Does Our Social Contract for Education Need a Reboot?

Lindsey Tepe, Pacific Standard, Jul 22, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The idea of the social contract was introduced by Thomas Hobbes in the 1600s as a means of justifying the continued rule of the monarchy. Without the stern rule of the monarch, he wrote, we would return to the state of nature where the lives of men were "solitary, poore, nasty, brutish and short." The myth of the social contract persists to this day, and is used for the same purpose. This is important, because when authors of articles like this one reference the unequal access to educational technology, and education, in terms of the social contract, it has to be noted that the prevailing social contract in western democracies is that there will be two-tiers, indeed multi-tier, access to everything. And there is no appeal against the social contract - as Locke said, you have two choices: rebellion, or emigration.

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