David Garcia on Mon, 25 Apr 2016 17:04:42 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Guardian > Monbiot > Neoliberalism -- the ideology at

> Now, you can respond like the Regulation school or even Deleuze and Guattari, and say that capitalism continually changes certain axiomatic propositions, in order that its major principle of endless accumulation through labor exploitation can continue. That's what I think. But such a statement still demands that one understand each new bundle of axioms, with its inner variations and their political origins, as well as their specific consequences. I don't see any other way to confront neoliberalism. 

Thank you Brian.. 

Neo-liberalism’s Version of Original Sin- 
(-Sing of human unsuccess in a rapture of distress…- WH Auden)

Brian Holmes’s challenge to us to better understand the theoretical foundations of neoliberlism has clearly touched a nerve (as Brian often does). I hope that this is not a distraction from the spirit of his challenge to connect the political economy and its evolving statist infrastructure to the distinctive neoliberal psychology with its vision of what constitutes a successful (as well as frequently unsuccessful) human subject. 

The sense of urgency propelling the discussions on the list and can be attributed to the stubourn persistence of one compelling and inescapable question: -Why has the financial crash and the -great recession- failed to dethrone neoliberalism?-. [A supplementary question might be why, of the many uprisings we have witnessed in recent years, has nothing surpassed in effectiveness, of revolutions that transformed the Eastern block in 1989 ?] 

I want to argue that part of the answer to at least to the first of these questions is that long ago neo-liberalism won one of the most the most important battle of all; the battle for the social mind. And the left has yet to regain the lost ground. 

It was a victory based on the progressive emergence of a distinctively neo-liberal political subject whom Foucault has characterised as the "entrepreneur of the self”.  It is a subject arising as an epiphenomenon of neoliberalism's foundational myth of the market as vast and infallible -global information processor-, sitting outside of politics, a processor faster and more powerful than any human being or organisation, rendering all attempts at planning and political contestation futile as no human mind can know what the market knows (You can’t buck the market. M Thatcher). 

This is a world in which the state has one primary function, to facilitate strong markets. Neo-liberalism has not been dethroned in part because all of us have, in varying degrees, internalised this new eschatology, in which winners and losers replace sin and the redemption. We are locked into a logic that requires us to tirelessly transform ourselves into -entrepreneurs of the self- 

Why? Because in the neo-liberal version of original sin we are all (when compared to the market) flawed thinkers and our only hope is continuous transformation in a timely response to discrete wafers of market truth. Moreover in the sharing economy the one thing we must not share is failure. Every failure is solitary. It is mine and mine alone. Whatever happens its my fault. The entrepeneurial self by definition takes total responsibility, as we struggle to adapt to volatile market conditions.  This is one reason why we struggle to retain the momentum of resistance to neo-liberalism because we are locked into a new and uniquely solipsistic version of original sin. 


d a v i d  g a r c i a

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