Qualifications as documents that represent human qualities have become the currency for
bartering in such qualities. If these documents were to be based on more reliable empirical correspondence related to the genetic profile and measured competence of a person, would it not be possible to create a human resource or qualification exchange with its own DOW Jones, Nikkei or JSE? This essay uses Ricoeur's notion of '… Utopia as a major resource against closure' to reflect critically on this Orwellian notion. Although a qualification as a title, symbol, emblem or code is generally accepted as a representation of a person's knowledge, skills and or competence as it relates to the labour market, it should also be seen as crucial in determining one's allocation to positions of social status and power. The free market discourse, which according to Bourdieu, can be seen as an infernal machine whose necessity imposes itself even upon the rulers, sanctify the power of markets in the name of economic efficiency. After arguing the powerful reality of the discourse of the free market in shaping our understanding and the role of qualifications in a global economy, the Orwellian notion of a human resource exchange is explored. The concluding paragraph constitutes a plea for codifying our scepticism about the consequences of the quest for maximising individual profit. There is a limit to the flexibility of human beings' ability to adapt and continuously mutate according to the performativity demands of the free market. Universities should not be seduced into merely equipping people with competitive competence. It is also imperative to interrogate social discourses that corrode an interrelated global democratic future.