All things being equal, when face with a choice between a system that benefits only a select few while generating poverty, lack of freedom, suffering, exploitation, and war for the rest, versus social formations that allow many to organize and create better working conditions for themselves, a better standard of living, more services, more freedom, more control over one’s existence, etc., the second choice is a no brainer.
The second choice is in my self-interest, while the first choice is not. Unless I harbor a fantasy like Joe the Plumber, believing that somehow I will someday be among the chosen few, it makes sense for me to work with others in order to have a greater share of control over my labor conditions. That said, I fully agree that we must study and seek to understand why certain types of collective assemblages led to certain horrible outcomes. I do not share the thesis that all collective assemblages necessarily lead to horrific outcomes.
parodycenter Says: November 19, 2008 at 10:37 pm
I put serious question marks on the idea that what is collapsing right now is neoliberalism-as-capitalism, because I feel that neoliberalism deploys strategies learned in the self-managing phase of socialism, for example, the softly-totalitarian control it exerts by means of political correctness (the laws against smoking, the "embrace” of minority groups, and the ethos of equality being preached in companies even as the salary gap increases, et cetera).
I argue it is precisely this socialist facade which allowed neoliberalism to take on, and believing as I fully do that Yugoslavia was a social engineering project from the very start, know that this was the theoretical and practical testing ground for what we are experiencing today. Even the credit crunch as the bursting of a virtual bubble resembles very much the disintegration of the self-managing economic system.
larvalsubjects Says: November 19, 2008 at 11:17 pm
Dejan, I don’t at all disagree. Neoliberal practices has formed an extremely strong network system that defends itself in a variety of ways. My thesis is rather modest. It is not that neoliberalism has been undermined or is facing its imminent implosion, but that due to recent failures that are the direct result of these policies and economic strategies, new possibilities have become available at the level of the plane of expression, collective assemblages of enunciation, or discourse that at least allow the premises of this sort of economic system to be questioned (cf. my post “Of Games and Rendering Alternatives Available” on November 17th).
Prior to the last few years (in the States), I do not think these alternatives were publicly available outside of the academy or marginalized leftist anti-globalization activists. What is surprising is that they are now becoming topics of discussion among establishment media and politicians. This minimal opening opens the possibility of forming more effective collective assemblages that might begin to enact new types of economic practices, legislation, states, etc. Nothing is guaranteed, but things are a bit brighter in the sense that 45 degree fahrenheit day is a promising sign during an ice age.