Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Neoliberalism's Textured History

This look into the history of Neoliberalism (as a review of the Book "GLOBALISTS: THE END OF EMPIRE AND THE BIRTH OF NEOLIBERALISM" by Quinn Slobodian) is well worth the read. Especially as it notes that we may well owe the fact that "...When capital has more freedom than people, serious democratic deficits are guaranteed..." (from the article J.V.) to the Geneva School of Neoliberalism:
"...Slobodian focuses instead purely on the central European strand of neoliberalism—what he calls the “Geneva school”— which gained relevance through a different institutional path. Turning to the law, this school pursued bilateral trade agreements and international accords granting the power to enforce contracts, to keep trade open, and to prevent the seizure of property by states—mechanisms that could protect property from democracy and extend the power of capital. They influenced the structure of the European Economic Community of 1957, the renegotiation of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade during the 1970s, and the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995. Slobodian’s argument relies less than MacLean’s on revealing a dark-money conspiracy and is more attuned to the shifting interests that created the trade regimes of a more neoliberal world.
The current rules all but ensure that governments act in the interests of capital, since, if businesses do not like a certain country’s policies (say, a proposal that corporations pay their fair share of taxes), they can disrupt the economy by abruptly withdrawing from that country. Preserving the rights of capital is the goal, even when that means sacrificing democratic demands. That is why our world is a more neoliberal one than it once was, and why it matters. However fractious and internally contradictory neoliberal thought may be, and however overused it can be as a term, it is describing something real..."
Does all of this really matter now? Well, of course it does in the sense of it helping to show how we got where we are now, but going forward?

What I believe to be true is that, just as Harold Innis, and Marshall McLuhan, made clear, great changes in the major means by which we interassociate, or communicate if you will, as well as store and retrieve experience, cannot help but have, and require, great changes in social structure. And now that instrumentality, on almost all levels, has changed so much, precisely because of competitive pressures to know how to do more, with less effort, we must face the fact that a process model based on what instrumentality was hundreds of years ago just does not apply any more. We do not need to stay with the economics of scarcity inherent 200 years ago. We have the technical means now to move away from commercialized specialization to whatever we can imagine; whatever we can imagine that both makes practical sense, as well as just feels right. We just have to accept that Capitalism, as an operating model, no longer makes any sense at all (because what we need now is a whole lot more meaning in what we do, and a whole lot more involvement in depth for all citizens, because this is what holistic thinking, within complex systems, demands).

Worlds Apart

See Also:

For three years, Suri Crowe worked for a TV station owned by Sinclair. She clashed with management — including over stories about climate change and guns.


We've left it up to the machines. And now they're turning us into paper clips.