If and how does understanding our workplaces as “private governments”, especially how many of them are run on deeply undemocratic models of organization and decision making, apply to US colleges and universities in their function as employers? Should higher education in the US function on any market principles, or are other institutions and arrangements more conducive to sustaining quality higher ed? Does the the perverse marriage between libertarianism (of the right-wing variety) and authoritarianism effect formal education at the K-12 or post-secondary levels?
We explore these and other questions today with Elizabeth Anderson, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and John Dewey Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. She is a political philosopher, ethicist, and feminist philosopher, whose 2017 work Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It), for which she received a Progress Medal Laureate for by the Society for Progress, plays a central role in our discussion. She also was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008, has received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support her work, and in 2019, she received a “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Fellows Program.