Mark C. Taylor is at it again, proposing more non-solutions to haphazard diagnoses about the state of academia in the 21st century. Most recently, he bemoans the financial straits that many schools are encountering without much more than the idiotic suggestion that universities continue to gut teaching to save money.
Taylor seems fundamentally unable to grasp the political failure at the heart of the problem, unless, of course, the whole point of his argument is that the crisis of the university is a brute fact that cannot be changed but must be accepted. In this case, his apocalyptic vision of the collapse of the world of higher education today is mere pretense to whatever solution he affects to have, condensed in the misguided slogan of the 'intellectual and financial liquidity.'
But Taylor probably grasps the true political problem of academia, and nevertheless remains opportunistic enough to ignore it. The true problem is the capture of the university by capital, that is, the relentless drive to privatize the university and make it another domain of profit, rather than public education. The problem, then, is not a failure of management (even if many administrations have been doing a poor job at fighting the symptoms of the problem), but a political failure, specifically, the lack of political will to maintain accessible education for a changing student demographic. Part of this is symptomatic of the last three decades of neoliberalism, and part, I think, is due to the professorial labor aristocracy (yes, I just said that!) circling the wagons and protecting what it has, consequences for the junior and precarious faculty be damned.