Schumpeter and the corporate
Montessori sleight of hand

Reading the Schumpeter column in the latest Economist (possibly restricted content) had me rifling through my dim recollections of once having attended the Montessori-like Rudolf Steiner Schule in Munich, nowadays also known as the Waldorf Rudolf Steiner Schule (where Schule just means school).

Rudolf Steiner, ca 1905.
Rudolf Steiner, ca 1905.

Unlike Schumpeter’s implied assumptions about some kind of kumbaya-kind of hippie love-in, my recollection is of a much more disciplined approach somewhat antithetical to the anything-goes hippie philosophy that Schumpeter seems to snipe at contemptuously here and there in the column.

My days at Rudolf Steiner included being kept in the same physical classroom for most of my lessons, not as an exercise in open plan chaos, but to emphasise the notion that separate disciplines of knowledge are nevertheless interrelated – art, history, languages, sciences – to produce a well-rounded individual. In my case I must have been a distinct disappointment to my teachers because even then I was never going to be the model of the redoubtable Christian man Rudolf Steiner had in mind. I do think, though, that my ideas about the desirability of education aiming at facilitating the development of a well-rounded person who has not just technocratic grasp of skills, but insight and wisdom about knowledge, balanced by an ethical dimension, and at least respect for the idea of duty and honour as well as rights and entitlements, might all have originated at that school. Or at least in that era. And my subsequent brutalisation by the masters and some of the boys in the English schools I attended didn’t quite succeed in beating those ideas out of me.

In contrast, it seems, the principally North American examples cited by Schumpeter have far less to do with encouraging ethics, honour or duty, and much more to do with promoting an aggressive, anything-goes culture of exploitative, extractive, and ultimately nihilistically self-destructive capitalism. If that is a symbol of anything ‘progressive’, the meaning of that term has changed in my lifetime, and left me behind.

Continue reading “Schumpeter and the corporate
Montessori sleight of hand”

Schumpeter and the corporateMontessori sleight of hand

Reading the Schumpeter column in the latest Economist (possibly restricted content) had me rifling through my dim recollections of once having attended the Montessori-like Rudolf Steiner Schule in Munich, nowadays also known as the Waldorf Rudolf Steiner Schule (where Schule just means school).

Rudolf Steiner, ca 1905.
Rudolf Steiner, ca 1905.

Unlike Schumpeter’s implied assumptions about some kind of kumbaya-kind of hippie love-in, my recollection is of a much more disciplined approach somewhat antithetical to the anything-goes hippie philosophy that Schumpeter seems to snipe at contemptuously here and there in the column.

My days at Rudolf Steiner included being kept in the same physical classroom for most of my lessons, not as an exercise in open plan chaos, but to emphasise the notion that separate disciplines of knowledge are nevertheless interrelated – art, history, languages, sciences – to produce a well-rounded individual. In my case I must have been a distinct disappointment to my teachers because even then I was never going to be the model of the redoubtable Christian man Rudolf Steiner had in mind. I do think, though, that my ideas about the desirability of education aiming at facilitating the development of a well-rounded person who has not just technocratic grasp of skills, but insight and wisdom about knowledge, balanced by an ethical dimension, and at least respect for the idea of duty and honour as well as rights and entitlements, might all have originated at that school. Or at least in that era. And my subsequent brutalisation by the masters and some of the boys in the English schools I attended didn’t quite succeed in beating those ideas out of me.

In contrast, it seems, the principally North American examples cited by Schumpeter have far less to do with encouraging ethics, honour or duty, and much more to do with promoting an aggressive, anything-goes culture of exploitative, extractive, and ultimately nihilistically self-destructive capitalism. If that is a symbol of anything ‘progressive’, the meaning of that term has changed in my lifetime, and left me behind.

Continue reading “Schumpeter and the corporateMontessori sleight of hand”