The Ethics of Entrepreneurship and Financial Literacy Education: A Security and Freedom for the Other
Arthur, Chris Ross
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Financial literacy education (FLE) and entrepreneurship education (EE) are paradigmatic of the dominant response in education to precarious employment and increasing financial insecurity. Motivated by a conviction that governments, researchers, teachers, parents and businesses must empower individuals, particularly the most disadvantaged, to manage and even thrive in an increasingly competitive and unstable economic climate, FLE and EE advocates call for the reconstruction of economic practices, cultural narratives and education systems to create more knowledgeable and responsible individuals. The expansive and intensive aims of FLE and EE signal their public pedagogic character a term I borrow from Henry Giroux to stress that FLE and EE lessons are taught through various media texts (e.g. debt and investment television programs, policy documents, FLE and EE video games, soap operas, newspaper articles and apps), are embedded in supportive economic practices, laws and regulations and aim at creating a particular public that is both a conglomeration of financially literate entrepreneurs and a shared world. Drawing from Levinasian scholarship, Marxist theory, critical pedagogy and critical theory, I conduct a critical philosophical analysis of FLE and EE security and freedom narratives, examining the claim that FLE, EE and their attendant economic practices, laws and institutions will improve the economic security and freedom of many. I find that FLE and EE public pedagogues narratives despite claims that they are driven by a responsibility to improve the security and freedom of others betray a primary responsibility for the security and freedom of capital, which undermines others security and freedom. I conclude my analysis by outlining a critical FLE and EE public pedagogy that promotes a responsibility for the other and others, not capital.