The consumer is not, as in a previous era of liberalism, a purported equal trader on a market — leaving aside the problematic basis for thinking this ever came about — but a “capital” among others, an entrepreneur most often providing free labor that creates value for others. If the laborer in the factory was the paradigm of alienation in a previous era, today in the West s/he is the freelancer: signing up for one project at a time, often free of charge in order to gain experience or “clips” and without the social safety net of a pension or guaranteed healthcare coverage. We are each a company of one, committed to doing what used to take whole enterprises: we provide our own customer service, do our own investments and taxes, act as our own travel agencies, and, for those lucky enough to have 401(k)s and healthcare, pick and choose among competing options that we once left to the experts. “There’s an app for that!” also means “you’re on your own.”
It’s not just that corporations have speech, as Justice Kennedy argued in Citizens United, a case Brown cites as a prime example in her book. Those who do speak think of themselves more and more as corporations in a do-it-yourself culture. Make bad investments? Choose the wrong healthcare plan? Buy a home on which your bank is owed more than the house is now worth? This is just the risk that comes with newfound economic freedoms. But as we spiral in student loan, credit, and mortgage debts, we are decidedly unprofitable companies of one. The corporations take all the profits; we take all the risk.
i like this. relevant for book
[...] neoliberalism’s basis in financial capitalism, not manufacturing, means economics has no other end than itself. There are simply no values outside of this — no “interest” one would have other than maintaining one’s own market efficiency. The emblem for this is the internet economy, where companies that have never produced a profit (and never will) are famous for being famous, valued for being valued, and thus trade at stock prices well ahead of those dinosaur companies still producing widgets. Uber had its IPO in December valued at $40 billion, even if it plans to profit from entrepreneurs “liberating” the value of their cars by driving them as taxis. No matter — Uber’s early investors will largely have cashed out by the time institutional investors, such as pension plans, are left on the hook for its future negligible value.
i don't quite fully agree with this theory but it's an interesting perspective
[...] the only entry into the “job market” is through a university education that requires one to take on “freely” this debt. As Lazzarato notes, though, this debt takes out an advance on our future: who can afford to take a few years off to volunteer when one immediately graduates into dunning notices for student loans? Who can decide to be a doctor in poorer communities when only a more remunerative post will allow one to pay down one’s monthly student loan payments? And why don’t I deserve a high-paying job? After all, I, and no one else, has invested so much to get me to this point. After spending so much, don’t I deserve to make much more? Gone are the days where our best and brightest go on to serve in the Peace Corps or help NASA send human beings to the moon, since there are ever more apps to be made and financial products to be invented. In this way, our possibilities close before us. [...]