“Joined Up” Thinking: Neo-liberalism’s Answer To Unemployment

It appears that the “axis of good” (the US, the UK and Australia) have solved the problems of increasing unemployment for young people by a dynamic two-pronged attack. For graduates or gap year students (gap year keeps them off the graduate unemployment list for an extra year and costs taxpayers nothing) there is the exciting world of TEFL. Working conditions and pay may be terrible but these young people can travel around the world, gain “valuable experience” for their later careers and help create a modern democratic world linked up by a common language.

The problem is what to do with those who don’t “make the grade”; especially given that recent cuts in university  and further education funding mean more people don’t “make the grade”. And it is here that all three countries appear to be making a special effort to provide similar opportunities for those less fortunate than your average TEFL adventurer. In fact, all three countries (the US, the UK and Australia) are making a special effort to get around the schools and colleges to promote careers in the military. The British Prime Minister is even encouraging children to be taught how to use firearms (does he not realise they might turn round and use them on him and his banker friends one day?) and the Ministry of Defence are preparing lessons about the Iraq War to be taught in schools to help pupils understand the “real role” of the military. The purpose is clearly to find new recruits willing to travel to Iraq, Afghanistan and maybe Iran. Like TEFL adventurers, in their temporary jobs, new recruits can escape the recession, “see the world”, and help create a modern democratic world linked up by a common language. The pay and training are marginally better than TEFL, but the working conditions are considerably more hazardous.

Our thanks to Lenin’s Tomb, who alerted us to this story.



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3 responses to ““Joined Up” Thinking: Neo-liberalism’s Answer To Unemployment

  1. Pingback: To Whom It May Concern « Marxist TEFL Group

  2. The image says it all really doesn’t it? A suitably aryan looking (presumably) native speaker standing over the globe selecting where to go first. Easy to undertand why ELT stands accused of being a new form of imperialism (ala Phillipson). And never was that truer when examining the aims and objectives of using English as a tool of so-called ‘democracy’. I thank my lucky stars that English is also a language through which some of the anti-capitalist movement communicates to provide an antidote to that distorted way of thinking. Neo-liberalism, as you point out, no doubt celebrates the fusion of the military ‘role’ and the English language. Reminds me of a documentary I saw about groups of parents trying to resist the army recruitment service going round schools in poor areas in the USA. They were very effective in preventing this from happening as they realised that their kids, who were told by the very same recruiters they had no future, were the next group of cannon fodder to be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Nice post Marxistelf.

  3. marxistelf

    Hi Sara,
    Would love to find a link on stories about that resistance in the US but can’t. Here is a link to Nottingham Stop the War distributing anti-recruitment literature outside schools

    The question is, when are we, as teachers, going to seriously deal with the propaganda of English First and other recruitment agencies, who sell the TEFL Adventure rubbish on campuses, or bombard national newspapers with their advertorials?

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