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Politics Got Weird Because Neoliberalism Failed to Deliver

Linked by Paul Ciano on December 24, 2016

Cory Doctorow:

In a way, this is the rupture that Thomas Piketty predicted: as capital accumulates into fewer and fewer hands, the rich will have an increasingly outsized in setting policy, and will not allow any policies that undermine their further capital accumulation – hence climate denial, mass surveillance, privatization of public goods from education to health care, violent suppression of oppositions and protest movements. This leads to increasingly worse outcomes for everyone who isn’t in the elite (socialized losses, privatized gains) and political instability, which eventually becomes more expensive to put down than it would be to remediate through fairer policies. Though, of course, cheap, high-tech mass surveillance moves the “economically rational” point for redistribution over suppression, by making suppression a lot cheaper.

As Graeber pointed out in The Utopia of Rules, the west used to point to the USSR’s failings by talking about the long lines, the endless paperwork, and the depressing sameness of everything. In today’s world of privatized health-care, “accountability” movements in education, migration crackdowns, monopoly telecoms, and winner-take-all franchise capitalism, the west has become the land of long lines, form-filling, phone support queues, and malls that all sell the same things.

Paul Ciano

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