Aleksandr Auzan1
  • 1 Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1 Leninskiye Gory St., Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

University Mission: An Economist’s Perspective

2013. No. 3. P. 266–286 [issue contents]

Aleksandr Auzan, Ph.D. in Economics, Professor, Incumbent Dean of Economic Faculty at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation, member of the Presidential Economic Council.  Email: auzan@mail.econ.msu.ru
Address: 1 Leninskiye Gory St., Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation.                                     

Historical traditions of understanding the university mission are traced. Particular emphasis is placed on the neoclassical university model created by Humboldt, which is explored in the context of some paradoxes observed by Ortega y Gasset and related to university functions. The author comes to a conclusion that universities do not produce exclusively the private good of capitalized knowledge that can be sold, as Smith believed. Neither do they produce exclusively the socially important good in the form of skills of future specialists in order to provide a required set of professions, as it was in the educational system established by Napoleon. Universities also provide a universal public good of creating and promoting culture.

Auzan examines social effects and social risks of higher education associated with universities producing middle class population. From his point of view, it is no use shutting down weak universities that do not produce highly-skilled professionals, as they perform an important social function. Alternative solutions are proposed to reduce social risks of higher education, including solutions involving a hierarchical expansion of educational system. The country wins from developing middle class population, which brings certain stability. At the same time, it is underlined that the best possible rate and vector of development can only be provided by the educational sector producing a competitive human capital.

The author takes Lomonosov Moscow State University as a model of a successful university and proposes a program for its efficient development in compliance with the theory described in his paper.

Citation: Auzan A. (2013) Missiya universiteta: vzglyad ekonomista [University Mission: An Economist’s Perspective]. Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no3, pp. 266-286.