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23rd May 2018

Roger Brown, Solent’s former Vice-Chancellor, joined us for another poignant guest lecture, entitled ‘Everything for sale? Neoliberalism, marketisation and higher education’.

In his lecture, Roger explored the five key strands of neoliberalism: the belief in deregulation, privatisation, reduction of taxes, welfare provision, and controlling inflation. He continued to explore the history of these policies, following their application from Chile to America and the UK.

Roger then examined the impact of neoliberalism on both higher education and wider society. He suggested that, as a result of neoliberalism, there has been a huge transfer of wealth from the lower and middle classes, towards the top one per cent of the country. These have then have economic consequences, including under consumption and threats to democratic politics.

Roger stated: “In my view, Brexit and Trump are the almost inevitable outcome of the neoliberal reforms begun by Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.” He then linked all of this to higher education, sharing his findings that marketisation had helped to make universities across the globe more efficient, and more responsive to students and other stakeholders.

Roger then suggested some ways to move forward from this, such as the creating a new body of theory to reject neoliberalism, and provide an alternative vision for higher education.

Watch the full lecture