Monday, December 12, 2011

Neo-Liberalism IS the alternative to capitalism?

So I was thinking, maybe I've come to a point where I actually in align with some Neo-Liberal thought in the sense that the Neo-Liberal condition, as espoused by its adherents in its ideal form is a kind of utopia for free labour. If I've got it right one of the basis on a practical level is for the free movement of labor, short-term contracts and the removal of worker benefits in the name of higher wages. Apparently, Germany adopted these strategies in the early 2000's when its economy was stagnating and unemployment was high and because of that it is now the strongest economy in Europe. I've come to believe in using capitalism on your own terms, basically only working for short periods of time in order to make enough to live how you want to live, and a job market where there are lots of short-term, high wage jobs is conducive to that. I actually think that having job security entails a concomitant, unavoidable internalization of the ideology of capitalism where corporations start creating bio-political structures like health benefits and pensions to the obligation to attend corporate social functions for their employees exemplified to the highest degree by the kind of neo-corporations like Google and Apple. So, in these terms, Neo-Liberalism is the alternative to this.
Of course this is completely abstract and theoretical for me, never having worked in a corporation and only having worked for four months in the past three years, is there anything in this?


  1. I think these corporate entities that you refer to at present have reorganised to largely reflect the neo-liberal ideal. They outsource and take intermittent labour to the extent it is preferable, and offer workers flexibility.

    Simply put, highly specialised labour remains institutionalised because it is more profitable to do so. Firms have incentives to continue employing the same person and so incentivise them to remain working for them. In these positions having someone who knows the specifics of the work and the business is highly advantageous to the employer.

    In positions where the work is largely homogeneous and workers are substitutable you find more of a tendency towards free labour because basically it allows firms to force workers to bear their own risk and costs of marketing, finding work etc...

    In most industries can't you go out on your own and freelance as you wish? Aren't the jobs that are not intermittent only that way because the job necessitates a full time commitment?

    I think the move towards free labour is being brought about by technological change and not ideological change. Basically we are living in the neo-liberal free labour dream to the extent it is profitable and with the internet we are finding that the pay-offs are changing so that free labour is becoming more profitable.

  2. Further to this, I would say that the move to more free labour over the last 20 years is actually a process entirely commensurate with the neo-liberal project to disempower workers. By this I mean break up unions, make workers bear more and more risk, erode job security etc.

    I think the paradigmatic example for me would be something like what is described about teachers in this article [ ] where basically the teachers are made to bear more risk without being paid more for bearing this risk. Bearing risk for free is tantamount to being paid considerably less.

  3. and the real thing is that wages arent really higher

  4. [ ]


  6. I think my motto has become something along the lines of living in a state of utter precariousness and instability is terrifying but is also utter freedom. But it also means that you do anything you want at any given time because you're not tied down to some superstructure of employment whatever. Like they say, that guy spends his days playing golf, cooking, watching television and looking for jobs, isn't he just enjoying his life? The fact that its not sustainable for an economy to operate if everyone is like that-the fact that living a life according to ones bare needs is condemned by the system might say more about the system itself?

  7. And I also like the little caption that says, 'the number of street performers has increased since the financial crisis' as this is a symptom of the imminent collapse of society as we knew it, which I guess it is. Why would they fixate on that, its so weird?

  8. I think utter precariousness has its limits. Look how being homeless prevents you from partaking in the system entirely. Or perhaps how difficult it would be for someone raising kids.

    Within the added freedom instability offers, wouldn't it be greater if that instability came with financial/social/political security?
    Alternatively, is the vulnerability to Others the source of value?