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How the Oxford PPE degree created a robotic governing class Watch

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    (Original post by Serine Soul)
    Sorry if this sounds dumb but saying such and such about the course does imply a want to remove it.

    Also, I daresay that it's the course that's hardly at fault, rather the people who take them.

    On the flip side, I, like many others I'm sure, don't like what Margaret Thatcher did, but she studied Chemistry at
    Oxford. Does that mean that the whole Chemistry course should be put under scrutiny?
    No it doesn't imply that. I don't think advocating for analysis and improvement of the course is the same as idealising its removal.
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    (Original post by GoldenFang)
    When you mentioned a "candid observation", I thought you were referring to yourself



    Where I'm studying is irrelevant, and it's frankly a bit hamfisted to get onto the subject of imagined biases. You are more than welcome to respond to the substantive points I made in my response to you or to plagioclase a couple of comments above.

    There should be more than enough on your plate between those two comments to be tucking into, rather than derailing the discussion with unsubstantiated imputations of bias
    I haven't assumed that you have reason to be bias. Instead of assuming I have asked you- you don't want to say, that's fair enough. I replied above.

    I don't see how opening a discussion and linking an article which is based on someone else's informed opinion is such an issue. I haven't got my back up, have nothing to lose or gain, and I simply would like to discuss it with people, especially those who disagree with the article as that provides insight for me. I like knowing how other people see situations based on their experiences. Asking for your situation enables me to link your opinion and reaction with your experiences.
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    (Rote learners) gobble up received wisdom (liberal whitewash), have a superficial appreciation of complex systems, and fail to think outside the box
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    Asking for your situation enables me to link your opinion and reaction with your experiences.
    Fine. I have no reason to be biased for or against. Happy?
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    (Original post by GoldenFang)
    Fine. I have no reason to be biased for or against. Happy?
    Yes. It certainly means I take your opinions in a different way to the way I would if there was a bias. It wouldn't negate or invalidate your opinion even if you did, it would just help to provide the context around it. That's something we should all do in life otherwise we would take people's opinions with no cynicism or consideration of ulterior motives.
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    Yes. It certainly means I take your opinions in a different way to the way I would if there was a bias. It wouldn't negate or invalidate your opinion even if you did, it would just help to provide the context around it. That's something we should all do in life otherwise we would take people's opinions with no cynicism or consideration of ulterior motives.
    Good. Now we're past that issue, what of the two substantive comments I made?
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    Fullofsurprises


    :holmes:
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    (Original post by GoldenFang)
    Well said, dude.

    One, any ambitious young Oxonian needs to subject themselves to the strictures of the political machine if they want to gratify that ambition. That means trooping through the lobbies to vote for policies that are red lines for the blue rinses in South East England or the trade union bosses. That's how politics works; each party is, essentially, a coalition of interests, not some genuinely unitary phenomenon. They have to act within the constraints of the society and the political structure in which they live and work. It's facile to blame the PPE syllabus for some claimed failure to live up to SJW standards.
    I agree. There is nothing I have to say to this apart from I agree and to reiterate I wasn't blaming the PPE syllabus at all, as we have discussed before.

    Two, for all their faults and for all the shrieking and bellowing and conspiracy theories, we haven't been that badly served by our politicians if you're able to take a broader, more historical view. When I flick a switch, a light comes on because politicians and civil servants have created policies that bring about a regulated, reliable energy industry. When I turn on the tap, clean water that won't poison me comes out.

    If I am attacked in the street by a criminal, a generally competent law enforcement organisation will come to my aid. If I need to resolve a dispute, I can have it adjudicated in a court system which is generally accepted to be free of corruption. If I am sick, I will be taken care of in world-class hospitals. If I am out of work, I will be assisted. By historical standards, and world standards, we live in a paradise.
    Again, I agree mostly. We do have a pretty good system and tending towards western democracy is generally considered to be a civilised and prosperous option. Again, like the PPE degree, something working okay or not being at fault is not a reason to dismiss that it could be improved or at the least discussed.

    It's very easy to take the parochial view that everything is awful and corrupt. But if you are able to take a more rational, objective, historical view, you see that things actually aren't that bad if you're living in Britain in the early 21st century. When do the people who brought about this state of affairs, politicians and civil servants, get any thanks? Modern society is ****ing complex, you can't make any policy decision that doesn't effect a thousand other things in countless ways. To keep this astonishing social machine running really is something worthy of recognition
    Agreed, especially with bolded. Just with the point above as a caveat again.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Fullofsurprises


    :holmes:
    Who is this user and why he so relevant? Foo.mp3 also tagged him.
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    (Original post by Foo.mp3)
    (Rote learners) gobble up received wisdom (liberal whitewash), have a superficial appreciation of complex systems, and fail to think outside the box
    by "liberal whitewash" do you mean this branch of neo-progressive, ultra-authoritarian sjw feminazism or classical liberals as well? because many right wingers support rote learning fact spouting way of teaching
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    Who is this user and why he so relevant? Foo.mp3 also tagged him.
    I think she did a PPE degree at Oxford.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I think she did a PPE degree at Oxford.
    Oh cool. Accidental use of sex there. Classic TSR mistake. Sorry FoS.

    Well as I said in the OP I am not out to undermine Oxford PPE students/grads. As is the nature of creating a thread I just want to invite discussion as I am curious about people's opinions and thoughts.
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    I agree that a gradual reduction in inequality is necessary but through slow and steady reform, not by killing people.
    I'm not certain all types of inequality need to be addressed - Specifically, I was thinking of wealth, but:


    People are born stronger, smarter, faster, better looking and yes - Even wealthier. Despite this, our lives continue to grow by leaps and bounds - A poor westerner now eats better than the aristocracy of 3 centuries ago, has better clothes, less drafty homes and a vast array of entertainment options as well as access to information nobody else could think of.

    The problem isn't wealth inequality - The problem is a lack of options for upward mobility.

    Only 1/10 of poor, white boys from disadvantaged areas will attend further education(I mention race ironically so this doesn't become a 'Create laws to address (x) races disadvantages'), people who are born in to single parent families represent 90% of incarcerated criminals -

    http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/arc...-crime/265860/

    Generational poverty, self-imposed ghettoization, integration, the curse of single-parent families et al - These are things that cannot be solved by a social revolution.

    What it requires is an evolution - A stronger community with closer ties and a firm commitment to education, communal values and unified families. There are so many problems related to the collapse of the family and community - The government can't solve that, so it wouldn't matter who we voted in. We need to fix that ourselves.
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    (Original post by ThatOldGuy)
    I'm not certain all types of inequality need to be addressed - Specifically, I was thinking of wealth, but:


    People are born stronger, smarter, faster, better looking and yes - Even wealthier. Despite this, our lives continue to grow by leaps and bounds - A poor westerner now eats better than the aristocracy of 3 centuries ago, has better clothes, less drafty homes and a vast array of entertainment options as well as access to information nobody else could think of.

    The problem isn't wealth inequality - The problem is a lack of options for upward mobility.

    Only 1/10 of poor, white boys from disadvantaged areas will attend further education(I mention race ironically so this doesn't become a 'Create laws to address (x) races disadvantages'), people who are born in to single parent families represent 90% of incarcerated criminals -

    http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/arc...-crime/265860/

    Generational poverty, self-imposed ghettoization, integration, the curse of single-parent families et al - These are things that cannot be solved by a social revolution.

    What it requires is an evolution - A stronger community with closer ties and a firm commitment to education, communal values and unified families. There are so many problems related to the collapse of the family and community - The government can't solve that, so it wouldn't matter who we voted in. We need to fix that ourselves.
    Re bolded- they are two sides of the same coin. One cannot be achieved without the other moving in parallel.
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    (Original post by Ethereal World)
    What are your thoughts?
    I think that article has been discussed before on TSR, it's interesting and provocative.

    I agree there's some truth in the idea that weaknesses in the format of PPE at Oxford, particularly the cramming together of quick but intense doses of the three disciplines and the pressure to sound knowledgeable in all three without necessarily having the depth is a risk, at least in the first part of the course.

    What I think the article misses is the way a career structure of PPE >> Intern in MP's office >> SPAD >> MP >> Minister has evolved. The bad thing is probably not PPE at Oxford but the way politics at that level has developed a fixed career track with PPE as Step 1 in an inevitable sequence of tightly defined steps. There ought to be far more experience of life, business and other jobs in ministerial ranks than there has been in the last 25 years in all parties.

    A massive part of the problem is the intern/SPAD part of it. This has evolved because politicians do not trust civil servants (perhaps rightly in some cases) to carry out their policy objectives. A US style system of bringing in a cadre of your own hand-picked people when you arrive in office has developed. These are the SPADs and they are drawn from people ministers knew as MPs, their interns. They in turn are recruited in the main from Oxbridge and from PPE in particular, although not exclusively - there are PPE and Politics/Economics/History interns from other universities and there are non-PPE interns from Oxbridge - but there's a recognisable pattern there.

    Probably what should happen is that we should move to a US system where the top level of the civil service are replaced by each government and recruited from people they choose.

    We also need the sort of insurgent parties Nick Cohen describes in the article, but we need ones that are genuinely radical and not just reworkings of the status quo wearing different clothing. We need more Green politicians and we need Parliament to reflect the actual voting via some form of PR.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    I think that article has been discussed before on TSR, it's interesting and provocative.

    I agree there's some truth in the idea that weaknesses in the format of PPE at Oxford, particularly the cramming together of quick but intense doses of the three disciplines and the pressure to sound knowledgeable in all three without necessarily having the depth is a risk, at least in the first part of the course.

    What I think the article misses is the way a career structure of PPE >> Intern in MP's office >> SPAD >> MP >> Minister has evolved. The bad thing is probably not PPE at Oxford but the way politics at that level has developed a fixed career track with PPE as Step 1 in an inevitable sequence of tightly defined steps. There ought to be far more experience of life, business and other jobs in ministerial ranks than there has been in the last 25 years in all parties.

    A massive part of the problem is the intern/SPAD part of it. This has evolved because politicians do not trust civil servants (perhaps rightly in some cases) to carry out their policy objectives. A US style system of bringing in a cadre of your own hand-picked people when you arrive in office has developed. These are the SPADs and they are drawn from people ministers knew as MPs, their interns. They in turn are recruited in the main from Oxbridge and from PPE in particular, although not exclusively - there are PPE and Politics/Economics/History interns from other universities and there are non-PPE interns from Oxbridge - but there's a recognisable pattern there.

    Probably what should happen is that we should move to a US system where the top level of the civil service are replaced by each government and recruited from people they choose.

    We also need the sort of insurgent parties Nick Cohen describes in the article, but we need ones that are genuinely radical and not just reworkings of the status quo wearing different clothing. We need more Green politicians and we need Parliament to reflect the actual voting via some form of PR.
    Sorry if it is a repeat of something that has happened before. I should have run a search in advance to avoid duplication and hashing up old arguments.

    Do you study PPE at Oxford yes? I am really quite glad that you have responded so maturely- considering there were some attacks at the mere mention of improvement yesterday. I was not advocating that the course was the source of all problems in British politics nor was I suggesting that those who study it are a certain type of person; I merely wanted to discuss the situation and hear people’s thoughts on ways to improve something which is a big preparation route for politicians.

    Everything you’ve said in the second half is really interesting. I guess it’s just how do you move to a reformed system without radical change which never really works sustainably. Ideas are all well and good but realistic implementation is often the challenge, especially when the powers that be have an interest to maintain the status quo.

    It’s important to be able to look at weaknesses in any system but that isn’t the same as wanting to abolish the system altogether. Thank you for not creating the need for me to explain that again.
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    I'm more concerned by the predominance of former students of Eton, Harrow etc. than by PPEists. And I don't think it's fair to blame the course. Both parties should find better ways to promote new profiles among their junior members.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Probably what should happen is that we should move to a US system where the top level of the civil service are replaced by each government and recruited from people they choose.
    The problem of this solution is that it creates instability in the administration and leads to short-term policies rather than long term strategies.
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    (Original post by Josb)
    The problem of this solution is that it creates instability in the administration and leads to short-term policies rather than long term strategies.
    I think we've got that anyway. :sad:
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    I think we've got that anyway. :sad:
    PRSOM. :love:
 
 
 
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