By: Uri Ram [ ::: The Region ::: ]
Monday, March 05, 2007
There are three important reasons to establish a college for socioeconomic sciences that would become a center for research and study. These reasons are: the state of society, the academic situation, and the financial situation. Israeli society alone among the Western, democratic world is witnessing increasing class inequality. It is second after the United States in social inequities. The state of Israel —the welfare state—is under fire and is unraveling. The ironic pre-modern logic evident in the saying “If there's no bread, then let them eat cake” is being replaced by an ironic postmodern logic that says, “The poor also have the right to DVDs.” The rich belong to the bright life of the global elite, while the rest of society stands on the edge of the abyss where the Third World lives.
The state of Israel is witnessing the rise of an apartheid regime the likes of which has not been seen since the fall of apartheid in South Africa . More than 3.5 million Palestinians have been living for the past four decades under an oppressive occupation, in the best case living a life behind fences, wires, and concrete. The torture and murder of Palestinians has become regular news, and the shameful exploitation—under the protection of the law—of foreign workers and trafficked women has become a new tradition. The new liberal social order and the new
colonialist political order in Israel are living side by side as part of the new world order which has been crystallizing since September 11, 2001.
Thus, the first advantage of a college of socioeconomic sciences, in my understanding is to teach both students and the teachers how to use critical, scientific methods to understand this reality.
* The author is a professor of behavioral science at Ben-Gurion University . This article is a part of a speech he gave during the inauguration of the College of Socioeconomic Sciences at Tel Aviv University. source: www.hagada.org.il.