Cybernetics, economics, thermodynamics and information

I had a really thought-provoking visit to Liverpool last Friday to talk with Mark Johnson and visit the Stafford Beer archive at the Liverpool John Moores University. That left me thinking about organisational cybernetics and the Viable System Model but also prompted much discussion about the use of machine learning with Adaptive Comparative Judgement –Continue reading “Cybernetics, economics, thermodynamics and information”

Higher Education – a risky business

While the English HE sector as done well financially in the last eight years, there is a culture of risk aversion within the university. In this post I think about the issues and consider some of the effects on my Faculty and on my work in education.

A critique of the University of Cambridge’s external financing approach from the perspective of modern money theory

Remarks for the discussion at the Senate House, University of Cambridge on 6 November on the use of funds from £600 million bond issue Deputy Vice Chancellor. The Council has already approved of raising external finance by issuing bonds of up to £600 million. And I understand that this discussion is about the use ofContinue reading “A critique of the University of Cambridge’s external financing approach from the perspective of modern money theory”

Apparently there are too many PhD students

There have been some conversations in the University, I understand, that there are too many graduate students competing for too few academic jobs. There was some discussion also that we should reduce the number of graduate students. While the first statement might be true, I take issue with the second. Globally, there might be finiteContinue reading “Apparently there are too many PhD students”

That’s all very well but as a nation we just can’t afford it

Health and social care and education are now just unaffordable. There are too many old and sick people and too many people want to go to university. We can’t afford it. We have to do something different, they say. However, affordability at the level of a nation is widely misunderstood. The common metaphor for aContinue reading “That’s all very well but as a nation we just can’t afford it”

A quick response to Lord Willetts on intergenerational equality (Resolution Foundation Report).

This is a quick response on Willetts’ talk in the Imagine 2027 series at Anglia Ruskin University last night. It is remarkable that the liberal wing of the Conservative is being forced to respond to the Labour Party’s progressive economic turn. Willetts’ considers that intergenerational equality is driven by birth rates, a largely Malthusian idea.Continue reading “A quick response to Lord Willetts on intergenerational equality (Resolution Foundation Report).”

Multiplication – the privilege of mathematical thinking

I love John Mason. It is always a pleasure to listen to him as he takes you with him through his exploration of mathematical thinking and learning: “sit there and close your eyes and imagine a number line…” He takes you on a journey of ideas, connections and new understandings of the relationships between conceptsContinue reading “Multiplication – the privilege of mathematical thinking”

Anti-semitism: it is time to listen, reflect and learn

The issue of anti-semitism on the left has to be taken seriously. I do not believe that the Labour Party or even the left of the Labour Party is any worse than the rest of society or any other political party. But I do believe that members of the Labour Party have a special responsibility becauseContinue reading “Anti-semitism: it is time to listen, reflect and learn”

The Higher Education pensions dispute: a perfect storm of neo-liberalism, marketisation and austerity

The current dispute between the University and College Union (UCU) and the representative body of the employers, Universities UK (UUK), is over imposed cuts to pension benefits. According to the UCU, the annual retirement income of academics will be reduced by 10 to 40 percent. This is on top of real-terms pay cuts of 19.5Continue reading “The Higher Education pensions dispute: a perfect storm of neo-liberalism, marketisation and austerity”

Notes   [ + ]

1. http://www.ucu.org.uk/circ/pdf/UCUBANHE14.pdf
2. Ibid. The accounting model changed in 2016/17 but the sector continued to secure considerable surpluses.
3. https://medium.com/@mikeotsuka/oxfords-and-cambridge-s-role-in-the-demise-of-uss-a3034b62c033
4. It is not really leaving the UK, more accurately it means there is domestic accumulation of Sterling as a consequence of overseas trade.
5. https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-news/new-figures-reveal-dearth-poor-students-russell-group-universities