Neoliberalism – boring and inefficient or radically unfair?

As per usual, I Cite puts it very well.  I’m inclined to agree with this assessment, though I wonder to what extent we ought to treat these two faces of the problem of neoliberalism (boring and homogenizing vs. socioeconomic inequality) as mutually exclusive.  Tactically, one could not expect to fight the injustices of radical inequality engendered by neoliberalism without also engaging with the totalitarian/mass culture elements, precisely due to the fact that the latter tend to ‘legitimize’ or obscure that very inequality.  I have in mind here the ways by which our vocabulary used to describe socioeconomic practices tends to be reduced to that of the market (i.e. the rhetoric of ‘competition’ and ‘profit-maximization’).  It’s not that the neoliberal worldview is merely boring in this respect; rather, it’s that in its ‘flattening’ and ‘homogenizing’ effects, neoliberalism normalizes the otherwise greater harm of inequality.

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2 Responses to Neoliberalism – boring and inefficient or radically unfair?

  1. Steve K says:

    I like her discussion of the “boring” vs. “unfair.” I am curious as to what she means by “inefficiency” though. None of her examples conflict with notions of efficiency that I have come across. In fact, shouldn’t those examples fall within the “fairness” critique?

    • That may be true. But I think the examples still tend to fall under the general problem of the inherent wastefulness of capitalism (i.e. overproduction). Of course, the classical Marxist critique would suggest that it is precisely because of rampant, increasing inequality (the driving up the rate of exploitation) that we have the problem of too many goods without a sufficient customer base to consume them.

      Regardless, my (rather nit-picky) problem was that the “boring” vs. “unfair” dichotomy overlooks the ways by which the “unfair” is reinforced by the “boring”. The two are closely linked in this way.

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