Save VET – A community service model of vocational education and training

A so called “open market” puts the needs of companies above the needs of consumers. However, the lack of ideal conditions makes the open market mechanism ineffective. The perfect conditions required are possible only in theory not in practice.

A community service delivery model relates to the range of services the System might deliver to the community and how things are organised to deliver those services to the benefit of most, not a few.

The current laser focus on profits and profiteering is threatening the very underpinnings and viability of voc. ed. and training in Australia. Fortunately, not everyone ascribes to the winner takes all philosophy. Germany, for example, has taken a much more circumspect approach. Over the last 25 years, the social market economy has offered a genuine alternative to the Anglo-centric infatuation with neo-liberalisation.

Reunification provided Germany with a real-life experiment in the balancing of social and economic goals; and Enquete Commission’s study on growth, prosperity and quality of life provides a genuine desire to engage in alternative visions of social progress. See: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40309-014-0058-1

What is fast emerging is the alternative to neoliberalism called a commons based economy. This encompasses peer to peer, social sharing, collaborative consumption, commons, and economic democracy. These are all terms that cover economic activity that moves beyond the “market and the state”, based on co-operation and harnessing human creativity.

The commons economy moves us beyond commodification, marketisation and privatisation. Goods are produced because they are useful and beautiful, not just to generate cash for a few.

Capitalism is known to generate artificial scarcity – through propaganda, marketing and commodification – to keep everyone insecure, working hard for dubious future gains and over-consuming to benefit a few. That is a standard technique of neoliberalism and capitalism – e.g., defund and make TAFE (public education) unworkable and hand it over to the profiteering, commodifying models of privatisation under the guise of “efficiency” and “effectiveness”, however, completely to the disadvantage of students, employers and communities.

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