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256

Conclusion: A Marginal Model of Nothingness

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Fleming, P. (2017). Conclusion: A Marginal Model of Nothingness. In Fleming, P. The Death of Homo Economicus: Work, Debt and the Myth of Endless Accumulation. Pluto Press, pp. 256-313

258

[...] Life itself is simply about being endlessly concerned with solving technical problems, many of which have none (e.g., debt, etc.). For example, it’s crucial for any civilised society to have a functioning and affordable nationwide public transport system (value). But the job of delivering it has been handed over to organisations who view that value-goal as secondary to making money (means). So much so that it utterly fails in its wider mission. The problem is that society as a whole is being run pretty much in the same way.

—p.258 by Peter Fleming 3 years, 3 months ago

[...] Life itself is simply about being endlessly concerned with solving technical problems, many of which have none (e.g., debt, etc.). For example, it’s crucial for any civilised society to have a functioning and affordable nationwide public transport system (value). But the job of delivering it has been handed over to organisations who view that value-goal as secondary to making money (means). So much so that it utterly fails in its wider mission. The problem is that society as a whole is being run pretty much in the same way.

—p.258 by Peter Fleming 3 years, 3 months ago
261

[...] One might be tempted to conduct a deconstructive reading of neoclassical economics in the style of Jacques Derrida to try and discern what precisely is the ‘absent presence’ quietly animating this vast machinery of means in the dark margins of its own impossibility. On the other hand, perhaps there’s good reason why Derrida steered clear of economics as such. For its social centre is strictly void, a perceptive abyss that is bereft of wider political reflection. This variant of nothingness is frightening since it consists of interminable tautologies: ‘the reason you do this is because you do this … now let’s model it’. From the rise of the Chicago School onwards, we are no longer permitted to ask why, for example, we have banks, prisons, markets, the cumbersome institution of work and so forth. Challenge any official about this and their gaze slowly drifts away into nothingness with a dumb ‘huh?’ expression. In a universe ruled only by means (especially prices and money) the unassuming margins that Derrida argued were so important for grasping a discourse (i.e., it’s what is not said, continuously deferred that gives a text its deceptive positivity) are suddenly missing.

—p.261 by Peter Fleming 3 years, 3 months ago

[...] One might be tempted to conduct a deconstructive reading of neoclassical economics in the style of Jacques Derrida to try and discern what precisely is the ‘absent presence’ quietly animating this vast machinery of means in the dark margins of its own impossibility. On the other hand, perhaps there’s good reason why Derrida steered clear of economics as such. For its social centre is strictly void, a perceptive abyss that is bereft of wider political reflection. This variant of nothingness is frightening since it consists of interminable tautologies: ‘the reason you do this is because you do this … now let’s model it’. From the rise of the Chicago School onwards, we are no longer permitted to ask why, for example, we have banks, prisons, markets, the cumbersome institution of work and so forth. Challenge any official about this and their gaze slowly drifts away into nothingness with a dumb ‘huh?’ expression. In a universe ruled only by means (especially prices and money) the unassuming margins that Derrida argued were so important for grasping a discourse (i.e., it’s what is not said, continuously deferred that gives a text its deceptive positivity) are suddenly missing.

—p.261 by Peter Fleming 3 years, 3 months ago
262

None of this would be a problem if economics was confined to the endowed chairs of the academy, esoteric journal articles and boring conferences. But the lexicon of neoclassical economics is the leading language game in (post-)neoliberal societies of control. And this economisation of life in general has only gathered strength following the global financial crisis, an event that mainly become notable because it affects rich people (the Global South has had its own global crisis for many years, it’s called poverty). [...]

just, lol

—p.262 by Peter Fleming 3 years, 3 months ago

None of this would be a problem if economics was confined to the endowed chairs of the academy, esoteric journal articles and boring conferences. But the lexicon of neoclassical economics is the leading language game in (post-)neoliberal societies of control. And this economisation of life in general has only gathered strength following the global financial crisis, an event that mainly become notable because it affects rich people (the Global South has had its own global crisis for many years, it’s called poverty). [...]

just, lol

—p.262 by Peter Fleming 3 years, 3 months ago
265

[...] jobs become a quantitative output (politicians only talk about them in terms of faceless numbers) rather than a qualitative or substantive input that might serve some wider social and existential role. In other words, a job is no longer a means to achieve other things but a (dead) end in itself.

—p.265 by Peter Fleming 3 years, 3 months ago

[...] jobs become a quantitative output (politicians only talk about them in terms of faceless numbers) rather than a qualitative or substantive input that might serve some wider social and existential role. In other words, a job is no longer a means to achieve other things but a (dead) end in itself.

—p.265 by Peter Fleming 3 years, 3 months ago