Vote for your favourite public intellectuals

Back in 2005, the British magazine Prospect, in a joint project with Foreign Policy, asked its readers to vote on the top 100 public intellectuals. It set off a wave of local public intellectual lists. Now Prospect is seeing how our public intellectual tastes have changed with another vote. (At least one change the editors have decided on already – Naomi Klein who came 11th last time isn’t even on the 100 person short list.) Anyone can vote for up to five of their favourite intellectuals, plus offer a suggestion as to who the short list misses, with the poll closing on 15 May.

There were about 20 names on the short list I’d consider voting for, but for quite different reasons so it is hard to rank them. But here are my choices and why: Continue reading “Vote for your favourite public intellectuals”

The community corps and student debt, #2

I expanded on my arguments against reducing HECS-HELP debt in exchange for community service for the Higher Education Supplement on Wednesday, but I am yet to convince everyone I have spoken to about the idea.

My main objection is to the link between community service and student debt, since I disputed the synergies between the two. If taxapayers are going to support community service, they should try to recruit the best candidates for the available work, whether or not they have student debt.

Against this view, I was pointed to Andrew Leigh’s comments in his AFR column:

Each year, approximately 75,000 young Americans participate in AmeriCorps, and many continue to work with the community after their service year ends. Implemented here, a similar program might have practical benefits for underprivileged communities. But its ‘eye-opening’ benefits could be greater still – giving affluent suburban youth a chance to spend a year facing disadvantage in all its complexity. Continue reading “The community corps and student debt, #2”