June 13, 2017

Defense of Doctoral Dissertation: One of the primary purposes of higher education is to reproduce capitalism


A closer link to a capitalist growth economy makes higher education ecologically unsustainable in its present form.

In his doctoral dissertation Toni Ruuska examines the foundations of capitalism and argues that the capitalist market economy is in juxtaposition to the finite state of the planet Earth, with its finite natural resources. Instead of addressing the deteriorated state of ecosystems, social discourse is primarily focused on the analysis of economic trends and new opportunities for economic growth.

Although education is typically considered as a means to alleviate modern sustainability problems. Toni Ruuska, however, claims the opposite. ‘The kinds of societal structures to which higher education is linked, naturally influence both the objectives and outcomes of higher education. Therefore, the educational system operates on an ecologically unsustainable basis, as one of its primary purposes is to reproduce capitalism’, explains Ruuska.

The dissertation suggests that educational objectives should be set based on the limits of the planet and in accordance with social justice, while at the moment higher education seems to be just an instrument in the global economic competition.

The defense takes place on Fri 16.6 in the Main building (address: Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki, Finland), Nokia Hall, B200 (2nd floor), starting at 12 a.m. More information about the event here