Paul Mason, "Post capitalism - A guide to our future"

@Antanicus Must get around to reading him. I have watched many of his videos and the like (he was a journalist on Newsnight when I was still living in the UK) and a few of his articles in the Guardian and elsewhere but not got around to the book.

"Post capitalism" is worth every penny. I'm currently reading it for the second time and it's as gripping as the first time I read it

@Antanicus This really makes it sound like a conscious, almost conspiratorial effort from the sides of "the elites"... smells like a one-sided approach to me.

@Antanicus What about the failure of social democracy during the 70's and the post-war development of labour unions? What about the the change in profitability of industries with established unions? What about the rise of new geopolitical powers like China and India allowing greater mobility of capital?

These things weren't "planned" or "conspired", even if the (so called) elites took advantage of these developments, while others ignore them. It was in one sense "random", in another necessary.

@Antanicus Will it respond to my objections that neolibrealism isn't a coordinated conspiracy?

It will do more: it will prove beyond any doubt that it was, in fact, a coordinated effort by all the concerned actors.

And, BTW, it never was a conspiracy: Austrian School economics has been around since the XIXcentury, but nobody took it seriously because, as Paul Krugman put it: "Austrian economics very much has the psychology of a cult. Its devotees believe that they have access to a truth that generations of mainstream economists have somehow failed to discern"

@Antanicus It's just semantics, but to me a "conspiracy" is when people of power come together to influence society or parts of it in a secretive way. What role the Austrian economists have to play is secondary, to the claim -- also wasn't the chicago school with Friedman more influential? It's mainly niece-libertarians that look up to the Austrian school.

> when people of power come together to influence society or parts of it in a secretive way.

- well, to be honest this happens all the time and nobody seems to be shocked. Most decisions are taken during "private dinners", "personal meetings" and "international summits" of all sorts where politicians (who often are former businessmen thanks to the revolving doors system) meet without any representative of the people to control them...

@Antanicus But for who's sake? Certainly they also gain something, but to reduce it solely to personal motives (I argue) simplifies the issue. Considering how even (ostensibly) rebellious politicians like those of SYRZA inevitably have to bow down to what the economy necessitates, reminds me of a quote from Capital:

"Nulle terre sans seigneur" (Money has no master)

@zge if you look at the dynamics of power in history it's personal motives all the way from Babylon to the war in Syria that's still raging. Profit, power, hegemony. These are the three drivers of all actions ever undertaken by the so called elites.

If it seems like this is too simple, it's because we're still blinded by the "higher motives" power used to shroud itself into for millennia to hide its true nature to people's eyes, that's all.

@Antanicus You seem to be misunderstanding me, I'd never argue for "higher motives" -- precisely the opposite. The (so called) elites are not in power, they are just as lost and confused as anyone else (maybe, more organized, but that's been fading away over the last few years too). Portraying them as powerful conspirators it like complimenting someone for good luck.

If you don't believe me, just look for yourself. Attached is the famous "elephant chart" that plots the income change across all percentiles over the past 25 years. I believe it will easily answer the question of "for whose sake" neoliberalism was designed.

See that dip? That's the western middle class. How was it possible, you might ask. The answer can be found at the beginning of this thread.

@Antanicus I know the stats, all I want to object to is the claim that it was "designed", especially when it's made to seem like it was an malicious intention, not a (from a perspective) necessary evil to save the economy/state/society/market/....

Hint 1: few countries elect their leaders among people belonging to the 1% so consistently as the United States.

Hint 2: neoliberal economics benefits the 1% way more than it benefits every other percentile.

@Antanicus I'll go straight to my point: A fact by itself, isolated, is of little help to anyone. You need other facts and a understanding/theory to make sense of it, to interpret it. In this case, you're pointing out a problem, and want to suggest a (kind of) solution -- I just want to clarify the problem (objecting to great man/men history), as not to come to the false conclusions.

That's why Paul Mason took the time to write a 368 pages book :) He begins by analysing Kondratieff's wave theory, then moves on to Marxist theory, stops by the New Left, and finally introduces neoliberalism. But not before setting the stage for it with a detailed account of the major historical events of the post war period.

@Antanicus I've downloaded the book, so I'm going to take a look at it when I get around, but if it ends up with "we need more eco cooperatives" I'll be disappointed but not surprised.

I'm not going to spoil the book for you :) Good reading!

"So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power."

@Antanicus I am very skeptical when people try to blame "ideas" for the ills of society. I'm going to read the article later on, but I'd claim that the forces and structures that profit (both in a literal, as in metaphorical sense) from the predominance of these "ideas" are more influential...

Feudalism was an idea. The divine right of kings? An idea as well. The whole colonial system was built on the idea that white people were superior to the locals. Fascism? Yup, just an idea.

Ideas are fucking dangerous.

@Antanicus Feudalism was and Idea? 😅

My understanding was that feudalism was a concrete system of production that predominated in and around Europe for much of the 2. millenium, with it's own rules and customs that changed and adapted over time (just like the capital. MoP.)

Colonialism and Fascism were both tendencies of young European capitalism, measures and movements by the state to forster/stabilize the still underdeveloped productive relations. Reducing it to an idea, is quite literally

"The neoliberal Washington consensus is an array of market oriented principles designed by the government of the United States and the international financial institutions that it largely dominates, and implemented by them in various ways-for the more vulnerable societies, often as stringent structural adjustment programs."

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