Archives For people before profit

Astute assessments about the West’s dangerous over-dependency on China have been present in news feeds for weeks. As many financial sections of mainstream media will attest to, concerns over products and services, have alerted people, and corporations to an addiction that few, outside China’s industrial matrix, could see before the tragedy of Wuhan.

Setting aside any questionable theories about the ruling Communist regime, and their possible entrapment, the dependency is alarming. Many Western companies have either willingly, or through unbalanced quid-pro-quo deals, positioned themselves so heavily in China, that if China falls, so will they. Many appear to have fallen victim to the folly of placing every egg in one industrial basket. With the Wuhan tragedy and the outbreak of the Coronavirus, gold-fever in China has come to a spine jarring halt, replaced with a fever of a more deadly kind.

Western companies aren’t the only ones waking up to what looks a lot like a co-dependent relationship, with the Chinese political elite holding the balance of power. Australian Unis are losing money because of a high dependency on Chinese student enrolments. So they’re side-stepping Scott Morrison’s travel ban by using a loop-hole, providing grants of up to $7,500 for Chinese students to use a third-party country to enter Australia. However, according to a report in The Australian, some of those students are ignoring quarantine guidelines & are cashing in on an exotic holiday instead.

While it’s not up to us to tell someone how to spend money they’ve been gifted, it is up to us to question how Australian Universities can justify inviting potential economic disaster, in the hopes of avoiding what they see as a potential economic disaster.

As with many co-dependent relationships, when the person with the power breaks away, threatens to, or is removed, anxiety, irrational behavior, insecurity, sometimes violence and panic manifest itself in the person who had little to no power in that relationship.

Australian universities side-stepping Morrison’s travel ban, looks more like irrational self-sabotage or self-harm; raising questions about whether this behavior confirms that a toxic co-dependency between China and the academy in Australia exists. Has the impact of the travel ban, or to be more precise, the Coronavirus, thrown Australian Universities so far off, that they’re now operating like the powerless person in a co-dependent relationship?

If not, then the only possible explanation for such recklessness is greed, and desperation because of an addiction to China that threatens the lifeblood of these institutions, perhaps even more than the virus itself. Side-stepping the travel ban is a band-aid, quick-fix, which risks creating a greater financial disaster should that virus shutdown the academy and the cities those institutions are located in.

In sum,

1. It could be said, that Australian universities side-stepping travel ban are potentially paying to import the coronavirus.

2. Australian universities who give Chinese Uni Students, up to $7,500 in grants, in order to side step the travel ban, are being mocked by students, who are using those funds for an exotic holiday, ignoring quarantine guidelines.

3. Those Universities could wind up financially worse off, if the Coronavirus Spreads around campuses, creating a financial disaster in an attempt to avoid a financial disaster.

4. Australian Unis who are far too dependent on Chinese student enrollments. Thus raising questions about the relationship between China – as hinted at by ASIO last week – and the Academy in Australia.

Far be it for me to condemn the chancellors running our higher institutions of learning. After all, they have my respect. I’ve graced their ancient hallways, and benefited from their tertiary wisdom. I love the academy, but find myself drawing closer and closer towards Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s conclusion, as the institution was being overrun by totalitarianism, ‘I can no longer believe in the University. In fact I never really believed in it.’[i]

It’s true that Universities are businesses, and they need to be free to balance services, and product with profit. However, for our places of higher learning to recklessly undermine a travel ban, and the protections it offers to their institutions and customers (including those Chinese students who were already here) is negligence. They are abdicating responsibility for the health and welfare of current students in order to feed a financial addiction that is in need of an intervention, not a band-aid that props up their bottom line.

Regardless of whether the motivator is greed, pride, wokeness or desperation, such recklessness from the academy poses a greater threat to the academy than the travel ban does.

Don’t let the claims that this side-stepping is a fight against racism, and xenophobia. Even if it was, it’d still look like they’re trying to keep their stats high on China’s oppressive C.C.P social credit score, than fighting the imagined oppression of Morrison’s responsible travel ban. Make no mistake, universities who are side-stepping the Coronavirus ban aren’t putting people before profit, they’re putting profit before people.


References (not otherwise linked):

[i] Bonhoeffer, D. London, 1933-1935, DBWE 13, p.217

First published on Caldron Pool, 4th March, 2020

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

©Rod lampard, 2020