Capitalism's Ugly Effects Felt at UCSD

Some people seem to view the concept of a university as something that is untouched by the evils of society. Upon closer examination, however, it is clear that universities — especially public universities — are one of the sectors most influenced by the state and its bureaucracy. This is not to say that I equate the evils of society to the state and its bureaucracy. The topic at hand is a more general one: capitalism. We hate to love it, and we love to hate it. It brings us the lifestyle we have been brainwashed to desire while firmly planting guilty consciences in many of our liberal “”bleeding hearts.””

In the words of Marx, it allows us as the bourgeoisie to control the proletariat “”enslaved”” in many of the world’s lesser-developed countries. Overall, there is no way to get away from capitalism.The United States has used the power of capitalism’s message to create a consumer culture which is becoming worldwide. Through radio and TV waves, capitalism was able to break down the Berlin Wall in the eyes of many, and it is now softening the Chinese defense against it. Imagine the potential financial benefits American multinational corporations will have if they are able to transform 1.2 billion Chinese into loyal consumers of American products or services. I can see the dollar signs in the eyes of CEOs across the country.

Clearly capitalism is overt on an international scale, but the most interesting data is how evident it is here on our cute La Jolla campus. The ruthlessness of capitalism, which is equivalent to financial Darwinism, here at UCSD? Let’s think for a second.

I’m sure many have noticed the current buildings going up around campus. Let’s see: an engineering building, two new parking structures and, as a typically uninformed, fairly apathetic UCSD student, I cannot even say what the other buildings going up will be. And for further thought: I know of two huge engineering buildings already in place here on campus, adjacent to each other. The third being built looks to be of a similar size. These three enormous buildings will dwarf the Literature Building to their right. Some of you might not flinch to know that resources on campus are split up so unevenly. We have three massive complexes for engineering and one medium-sized building for literature, another popular major.

The reasons for this particular financial distribution can be attributed to the effect of capitalism on our campus. Engineering is the major of the future. Literature is a major that maintains a certain academic tradition, in which graduates usually pursue teaching credentials of some sort. The donors who made this project possible, whether they be related to Dynes’ 100 million shares of Qualcomm or not, have been brainwashed by capitalism’s consumer- and producer-oriented culture.

What does literature produce? Only open-minded individuals, many of them teachers and writers. These people will make a difference in influencing how people will think in the next generation. What will engineering majors produce? People who are controlled by multinational corporations and the state, constructing buildings, computer networks, etc. This is not to say that engineering majors are not valuable. I just think their value is inflated because of the emphasis that capitalism puts on them and their work.

Now let’s discuss the other buildings being constructed: parking structures. Three will have been built on campus by the end of the year. What is the objective of parking structures? To provide parking, right? For whom, specifically? One might think parking would be provided for the majority of the people responsible for the success and day-to-day operations of the school: the students. But it is now common knowledge that the construction of all these new parking structures has not increased the amount of parking available to students, but instead decreased it. I was actually unaware of how much of a problem parking on campus is until this morning. It took me half an hour to find a place, and then 10 minutes to catch and take the shuttle back to campus from East parking. Keep in mind I live on campus, at Matthews.

This familiar situation of students getting shafted is a common theme here at UCSD. To again paraphrase Marx, it is often the case that the ones producing do not reap the results of their own production. I know we at UCSD are nothing close to the toddlers working in the Nike factories in Southeast Asia, but the relative priorities of those in control of the capital remain the same. In this case, the capital is the university. Without us, UCSD is nothing. But we are held in the grips of capitalism. We have been brainwashed, whether the information is true or not, to seek education at the best university possible. Then we as students will obtain our degree and continue our quest to be upwardly mobile and continue to rise through the elitist classes of society.

It is interesting how many (vital word here: many, not all) of my Asian peers who have parents that are first-generation immigrants have adapted to American society so quickly and moved up the social classes so fast. Many of them have, intentionally or not, sold out to capitalism by becoming producers instead of critical thinkers. Funny how there is a disproportionate amount of whities at this school (including me) that are liberal arts majors and therefore nonconformists. Maybe we have lived in this country longer and our choice of major is a subconscious rebellion against capitalistic society. Or maybe I have been at UCSD too long and have been brainwashed to think that I should be a science major.

But to get back to my point. We, the students of UCSD, are the producers of the university; society is the consumer of our successful college because they continue to send their kids here. However, the regents own the capital, so although UCSD owes its existence to us, we continue to get shafted in administrative decisions such as those discussed in this article. Only in capitalism could nine people control nine large universities, and, through the camouflaging techniques of bureaucracy, frequently screw over those to whom they owe their jobs to and continue to keep the money rolling in. The regents know the system is too far developed to be changed dramatically. Scheiskopf! It’s a Catch-22!

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