Sick of this market-driven world? You should be

The self-serving con of neoliberalism s that it has eroded the human values the MARKET was supposed to emancipate – Published on The Guardian, by George Monbiot, Aug 5, 2014.

To be at peace with a troubled world: this is not a reasonable aim. It can be achieved only through a disavowal of what surrounds you. To be at peace with yourself within a troubled world: that, by contrast, is an honourable aspiration. This column is for those who feel at odds with life. It calls on you not to be ashamed.

I was prompted to write it by a remarkable book, just published in English, by a Belgian professor of psychoanalysis, Paul Verhaeghe.  

What About Me? The Struggle for Identity in a Market-Based Society is one of those books that, by making connections between apparently distinct phenomena, permits sudden new insights into what is happening to us and why.

We are social animals, Verhaeghe argues, and our identities are shaped by the norms and values we absorb from other people. Every society defines and shapes its own normality – and its own abnormality – according to dominant narratives, and seeks either to make people comply or to exclude them if they don’t.

Today the dominant narrative is that of market fundamentalism, widely known in Europe as neoliberalism. The story it tells is that the market can resolve almost all social, economic and political problems. The less the state regulates and taxes us, the better off we will be. Public services should be privatised, public spending should be cut, and BUSINESS should be freed from social control. In countries such as the UK and the US, this story has shaped our norms and values for around 35 years: since Thatcher and Reagan came to power. It is rapidly colonising the rest of the world.

Verhaeghe points out that neoliberalism draws on the ancient Greek idea that our ethics are innate (and governed by a state of nature it calls the market) and on the Christian idea that humankind is inherently selfish and acquisitive. Rather than seeking to suppress these characteristics, neoliberalism celebrates them: it claims that unrestricted competition, driven by self-interest, leads to innovation and economic growth, enhancing the welfare of all. At the heart of this story is the notion of merit. Untrammelled competition rewards people who have talent, work hard, and innovate. It breaks down hierarchies and creates a world of opportunity and mobility … //

… Of the personality disorders, the most common are performance anxiety and social phobia: both of which reflect a fear of other people, who are perceived as both evaluators and competitors – the only roles for society that market fundamentalism admits. Depression and loneliness lague us.

The infantilising diktats of the workplace destroy our self-respect. Those who end up at the bottom of the pile are assailed by guilt and shame. The self-attribution fallacy cuts both ways: just as we congratulate ourselves for our success, we blame ourselves for our failure, even if we have little to do with it.

So, if you don’t fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.

(full text).

Related Links:

find also on en.wikipedia:

Other Links:

Lenin: Yes! Leninism: No? on Socialist, by Ian Birchall, August 6, 2014;

Leninism, No? on Socialist, by Paul Le Blanc, August 6, 2014;

August 1914 and the myth of general enthusiasm for war in the German working class, on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, by Verena Nees, August 6, 2014;

The child migrant crisis, latest developments, on People’s World, by EMILE SCHEPERS, August 5, 2014;

Interview with Israeli sociologist Eva Illouz: Gaza Crisis, the real danger to Israel comes from within, on Spiegel Online International, by Julia Amalia Heyer, August 5, 2014: She says: “I think Israelis have lost what we can call a ‘humanitarian sensibility,’ the capacity to identify with the suffering of a distant other” (my comment: they are not allone with that, all wars are similar to those – Heidi) … ISRAEL pulled out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, but left behind death and destruction. Israeli sociologist Eva Illouz tells SPIEGEL that her country is gripped by fear and is becoming increasingly suspicious of democracy …;

Help for migrants: Jordan workers’ centre proves an essential lifeline for migrants, on ILO, Aug 4, 2014: In less than one year the Al Hassan Industrial Zone Workers’ Centre in Jordan has become a model for servicing migrant workers …;

After the Arab Spring: The Return of the Generals, on Spiegel Online International, by Shadi Hamid, Aug 4, 2014 (Photo Gallery): After the uprisings of 2011, the Arab WORLD seemed to be moving towards democracy, but the recent resurgence of strongmen have illustrated just how deep certain divides still are — and how desperate people are for stability …;

Guy Charron, 1962-2014, Canadian fighter for Trotskyism, on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, by Keith Jones, August 2, 2014;

The Union vs. Corporate Showdown Has Officially Begun, on Worker’s Action, by Shamus Cooke, July 12, 2014;

What We Don’t Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Abortion, on truthout, by Sarah Grey, July 11, 2014;

Does Capitalism Inevitably Produce Inequalities? on Worker’s Action, by Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer, July 2, 2014;

Children fleeing violence and poverty, on People’s World, by ROSSANA CAMBRON, June 30 2014;

… et encore ceci:

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