Satire: Assigned research will level pay disparities between professors

There is a great and shameful disparity in pay among assistant professors and full-time professors. The promotion system in the humanities is inherently flawed. It rewards certain professors with greater wealth and prestige who produce more and better research, while it tramples all others. The laissez-faire status quo in humanities research rewards the “haves” at the expense of the “have-nots.” It is a grindingly oppressive culture that must be regulated to ensure fairness.

Thank heavens for the military-industrial complex! If it were not for that institution, free-market demands would still determine what kinds of research projects are pursued in the sciences. But, because of billions in grant money for war-making, research in the sciences is largely directed by government, taming the chaos of freedom in research. However, since most professors in the humanities do not rely on grants, they are free to research without government restraint. We need a military-industrial complex for the humanities.

I propose we create the Central Research Bureaucracy (CRB). The CRB will regulate journals to ensure that all academics publish the same amount of research and that the quality of their research does not create imbalances in the rank or prestige of professors. The CRB will assign research projects to professors to ensure fairness. Professors will not be permitted to create research without assignment from the CRB. In order to ensure compliance, professors will have to obtain a license from the bureaucracy to teach and do research. This will ensure compliance from professors, since they will have their licenses revoked for pursuing projects of their own choosing.

A centralized system should also be more efficient than the current free-market approach to research. Central economic planning has been perfected. Waste and political influence have been completely removed from bureaucratic decision making. CRB will not allow professors to waste time writing articles that are of no worth to society. They can spend their extra time in activities that can more directly alleviate conditions of poverty, such as tutoring underprivileged students or volunteering with nonprofit companies.

I imagine humanities professors will trot out the same tiresome free-market ideas they have promoted for centuries. They will say that research should not be guided by political interests, or that professors will create more and better research if they are free to choose what to research. They will also levy the absurd claim that free markets are apt to give the fields the kinds of research that they value and feel will advance knowledge. This is utter nonsense. By allowing humanities journals the freedom to choose what kinds of articles they will publish and who writes them, professors have created yet another Social Darwinist meritocracy where those who are capable of producing more quality research thrive by extorting those who cannot. It’s time for a new and fair future for all academics. It’s time for humanities professors to abandon their free-market dogma.

Matt Palmer is a rhetoric and composition graduate student from Phoenix.