Social and Cultural Geography Research Group Statement on Tuition Fees

The committee of the Social and Cultural Geography Research Group (RGS-IBG) would like to express their personal support for the geographers and other students who have sought to open up creative spaces to challenge the inevitability of such rapid and deep public spending cuts in higher education.  Our position is that creative, innovative thinking is critical to social and ecological justice, and the stripping away of the intellectual capacity of higher education, through the removal of public funding for teaching and its replacement with a market for students and for knowledge, is detrimental to the achievement of more equitable ways of thinking and living.

“To illustrate the importance of knowledge sharing, I would like to tell you a little lesson in economics: I have a block of butter, and you have three Euros.  If we proceed to do a transaction, you will, in the end, have a block of butter, and I will have three Euros.  We are dealing with a zero sum game: nothing happens from this exchange.  But in the exchange of knowledge, during teaching, the game is not one of zero sum as more parties profit from the exchange: if you know a theorem and teach it to me, at the end of the exchange, we both know it.  In this knowledge exchange there is no equilibrium at all, but a terrific growth which economics does not know.  Teachings are the bearers of an unbelievable treasure – knowledge – which multiplies and is the treasure of all humanity.” (Michel Serres).

Our thanks to Angela Last for the quote and translation.  We welcome postings of further links and comments.