Tuesday, January 29, 2008

And Somewhere, Elaine Chao Smiles

Every time I think our corpocracy and our wonderful global economy can’t possibly concoct something more outrageous than their latest travesty (and by now, I should know not to think that anyway), along comes a news story such as this one about Gordon Brown, the prime minister of Great Britain, advocating a “skills initiative” that would allow employers such as McDonald’s to give their employees “takeaway diplomas and ‘McDegrees’.”

"I think that is the important thing, companies prepared to train people up which they weren’t doing before, in the way that we want them to do, in a far greater number, so that people have the qualifications for the future.”

Officials say that McDonald's, which has more than 1,000 outlets across Britain, is to pilot a basic shift manager course, which will train staff in areas like marketing, human resources and customer service skills. The company has run its 'Hamburger University' in Chicago, which turns out more than 5,000 graduates a year, since 1961.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, a regulatory body which overseas the national curriculum in England and Wales and accredits qualifications, has also approved two other organisations, the first time commercial companies have been allowed to award nationally recognised qualifications.
Now granted, I don’t know the first thing about higher education in Great Britain, but doesn’t it sound like there’s a bit of overreach going on when a large multinational like Mickey D’s can claim to provide a “takeaway diploma,” as opposed Brown’s government providing greater opportunities for students to attend legitimate educational institutions? I mean, do you really think the home of Ronald McDonald is going to care about offering instruction in the humanities and social sciences while also teaching its charges how to empty and clean out the fry vats? Please.

And by the way, speaking of Hamburger University (and yes, there really is such a place, and it’s a big deal), I once read a good book about it (more info is here).

Well, with all of this in mind, I thought, why, if our friends “across the pond” can offer what passes for higher education through companies doing business in their country, why can’t we do that here?

So, here are my ideas for course instruction that could be offered by some of our most visible “corporate citizens”…


Using Political Campaign Contributions To Thwart Litigation On Behalf Of Victims Hurt Or Killed By Your Company’s Practices (

Instructor: D. Cheney


Perpetuating Global Warming Deniability (

Instructor: L. Raymond


Providing Increasingly Obsolete Cable TV And Internet Service While Secretly Perpetuating Regional War In The Middle East (

Instructor: E. Snider


Developing Mal-ware Disguised As An Internet Browser As You Preach About Giving More Aid To Third-World Countries (
here and here).

Instructor: B. Gates

General Electric

Trashing The Environment For Fun And Profit (

Instructor: J. Welch


Inflating A Company’s Worth Purely For Potential Acquisition Purposes, Seeing As How It’s Not Achieving Profitability By Actually Manufacturing A Product (
here and here)

Instructor: M. Blumenthal
I mean, we should provide training for our students that reflects what they’ll be dealing with in our country’s “corporate culture”…am I right?

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