distinguished list of speakers exploring some of the most profound issues facing humanity. This failure to follow traditional conventional courtesy is, we suggest, symptomatic of a deeper strain of thinking that imbues this lecture and which urgently needs to be foregrounded as part of a broader debate about the future of democracy, civil service reform and the role of technology at the intersection between the governors and the governed. Indeed, what makes the Ditchley Lecture particularly significant is that, despite its best efforts, it does not stand alone and is in fact a key element of a broader process through which core members of the current government are seeking to develop, refine and most of all test out their ideas about the nature and scope of the reform agenda they feel is necessary.
Posts about My essay 'Some thoughts on education and ' written by dominiccummings. In my essay on education and politics, I summarised the view of expert scientists on for many MPs to internalise: the public rewards sustained focus on their priorities! For the PDF of the paper click HERE.
On the worldview of Dominic Cummings and Michael Gove
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You have to sympathise with Dominic Cummings, education secretary Michael Gove's outgoing adviser, although I suspect there are many in the educational establishment who do not. He has recently produced an astonishing paper entitled " Some thoughts on education and political priorities " which, for all its breadth and depth, fails to come up with any substantive or practical ideas for how a government should go about the business of providing a public education system. And the reason for this, I suspect, is a failure to come to grips with a fundamental contradiction that lies at the heart of his thinking. A failure which, at some point, his obvious intelligence will require he has to come to terms with - hence my sympathy for him. So what is this astonishing paper? It is astonishing for many reasons, not least the range of issues it covers as well as some of its more controversial conclusions, which have coloured its reporting in the media.
From to , he was a special adviser to Michael Gove , including the time that Gove served as Education Secretary , leaving when Gove was made Chief Whip in a cabinet reshuffle. From to , Cummings was director of Vote Leave , an organisation which successfully executed the referendum campaign for Britain's exit from the European Union. Cummings had a contentious relationship with Chancellor Sajid Javid which culminated in Javid's resignation in February after he refused to comply with Cummings's request to dismiss his special advisers. In May , two leaders of opposition parties called for Cummings to resign after it was reported that he travelled to his parents' farm in Durham during the COVID pandemic lockdown. After he gave the reasons for his journey at a press conference in the garden of 10 and 11 Downing Street , Prime Minister Johnson supported his chief adviser by saying Cummings had acted "responsibly, legally and with integrity". Cummings was born in Durham on 25 November His father, Robert, had a varied career, primarily as an oil rig project manager for Laing ,  the construction firm.
Yet, all the same, two hands, they are a lot. There are many brilliant people in the civil service and politics. Over the past five months the No10 political team has been lucky to work with some fantastic officials. But there are also some profound problems at the core of how the British state makes decisions. This was seen by pundit-world as a very eccentric view in It is no longer seen as eccentric.
The Duke of Wellington once remarked that the battle plans of Napoleon were made of marble, whereas his own were made of little bits of string. However, they all shared one fatal flaw: if one little bit went wrong then the whole edifice came crashing down. Wellington said that his own battle plans were different: if one string broke, he would merely knot two other strings together and the plan would continue on.