Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Metzger, chapter 9: Universities and Big Business
In this chapter he focuses on big business's relationship with universities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He notes that whereas in the first half of the 19th century college presidents had sought donations based on their own assessments of institutional need, subsequently men of wealth decided what they wanted to support and offered those funds on their terms (a pattern that continues to this day). Interestingly, he ties this with the concentration of wealth in the late 19th century and the unease that it inspired (as documented by Hofstadter in The Age of Reform). The plutocrats were not unaware of the unease, and they shared with many of the professors that quintessentially American optimism that an equal and democratic society can be sustained, that the masses can be lifted, and that all of this can be done without sacrifice of self-interest by finding a win-win solution through the application of science. I'm reminded of the Gates Foundation.