Monday, August 19, 2013

Neoliberalism: the barbaric phase of capitalism

As capitalism advances further into its barbaric phase known as neoliberalism we ought to take a global survey of its achievements to see if it has a single redeeming political, social, or economic feature left. Nope--the evidence is overwhelming: global warming, a contaminated food supply that even those who can afford to eat should not, global plunder & massive immigration to escape plunder, burgeoning refugee & prison camps, massive homelessness & growing slums, wars & civil conflicts everywhere.

What about culture & the vaunted creativity of capitalism? Have you taken a look at the fashion boardwalks lately where rhinestone gas masks & disfigured women are the norm? Or the lipstick & shampoo aisles in Walgreens where chemical toxicity await? Or the pharmaceutical revolution that has made addiction massive & ambulance-chasing lawyers filthy rich? Or cinema that from Bollywood to Hollywood makes “straight to video” synonymous with straight to hell. Growth in creativity has only meant more cheap cell phones to choose from & more corporate scams to rip us off. No hope there either.

Events in Egypt & the setbacks in the other Arab uprisings along with resistance in Greece, Spain, Portugal, & elsewhere show how complex social transformation is--though complex does not mean impossible. What we have to decide is if we want to settle for barbarism (which only grows without resistance) & hope capitalists will satisfy their greed before human civilization is reduced to savagery or decide they have already demonstrated their utter incapacity to run this planet & need to be bounced ingloriously.

This disturbing, Armageddon-like image is homeless kids playing with a destroyed army vehicle in Grozny, Chechnya during the first Chechen war (1996) between post-USSR Russia & the Chechen republic. This is not just where neoliberalism is headed; it’s long-since arrived.

(Photo by Eric Bouvet)

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