On retirement and other matters

A slightly more personal post than usual these days. A little over a week ago, I retired. It was an early retirement, since I am not quite yet 59, which is the average age of retirement age in Australia. I have worked for the last 11 years at the University of Newcastle in Australia, although I only ever had one foot in the door since I worked at no more than 50 percent. I must admit that I feel incredibly good about retiring.

Why? The negative side is that universities in Australia – like most universities that claim a heritage from the ‘Western’ liberal tradition – are in a spiral of decline. Governments keep cutting funding in the vain belief that the US model is the one to which one should aspire, so periodic ‘restructuring’ is the order of the day. It goes without saying that ‘restructuring’ is a euphemism for cutting costs and thus positions. For example, I recently witnessed the University of Newcastle axe whole disciplines, such as philosophy, (Western) classics and religion. Given that my training was in precisely in these areas, I felt somewhat alone.

But the negative reasons for retiring are a relatively minor matter. They can continue their downward spiral and lose international pretige and – increasingly important for the bottom line – international students. On a distinctly more positive note, I have been engaged in China for some years now. I first came to China in 2007, but for the last six years or more I have been engaged more closely with a few universities, initially in Beijing and more recently elsewhere.

I have experienced at first hand not only how central Marxism is to the Chinese project, but also the incredible level of work and innovation, forging ahead to continue to build the new China.

So what do I do with all this inspiration from the Chinese experience? I am trying to put all of this in ways that non-Chinese people who are interested in a rapidly changing world can understand. In this light, I am reshaping this blog so that it provides more information for those who are interested, including relevant downloads from my recent (last ten years) of publications.

9 thoughts on “On retirement and other matters

  1. Congratulations on your retirement, Roland. I retired the week after my 60th birthday, and it was undoubtedly one of my better decisions not to carry on until I was 65.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Thanks Pete. Sounds like we have done so at about the same time. I am also a country boy, having grown up in ‘the bush’, as we say, so these days prefer to live in country areas (my wife is from Denmark, so we also spend more and more time in southern Jutland as well).

  2. And as for me, it took me about 20 years to join the Communist Party of Australia, but finally did so as last as preparation for retirement. Now I should have some time to devote myself to working for the local branch.

  3. Dear Mr. Boer,

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your work. I am a young german Marxist and I am struggling to really understand “socialism in power”. Your blog helps me a lot and I also enjoyed your book about Stalin very much. All your articles concerning China are very instructive and in times like these, when there is so much anti-China propaganda in the news, it helps to evaluate things better.
    I can also understand the problems with working at a western university (I studied philosophy but couldn’t start to work at university because of all the restrictions and cutbacks), so I really hope, you find the time now in your retirement to work more on China and the projects you really want to pursue.

    With kind regards,
    Marc.

    1. Dear Marc, many thanks for your kind words. In regard to the negative depictions of China’s socialist project, these appear in only a relatively small number – perhaps 15 – of countries in the world, but they are the ones who have been used to setting the global agenda until now. That situation is fading fast. One of the advantages of being in other parts of the world is that you find the majority are very favourably disposed towards China.

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