From Penn State to JPMorgan Chase and Barclays: Destroying Higher Education, Savaging Children and Extinguishing Democracy

In this article, Henry A. Giroux poses the question: What can we learn about the nature of our society from the Penn State child abuse scandal? By analyzing the scandal in a broader context, Giroux suggests that the use of violence and abuse against society’s most vulnerable has been institutionalized in the United States, and at least in part enabled through the power wielded by a financial and corporate elite. The Penn State scandal is symptomatic not only of the specific failure of a market-driven university leadership that chose profits over the protection of children, but of the general failure of U.S. democratic culture to propagate an ethics of social responsiblity and accountability. In fact, the state seems increasingly to sanction the targeting of poor minority youth as objects of unending surveillance and punishment, while a justice system turns away from prosecuting the rich and powerful white-collar criminals who have shredded the economic and social fabric of American society.

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