Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Interesting article on Foucault and Neo-liberalism


also interesting re welfare state as an institutionalisation of emergent mutual (aid) societies / insurance networks

"These institutions were the result of the strong position held by the workers' movement after the Liberation. They were invented by the workers' movement itself. From the nineteenth century onward, workers and unions had established mutual societies, for example, to pay benefits to those unable to work. It was the very logic of the market and the enormous risks it imposed on the lives of workers that pushed them to develop mechanisms for the partial socialization of income.

In the early phase of the industrial revolution, only property owners were full citizens, and as the sociologist Robert Castel emphasizes, it was only with social security that the "social rehabilitation of non-property-owners" really took place. It was social security that established, alongside private property, a social property, intended to usher the popular classes into citizenship. This is the idea Karl Polanyi advances in The Great Transformation, which sees in the principle of social protection the aim of withdrawing the individual out of the laws of the market and thus reconfiguring relations of power between capital and labor."

1 comment:

  1. Also interesting, the move from exploitation to exclusion as the basis of critique:

    Gorz sees the way of life of the surplus population as a “deliverance” from work, and Thatcher sees a “vice” of laziness that must be combated. One elevates a “right to be lazy” to the status of virtue, whereas the other makes it out as an injustice that must be destroyed.

    But underneath, these two versions function in the same logic. Thus, both the Left and the Right want the “surplus population” to be the problem, thereby supplanting those old, out-of-date, dogmatic ideas that placed exploitation at the heart of the social critique.

    Both the left and the right want to pit against each other two factions of the proletariat which, with the neoliberal economic evolution, have entered into a destructive competition with each other. As the Marxist philosopher Isabelle Garo described it so well, this shift would help to “replace exploitation and the critique of it with a centering of the victim who is denied justice, the prisoner, dissident, homosexual, refugee, etc.”