On Neoliberalism 2/2
..as a necessary, conscious step towards creating the liberal utopia.
This is particularly nefarious because the old form of liberalism had been easily discredited by the horrors of the industrial revolution and gilded age.
Neoliberalism, on the other hand, takes the positivist, paternalistic tone of the neutral scientist, who tweaks an interest rate here, a tax rate there, and so forth, until he achieves the optimum economic results. It's a technocrat's wet dream.
But you cannot use legislation against basic free market values, by, say, negotiating the value (or existence) of private property.
And this consequently precludes the pursuit of social justice without consideration of economic impact; everything must consider the bottom line--all we do occurs in the market, reducing the world to a set of numbers and equations.
It's a particularly myopic, dreary intellectual framework that tends to suck the hope out of ppl--& narrow the range of acceptable politics.
On Neoliberalism 1/2
I see some folx define neoliberalism roughly as "free market, laissez-faire capitalism," but that's not quite what it is (that's a better description of classical liberalism).
Neoliberalism is somewhat different: the market is not a self-correcting, natural mechanism in it--it's a human construction that cannot exist without the government.
It must be tended to, private property must be protected, a gov't must coin a currency and manage its solvency, it must provide infrastructure, guarantee contracts, and so on.
Milton Friedman's ideas, for example, formed around gov't monetary policy and currency manipulation, and Hayek was adament that a powerful gov't should enforce/protect/secure the cultural tenets of liberalism such as private property and capital ownership--which, in turn, could not be subjected to the laws of man.
So whereas classical liberalism saw *any* government regulation as market interference, neoliberalism saw government "interference"...
Political Economy Reading Challenge
[Phase 1, reading 1: Pufendorf's chapter about value in 'The First Book on the Duty of Man and Citizen,' cont.]
Thirdly, Pufendorf does not yet have a concept of class struggle as such, but he does realize that buyers and sellers in general, but specifically also buyers and sellers of labor, contest the prices of goods (and specifically labor). He also notes that legal price determinations as a rule work out in favor of buyers of labor, i.e., employers. Thus, he implicitly recognizes the state's tendency to favor the bourgeoisie (although he would not put it like this himself, of course). Sadly, he just thinks of it as a special case of a general tendency to protect the interests of buyers over the interests of sellers.
Fourthly, there is a familiar point (repeated by Marx) about how coins came to be used as money. Pufendorf notes that the metals of which coins are made are durable and have properties that make them easily usable as money.
Political Economy Reading Challenge
[Phase 1, reading 1: Pufendorf's chapter about value in 'The First Book on the Duty of Man and Citizen']
This was a short but quite interesting read, mostly for historical reasons. A few things stood out to me:
Firstly, Pufendorf already makes the distinctions between use value, exchange value, and value, albeit by using a different and somewhat confusing terminology. He sometimes equivocates value and exchange value which he both calls 'value par excellence,' but in his lucid moments he does distinguish between them.
Secondly, without having any grasp of the coercive laws of markets, Pufendorf already sees clearly that markets severely limit the freedom of the buyers and sellers to set prices, since they are limited by legal and conventional price determinations. Pufendorf contrasts the unfreedom of markets with the freedom of simple bartering.
Political Economy Reading Challenge
EXPLANATION: I have made a political economy reading challenge for myself, consisting of four phases:
[Phase 1] Read capita selecta of classical political economy (Pufendorf, Locke, Rousseau, Smith, Mill, Ricardo)
[Phase 2] Read Marx's 'Theories of Surplus Value' while comparing his representations of classical political economy to the works read as part of phase 1, to see if his critiques are solid
[Phase 3] Read Grundrisse and Capital, vol. 1-3, to get a grasp of Marx's own theoretical contributions
[Phase 4] Read classical, neoclassical and Keynesian responses to Marxian economics and Marx's critique of classical political economy, to see whether and to what extent Marx has been intelligently critiqued
It is my intention to write updates about my readings regularly in a thread (of which this toot will be the first). This is mostly for my own sake, but maybe it will also be of interest to my followers who care about this stuff
Personal responsibility is suspect whenever it is advanced as a general social principle, or given a universally applicable form.
It is almost certainly going to be used as a means of repression, after all, since it tends to promote individual obligations to meet pre-given societal norms and standards.
And not even the Kantian solution, which is to make everyone individually responsible for formulating their own obligations, is tenable. Since it assumes (wrongly) that everyone is in fact capable of formulating their own obligations, and that those who are capable of it are not, in the very process of formulating their obligations, compromised by society already.
This leads me to believe that 'personal responsibility,' as a concept, cannot be used in social contexts at all. It is a fine thing to hold yourself accountable, and even to remind others of their commitments, but any substantive notion of personal responsibility has to be kept out of the discourse.
our solidarity must extend to
every person behind bars
every displaced person
every victim of imperialism
every family affected by the matrix of these three things
every person in ICE detention
every person facing deportation
every person growing up with gang and police violence all around them
every poor person
and every person who resides at the axes between these various oppressions
WE TAKE CARE OF THE WORLDS WE CONSTITUTE. WE FIGHT FOR EACH OTHER.
growing up, my dad would talk about the time he spent in California, and how (boomer voice) "everyone in California follows the leisure ethic!" He said that meant that they only worked as hard as they had to in order to have enough time & money to go have fun. he saw this as a bad thing.
fuck the Protestant work ethic yall, it's toxic as hell
Are you a fan of Neil Gaiman, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and/or Doctor Who? Do you like urban fantasy? Do you like stories about cool girls who kick ass?
Then you should check out my web serial, Rollerskater — currently on its second instalment with more forthcoming.
It's weird, violent and funny, and has been very well received. I hope you check it out!
(cw for graphic violence)
The political discourse about terror is very misleading, because it represents terror as an exception. But it is in fact the ruling principle of bourgeois society.
At every turn, people's sense of independence is undermined, and they are made to feel little by the rulers of this world. 'Freedom' is just the mistaken sense of independence of those who are not inflicted in this situation.
Class warfare, legal sanctions, and police terror are the order of the day as an always present threat, if not a lived reality. At the same time, a generalized fear-mongering is perpetrated by the institutions of the state, capital, and governmentality.
This is not a peaceful tranquility to which terror is an exception. This is a well-regimented social world, underpinned by a pervasive, civilized, and 'reasonable' terror.
Those schooled in the art of politics understand terror in this sense, not in the sense of a wild and incidental attack or lashing out, which is child's play by comparison.
Accepting the limitations of what you can accomplish is often, paradoxically, a precondition for accomplishing something. Far from being demotivating, it gives you a sense of proportion and priority. And it also helps you to not be so hard on yourself if you don't accomplish that which was impossible to accomplish to begin with.