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Equality through Knowledge

Ari Appel

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“Over a long period of time, the main force in favor of greater equality has been the diffusion of knowledge and skills.” ––Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the most thorough economic study of the history of inequality ever conducted.

I am deeply interested in language, but I don’t have a clue about linguistics. Yesterday, I set out to read the abstract of a recent publication in a linguistics journal. I was committed, but it would have taken me hours at the library to learn the very basics all the terms necessary to understand it. One could say it was my fault for not starting with something easier, but even the most esoteric facts and texts should be accessible to anyone, in the way that they are both written and distributed. Otherwise, we have institutionalized an epistemology, or a system of requisites for what is considered “knowledge,” that a majority of the population is being prevented from understanding.

There would be no need for pedantic journals and money-vampire publishing companies if internet advertising were exploited for the profit of intellectuals. Then, there would be a financial incentive to write in a widely intelligible way. As it is now, why speak, if to no audience, or at least a very limited one? It is rather solipsistic.

And, when was the last time anyone has said esoteric, pedantic or solipsistic? Call me a conspiracy theory guy, but I say academics have found a way to lure their own insults out of the common vocabulary.

Listed below is some additional reading, mostly in code. The links should redirect to full articles, but only after you put in your Whitman password (of course).

a good overview of Marxist epistemologies

economics

the business side of things

on patriarchal epistemologies

in US history

activism: (1)(2)

 

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Whitman news since 1896
Equality through Knowledge