Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

9

Gramsci argued that, though the economic must never be forgotten, conjunctural crises are never solely economic, or economically-determined ‘in the last instance’. They arise when a number of contradictions at work in different key practices and sites come together - or ‘con-join’ - in the same moment and political space and, as Althusser said, ‘fuse in a ruptural unity’. Analysis here focuses on crises and breaks, and the distinctive character of the ‘historic settlements’ which follow. The condensation of forces during a period of crisis, and the new social configurations which result, mark a new ‘conjuncture’.

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Gramsci argued that, though the economic must never be forgotten, conjunctural crises are never solely economic, or economically-determined ‘in the last instance’. They arise when a number of contradictions at work in different key practices and sites come together - or ‘con-join’ - in the same moment and political space and, as Althusser said, ‘fuse in a ruptural unity’. Analysis here focuses on crises and breaks, and the distinctive character of the ‘historic settlements’ which follow. The condensation of forces during a period of crisis, and the new social configurations which result, mark a new ‘conjuncture’.

—p.9 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
10

[...] However anachronistic it may seem, neoliberalism is grounded in the ‘free, possessive individual’, with the state cast as tyrannical and oppressive. The welfare state, in particular, is the arch enemy of freedom. The state must never govern society, dictate to free individuals how to dispose of their private property, regulate a free-market economy or interfere with the God-given right to make profits and amass personal wealth. State-led ‘social engineering’ must never prevail over corporate and private interests. It must not intervene in the ‘natural’ mechanisms of the free market, or take as its objective the amelioration of free-market capitalism’s propensity to create inequality [...]

According to the neoliberal narrative, the welfare state (propelled by workingclass reaction to the Depression of the 1930s and the popular mobilisation of World War Two) mistakenly saw its task as intervening in the economy, redistributing wealth, universalising life-chances, attacking unemployment, protecting the socially vulnerable, ameliorating the condition of oppressed or marginalised groups and addressing social injustice. It tried to break the ‘natural’ (sic) link between social needs and the individual’s capacity to pay. But its dogooding, utopian sentimentality enervated the nation’s moral fibre, and eroded personal responsibility and the over-riding duty of the poor to work. It imposed social purposes on an economy rooted in individual greed and self interest. State intervention must never compromise the right of private capital to ‘grow the business’, improve share value, pay dividends and reward its agents with enormous salaries, benefits and bonuses. The function of the liberal state should be limited to safeguarding the conditions in which profitable competition can be pursued without engendering Hobbes’s ‘war of all against all’.

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] However anachronistic it may seem, neoliberalism is grounded in the ‘free, possessive individual’, with the state cast as tyrannical and oppressive. The welfare state, in particular, is the arch enemy of freedom. The state must never govern society, dictate to free individuals how to dispose of their private property, regulate a free-market economy or interfere with the God-given right to make profits and amass personal wealth. State-led ‘social engineering’ must never prevail over corporate and private interests. It must not intervene in the ‘natural’ mechanisms of the free market, or take as its objective the amelioration of free-market capitalism’s propensity to create inequality [...]

According to the neoliberal narrative, the welfare state (propelled by workingclass reaction to the Depression of the 1930s and the popular mobilisation of World War Two) mistakenly saw its task as intervening in the economy, redistributing wealth, universalising life-chances, attacking unemployment, protecting the socially vulnerable, ameliorating the condition of oppressed or marginalised groups and addressing social injustice. It tried to break the ‘natural’ (sic) link between social needs and the individual’s capacity to pay. But its dogooding, utopian sentimentality enervated the nation’s moral fibre, and eroded personal responsibility and the over-riding duty of the poor to work. It imposed social purposes on an economy rooted in individual greed and self interest. State intervention must never compromise the right of private capital to ‘grow the business’, improve share value, pay dividends and reward its agents with enormous salaries, benefits and bonuses. The function of the liberal state should be limited to safeguarding the conditions in which profitable competition can be pursued without engendering Hobbes’s ‘war of all against all’.

—p.10 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
12

It should be noted, of course, that neoliberalism has many variants. There are critical differences, for example, between American, British and European ‘social market’ versions; South East Asian state-supported growth and Chinese ‘state capitalism’; Russia’s oligarchic/kleptomanic state and the monetarist ‘experiments’ in Latin America. Neoliberalism is not one thing. It evolves and diversifies. Nevertheless, geopolitically, neoliberal ideas, policies and strategies are incrementally gaining ground, re-defining the political, social and economic model, governing the strategies and setting the pace.

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

It should be noted, of course, that neoliberalism has many variants. There are critical differences, for example, between American, British and European ‘social market’ versions; South East Asian state-supported growth and Chinese ‘state capitalism’; Russia’s oligarchic/kleptomanic state and the monetarist ‘experiments’ in Latin America. Neoliberalism is not one thing. It evolves and diversifies. Nevertheless, geopolitically, neoliberal ideas, policies and strategies are incrementally gaining ground, re-defining the political, social and economic model, governing the strategies and setting the pace.

—p.12 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
17

Still, the old had to be destroyed before the new could take its place. Margaret Thatcher conspired in a ruthless war against the cabinet ‘wets’ and simultaneously plotted to break trade union power - ‘the enemy within’. She impelled people towards new, individualised, competitive solutions: ‘get on your bike’, become self-employed or a share-holder, buy your council house, invest in the property-owning democracy. She coined a homespun equivalent for the key neoliberal ideas behind the sea-change she was imposing on society: value for money, managing your own budget, fiscal restraint, the money supply and the virtues of competition. There was anger, protest, resistance - but also a surge of populist support for the ruthless exercise of strong leadership.

Thatcherism mobilised widespread but unfocused anxiety about social change, engineering populist calls from ‘below’ to the state ‘above’ to save the country by imposing social order. [...]

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Still, the old had to be destroyed before the new could take its place. Margaret Thatcher conspired in a ruthless war against the cabinet ‘wets’ and simultaneously plotted to break trade union power - ‘the enemy within’. She impelled people towards new, individualised, competitive solutions: ‘get on your bike’, become self-employed or a share-holder, buy your council house, invest in the property-owning democracy. She coined a homespun equivalent for the key neoliberal ideas behind the sea-change she was imposing on society: value for money, managing your own budget, fiscal restraint, the money supply and the virtues of competition. There was anger, protest, resistance - but also a surge of populist support for the ruthless exercise of strong leadership.

Thatcherism mobilised widespread but unfocused anxiety about social change, engineering populist calls from ‘below’ to the state ‘above’ to save the country by imposing social order. [...]

—p.17 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
18

Ideology is always contradictory. There is no single, integrated ‘ruling ideology’ - a mistake we repeat again now in failing to distinguish between conservative and neoliberal repertoires. Ideology works best by suturing together contradictory lines of argument and emotional investments - finding what Laclau called ‘systems of equivalence’ between them. Contradiction is its metier. Andrew Gamble characterised Thatcherism as combining ‘free market’/‘strong state’. Many believed this contradiction would be Thatcherism’s undoing. But, though not logical, few strategies are so successful at winning consent as those which root themselves in the contradictory elements of common sense, popular life and consciousness. Even today, the market/free enterprise/private property discourse persists cheek by jowl with older conservative attachments to nation, racial homogeneity, Empire, tradition. ‘Market forces’ is good for restoring the power of capital and destroying the redistributivist illusion. But in moments of difficulty one can trust ‘the Empire’ to strike back. [...]

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Ideology is always contradictory. There is no single, integrated ‘ruling ideology’ - a mistake we repeat again now in failing to distinguish between conservative and neoliberal repertoires. Ideology works best by suturing together contradictory lines of argument and emotional investments - finding what Laclau called ‘systems of equivalence’ between them. Contradiction is its metier. Andrew Gamble characterised Thatcherism as combining ‘free market’/‘strong state’. Many believed this contradiction would be Thatcherism’s undoing. But, though not logical, few strategies are so successful at winning consent as those which root themselves in the contradictory elements of common sense, popular life and consciousness. Even today, the market/free enterprise/private property discourse persists cheek by jowl with older conservative attachments to nation, racial homogeneity, Empire, tradition. ‘Market forces’ is good for restoring the power of capital and destroying the redistributivist illusion. But in moments of difficulty one can trust ‘the Empire’ to strike back. [...]

—p.18 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
19

New Labour believed that the old route to government was permanently barred. It was converted, Damascus-like, to neoliberalism and the market. And, buying in to the new managerial doctrine of pubic choice theory taught by the US Business Schools, New Labour finally understood that there was no need for the political hassle to privatise. You could simply burrow underneath the distinction between state and market. Out-sourcing, value-for-money and contract-contestability criteria opened one door after another through which private capital could slip into the public sector and hollow it out from within. This meant New Labour adopting market strategies, submitting to competitive disciplines, espousing entrepreneurial values and constructing new entrepreneurial subjects. [...]

New Labour thus embraced ‘managerial marketisation’. The economy was actively ‘liberalised’ (with disastrous consequence for the coming crisis), while society was boxed in by legislation, regulation, monitoring, surveillance and the ambiguous ‘target’ and ‘control’ cultures. It adopted ‘light-touch’ regulation. But its ‘regulators’ lacked teeth, political courage, leverage or an alternative social philosophy, and were often playing on both sides of the street. [...]

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

New Labour believed that the old route to government was permanently barred. It was converted, Damascus-like, to neoliberalism and the market. And, buying in to the new managerial doctrine of pubic choice theory taught by the US Business Schools, New Labour finally understood that there was no need for the political hassle to privatise. You could simply burrow underneath the distinction between state and market. Out-sourcing, value-for-money and contract-contestability criteria opened one door after another through which private capital could slip into the public sector and hollow it out from within. This meant New Labour adopting market strategies, submitting to competitive disciplines, espousing entrepreneurial values and constructing new entrepreneurial subjects. [...]

New Labour thus embraced ‘managerial marketisation’. The economy was actively ‘liberalised’ (with disastrous consequence for the coming crisis), while society was boxed in by legislation, regulation, monitoring, surveillance and the ambiguous ‘target’ and ‘control’ cultures. It adopted ‘light-touch’ regulation. But its ‘regulators’ lacked teeth, political courage, leverage or an alternative social philosophy, and were often playing on both sides of the street. [...]

—p.19 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
20

What was distinctively neoliberal about New Labour’s strategies? The private funding of New Labour’s flagship achievements via the Public Finance Initiative left future generations in hock for thirty years to re-pay the debt at exorbitant interest rates. Yet ‘public-private partnership’ became a required condition of all public contracts. Contracting out, competitive tendering and ‘contestability’ opened up the state to capital. Private contractors were better placed to cut costs and shed staff, even at the expense of service quality. The rising archipelago of private companies providing public services for profit was spectacular. Consultants floated in and out to ‘educate’ the public sphere in the ways of corporate business. Senior public servants joined the Boards of their private suppliers through ‘the revolving door’. Emptied out from inside, the ethos of public service underwent an irreversible ‘culture change’. The habits and assumptions of the private sector became embedded in the state.

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

What was distinctively neoliberal about New Labour’s strategies? The private funding of New Labour’s flagship achievements via the Public Finance Initiative left future generations in hock for thirty years to re-pay the debt at exorbitant interest rates. Yet ‘public-private partnership’ became a required condition of all public contracts. Contracting out, competitive tendering and ‘contestability’ opened up the state to capital. Private contractors were better placed to cut costs and shed staff, even at the expense of service quality. The rising archipelago of private companies providing public services for profit was spectacular. Consultants floated in and out to ‘educate’ the public sphere in the ways of corporate business. Senior public servants joined the Boards of their private suppliers through ‘the revolving door’. Emptied out from inside, the ethos of public service underwent an irreversible ‘culture change’. The habits and assumptions of the private sector became embedded in the state.

—p.20 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
21

[...] Actual markets do not work that way. They do not work mysteriously by themselves, or ‘clear’ at their optimum point. Only by bracketing-out the relative wealth of buyer and seller can they be called ‘fair’. No ‘hidden hand’ guarantees the common good. Markets often require the external power of state and law to establish and regulate them. But the discourse provides subjects with a ‘lived’ ‘imaginary relation’ to their real conditions of existence. This does not mean that markets are simply manufactured fictions. Indeed, they are only too real! They are ‘false’ because they offer partial explanations as an account of whole processes. But it is worth remembering that ‘those things which we believe to be true are “real” in their consequences’.

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] Actual markets do not work that way. They do not work mysteriously by themselves, or ‘clear’ at their optimum point. Only by bracketing-out the relative wealth of buyer and seller can they be called ‘fair’. No ‘hidden hand’ guarantees the common good. Markets often require the external power of state and law to establish and regulate them. But the discourse provides subjects with a ‘lived’ ‘imaginary relation’ to their real conditions of existence. This does not mean that markets are simply manufactured fictions. Indeed, they are only too real! They are ‘false’ because they offer partial explanations as an account of whole processes. But it is worth remembering that ‘those things which we believe to be true are “real” in their consequences’.

—p.21 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago
26

What is intended is a permanent revolution. Can society be permanently reconstructed along these lines? Is neoliberalism hegemonic?

The protests are growing. Weighty professional voices are ranged against structural reforms, and the speed and scale of cuts in a fragile economy. There are pauses, rethinks and u-turns. [...] What happens next is not pregiven.

Hegemony is a tricky concept and provokes muddled thinking. No project achieves ‘hegemony’ as a completed project. It is a process, not a state of being. No victories are permanent or final. Hegemony has constantly to be ‘worked on’, maintained, renewed, revised. Excluded social forces, whose consent has not been won, whose interests have not been taken into account, form the basis of countermovements, resistance, alternative strategies and visions … and the struggle over a hegemonic system starts anew. They constitute what Raymond Williams called ‘the emergent’ - and are the reason why history is never closed but maintains an open horizon towards the future.

The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago

What is intended is a permanent revolution. Can society be permanently reconstructed along these lines? Is neoliberalism hegemonic?

The protests are growing. Weighty professional voices are ranged against structural reforms, and the speed and scale of cuts in a fragile economy. There are pauses, rethinks and u-turns. [...] What happens next is not pregiven.

Hegemony is a tricky concept and provokes muddled thinking. No project achieves ‘hegemony’ as a completed project. It is a process, not a state of being. No victories are permanent or final. Hegemony has constantly to be ‘worked on’, maintained, renewed, revised. Excluded social forces, whose consent has not been won, whose interests have not been taken into account, form the basis of countermovements, resistance, alternative strategies and visions … and the struggle over a hegemonic system starts anew. They constitute what Raymond Williams called ‘the emergent’ - and are the reason why history is never closed but maintains an open horizon towards the future.

—p.26 The neoliberal revolution (9) default author 3 months, 3 weeks ago