THE CLOSED CORPORATION by James Ridgeway

THE CLOSED CORPORATION

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Ridgeway contends that the university is central to industrial activities and has itself become an industry of a special kind, with a self-conception as a ""new-style investment trust,"" run in camera by self-perpetuating elites. Not student dissenters but ""the triangular power system"" of government, business and universities has despoiled our havens of independent thought. The manifold documentation which makes Ridgeway's magazine articles outstanding backs up his views: leasebacks, interlocking board memberships, other conflicts of interest including patent-holding universities who lobby to keep drug prices high. One wishes he had substituted for some of his invective a further exploration of structural issues. Professors have become entrepreneurs, he says, who help manufacturers suppress automotive-defect findings, help the government squelch reports on agricultural workers' exploitation, help the military with secret, hardly ""value-neutral"" research. They ""don't care who runs their factory or how""; meanwhile the University of Chicago serves as ""handmaiden to (Daley's) South Side machine,"" Columbia is ""constructing an armed camp with public funds,"" both have Olympian real-estate control. This leads to the theme of Ridgeway's recommendations: since the universities thrive on public money (private Columbia gets 50% of its income from the government) they should be responsible to public rather than private interests. An inflammatory, very impressive case which will be read by a great many students, and also elders who want to understand the grounds of student protest.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 1968
Publisher: Random House