Autoriai siūlo dalintis tekstu. Dalinuosi.#neoliberalizmasWorking to Cure the Neoliberal Disease.
What it Takes to Destroy an Awful Bug.
By Robert Kadar and Joe Brewer
A lethal parasite has infected the brains of politicians and economists all over the world. It is so invasive that it has defeated all attempts to control or eradicate it since its emergence decades ago, and we are still far from having an effective vaccine or way to prevent its transmission. The virus, known by its species name Neoliberalism Economicus (in lay terms, it is just called Neoliberalism), indiscriminately latches onto the brains of both liberals and conservatives. It turns social consciousness into ego-centrism, cooperation into unconscious greed, and it only gets worse as it mutates and spreads.
Once infected, the virus takes control of the host’s neocortex and converts rational thought into fantasy. The host begins to believe in ideas such as harmonious free-markets where people can act and do whatever they want, a deregulated financial industry that correctly responds to market signals and can dump compounding debt onto society without costs, and corporations that can maximize shareholder value without hurting employees, communities, or the environment.
This insidious virus doesn’t stop there. It leads its host to believe that government’s sole purpose for existing is to ensure that corporations and ultra-rich individuals aren’t restrained by rules because, if they were, economic growth would cease and wealth wouldn’t trickle down to the rest of society. Furthermore, there’s no need for government regulation when a natural order known as the invisible hand creates prosperity for all!
As a brief aside, cultural viruses like Neoliberalism Economicus are natural and quite common. The epidemiology of culture goes by the field name cultural evolutionary studies and deals with the spread of ideas and how human culture evolves when beliefs, values, normative behaviors, and social practices mix and mingle with each other. The study of cultural viruses is a major concern for cultural evolution researchers.
Examples of cultural viruses that have proven to be adaptive for human societies (meaning they increased their ability to survive, reproduce, and outcompete any rivals they might have) can be found everywhere in human history. One that has been particularly effective is the notion of a polity — the concept of a state or province to which all people are members that transcends family or tribe. Ancient polities like the Roman Empire and Sumeria each united very pluralistic and diverse cultures into a unified political organism with great military power. Modern-day polities include nations — the United States, England, France and so forth — as well as larger bodies like the European Union.
When we consider polities to be cultural viruses, what we are saying is that they capture the minds of those who fall under their spell. Many will fight and die for their polity, even though it is nothing more than a shared social construct (albeit one with tremendous benefits for its members). The polity virus spreads as low-ranking members of the community emulate those with power and status. It also serves to unite those of common rank by creating a sentiment of brotherhood and sisterhood. These social bonds are what enables the polity to arise in the first place and are also what keeps it in place once it has taken root in the minds of its citizenry.
What we are finding with Neoliberalism Economicus is that it is not adaptive for individuals or societies. Rather it works like a parasite that bleeds energy away from its host with false stories that appear beneficial at first but are ultimately deadly. The virus grows by perpetuating fictions. These fictions are attractive because their appeal does not rely on facts but rather on the need for power and status. The neoliberal narrative has remained compelling in part because it appeals to powerful interests in society and those who emulate them. As billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer proclaims:Significant privileges have come to capitalists like me for being perceived as “job creators” at the center of the economic universe, and the language and metaphors we use to defend the fairness of the current social and economic arrangements is telling. For instance, it is a small step from “job creator” to “The Creator”. We did not accidentally choose this language. It is only honest to admit that calling oneself a “job creator” is both an assertion about how economics works and a claim on status and privileges.
It’s no surprise that many of our elites spend billions of dollars paying organizations and politicians to design and spread messages that characterize themselves as the kingpins of the economic order. Who wouldn’t want to be the infallible hero of a story daily embedded into people’s consciousness? But they can’t be entirely to blame because little do these mythological heroes realize their minds are under the control of a deviously intelligent bug!
The infected fail to see that viruses don’t have foresight for how their present actions affect the long-term survival of its host. From the virus’s perspective, the future doesn’t even exist, so it might as well take all it can get now. This short-termism has had damaging consequences; from radical income inequality and mass poverty to ecological destruction and financial collapse. In the end, neoliberalism is a threat to all, liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, even those who use it to maintain their status and power. It’s time for a global vaccination program...