Clickbait and impact: how academia has been hacked

Portia Roelofs, Max Gallien, LSE Impact Blog, Sept 22, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I am sometimes challenged to distinguish between networks and marketplaces, and in particular, to explain why advocacy of networks isn't the same as advocacy of libertarianism. My response points to cases of network failure, showing that scale should not dominate, but rather, should be limited, so that other principles prevail. I reference two cases here where this applies. The first is a Washington Post article showing how libertarianism is distinct from meritocracy. Libertarianism enables prejudices, such as preferences for race, pretty people, or relatives, to prevail. The second, from the London School of economics, shows how academic merit has been 'hacked': "When academia is... framed as a confrontation, it favours confrontational people. This has gendered and racialised effects." The marketplace is defined by mass; the laws of supply and demand are laws of mass. But mass fails. Merit and impact are not determined by mass effects. They are determined by relationships. Both items via Daily Nous.

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